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Why is BJJ so addictive?

An addictive behavior is a behavior, or a stimulus related to a behavior (e.g., sex or food), that is both rewarding and reinforcing, and is associated with the development of an addiction. Addictions involving addictive behaviors are normally referred to as behavioral addictions.

About 15 years, I remember watching wearing club t shirt with the motto "BJJ addicts".

That was quiet disturbing to see that they had the word addicts on their sleeves.

The trend of using the words BJJ addicted continues as you can see facebook page with the name of BJJ addicts.

Is BJJ really addictive?
Does BJJ attracts people that have an addictive behavior?

Let look at the common factors that I think appeal to people and make them train longer than the other casual martial arts.

One of the basic needs is to learn to protect yourselves.
BJJ provides techniques, training and sparring.

Another of the basic needs is the feel of belonging.
As human, we tend to live in group as it is safer.
In Bjj, the group aspect and belonging is reinforced all the time.
We also have a hierarchy reinforced by the belt system.
While most of the BJJ gyms are business, often they would refer to themselves and their paying customers as a family.
You don't see Mac Donald referring to their customers as a big family!

BJJ attitude towards the core group is made to appeal to your caveman's instincts.
It is in your DNA.

Also, the competitive aspect of the sport BJJ appeals to our tribal roots.
Clubs would prepare for the next competition on a regular basis.
It is the individuals that compete but they receive the support and focus for the whole tribe.
It is scenario of building and moving towards a common goal which is to defeat another team: "us" versus "them".

Recently, BJJ teams have become global.
You can now see clubs that are affiliated  to American or Brazilians BJJ businesses.

Some teams are more trendier that other.
Often affiliates would jump ships for many reasons.
Most of the time, it is due to the increasing costs and rules that are no longer worth the brand name.
Sometimes, some teams fall out of fame and smart businesses would rather switch to another brand name that are more trendy.

However, most of the smart individuals do not really care about BJJ politics and usually are able to make friends with of other BJJ practitioners from other clubs and teams.

Quick individual sport success:
if a person that can fully dedicate to the sport can and could achieve a certain level of success within a very short period of time.
Like someone training full time for a couple of years and being able to win World titles.
It is a niche sport.

there are options to win titles and medals at many national and international levels as well.
There are so many competitions available and there is so many competition formats and so many level to compete as well.
In BJJ we have 5 adults belt categories and the master divisions starts at 35 years and is on the 5 years category.
We do not an official international BJJ federation so we have a multitude of BJJ federation that are "crowing" their world champions.


BJJ is popular and you can see individual making a living teaching the gentle art.
Their customers based can range from 50 to 200 students.
It is a small numbers of students, so it is relatively easy to interaction with each students.
Lot of instructors are making a living of teaching.
In order to be successful as they compete with their local market, they need to offer better services and facilities.
Therefore they have to ensure that their paying customers are staying as long as possible.

While, we think it appeal to our need to belong to a group.
BJJ also appeal to our need of being unique.
How do they do that?
The BJJ gi for example.
You can literally can buy any colors and design.
The amount of variations, merchandise is remarkable and easily beats any other martial arts.

BJJ is so hipster.
Just like other traditional martial arts which are often from oriental roots, BJJ is Brasil.
It is just another exotic location with rich cultures.
You can quickly immerse yourself with this new culture (eat Acai, watch Brasilian movies, take trips to Rio).
Also, there are hundred of options for buying uniforms (BJJ gi, belts, rash guard).
Traditional martial arts are conservative with their uniforms and it is frowned upon to stand out of the group.
For example, white gi is the usual uniform in Judo and Karate School.
In BJJ, you can buy and wear almost any color and design of rash guards and Gi.
BJJ uniforms companies are aware of that niche market and the smartest company started offering limited edition to entice customers by offering something that is limited and unique.

Adaptable to the market:
You don't like wearing a BJJ uniform.
Not a problem.
The business minded BJJ professionals quickly realised that there is a massive market of people that rather train Nogi.
Traditionally inBrasil, it was unheard for the BJJ students to training nogi.
It was only reserved to MMA fighters.
It is  likely to be frown upon in many traditional BJJ gym.
The old school views are that you cannot be promoted in BJJ if you only train in NOGI.
BJJ promotions must include training in a BJJ gi.

However, the trend seems to have changed.
Schools are now offering 50% of their classes in Nogi in the US.
But they still use the BJJ belt system.


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