BJJ is addictive for many people. But why? I dug into the scientific research and here’s what I think are the 5 most important reasons why BJJ is so addictive.
1. Variable rewards
Variable rewards play a large role in addiction. Variable rewards are rewards that are unpredictable and change over time. In other words, they are not always the same, and the outcome of the reward is uncertain. They are different from fixed rewards, which are always the same, and the outcome is certain. Variable rewards are more addictive than fixed rewards (think for example about slot machines).
In BJJ, variable rewards can come in the form of learning new techniques, successfully executing a technique during sparring, or earning a new belt. These rewards are not guaranteed and depend on individual effort and progress which makes them more attractive and engaging.
The variable rewards system in BJJ is also similar to the one used in many video games, where players are presented with a series of challenges and are rewarded with points, virtual currency, or other incentives for completing them. This creates a sense of unpredictability and excitement that can be highly engaging and motivating.
2. The belt system
The belt system in BJJ can be a source of motivation for some people as it provides a clear path for progression and a tangible measure of one’s skill level. Earning a new belt can be a source of pride and accomplishment, which can be motivating to continue training.
However, the belt system in BJJ can also be a source of frustration for some people, particularly if they feel they are not progressing as quickly as they would like or if they feel that the belt promotions are not based on merit.
3. The flow state
The concept of flow state, also known as “being in the zone”, refers to a state of deep concentration and complete immersion in an activity. When in a flow state, an individual is fully engaged in the task at hand and loses track of time, often feeling a sense of euphoria and enjoyment.
BJJ is a highly engaging activity that requires a great deal of physical and mental concentration, which can lead to a state of flow. As a practitioner becomes more skilled and proficient in BJJ, they may experience a flow state more often, which can make the activity highly addictive.
4. The community
In BJJ gyms, practitioners often train together, help each other, and share in the experience of learning and improving. This creates a sense of mutual support and shared purpose, which can foster a strong sense of community.
This social aspect of BJJ can be highly addictive, as it provides an opportunity to make new friends, to share in a common interest, and to bond over a shared experience. This can create a sense of connection and belonging that is difficult to find in other activities, which keeps you coming back.
5. It’s never done
BJJ is often considered addictive because it is a never-ending journey of learning and self-improvement. As practitioners progress in their training, they are constantly presented with new techniques and strategies to learn and master, which keeps the practice engaging and challenging.
Additionally, BJJ is a complex and ever-evolving art, with new techniques and strategies being developed all the time. This means that there is always something new to learn and discover, which can make the training experience highly engaging and rewarding.
Also read: The 15 Life Changing benefits of jiu jitsu