Being a music journalist by trade, it only feels right to combine my two biggest passions in life — Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and music. As polar opposites and as uncorrelated as they may seem, they actually link surprisingly well. BJJ is more than just a sport, it is an art form — just like music.
I think deep down we all have a style of music we would prefer to roll to. However, there are some styles that are just universal when it comes to rolling. Music is known for ambiance, and enhancing mood. Music can make you feel — happy, sad, angry, vengeful — even powerful. Music can take you through a journey of emotions. That power it has on your mood can reflect on your performance on the mats. You hear ACDC ‘Thunderstruck’ and it’s game on. Agreed?
I’d say the most common genres of music to roll to are: house, R&B, rap and heavy rock. No one wants to roll to Beethoven, unless you’re a psychopath. Whatever floats your boat. Point is, music enthralls so many emotions and feelings, and when it’s combined with BJJ, it can have an impact on performance — even though you may not notice it.
BJJ is connected to so many things that seem incredibly distant from the sport itself, but it’s just acknowledging and noticing the connections. This is why walk-out songs can be so important for some competitors. Music may be completely indifferent to some people’s performance if they don’t have that connection with the art form, but with others it can be detrimental. You want to feel pumped when you’re about to have a fight, and you want your blood pressure and adrenaline to spike — so walk on to something that makes you feel pumped. Get in that right mindset. There’s so many ways music is linked to BJJ, but here is some food for thought on the positive impacts music can have when exercising.
How does music affect your workout?
Well for starters — the rhythm. The rhythm of the music can also deter your pace, in relation to tempo, connecting your mind and body in sync with the music. Rolling to some chilled R&B? It’s probably going to be a nice ‘tame’ slow-ish roll in comparison to an animalistic roll to Guns ’n’ Roses ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’ Speed and tempo are the two most important factors that affect exercise intensity, not to mention the mood lifter that music can be.
Center4research states: “Several studies have shown how the exact tempo, as measured in beats per minute, affects one’s level of exercise. These studies determined that the ideal tempo necessary for maximum performance depends on the type of exercise. A plausible reason for why different types of exercise have different ideal tempos is related to one’s ability to keep time with the beat of the music.”
Music may not always have an impact on the fighter. It depends on the connection to the music. With someone who has a deep connection, it will definitely play a part no matter how big or small in his or her BJJ, whether it is noticed it or not. Your movement will be subconsciously related to the rhythm of the music, as your body’s rhythm remains in-sync. It’s similar to people with certain playlists they listen to when working out at the gym or going for a run. It motivates them and puts them in a certain head space where they’re concentrated and alleviated. That extra motivation from music can decrease fatigue, and increase productivity, power, strength and endurance.
‘No Pain, No Gain’
Music also distracts you from pain you endure during exercise because when listening to a song you enjoy, it becomes much easier to forget about pain and fatigue and put your focus elsewhere. It’s common knowledge that pleasurable experiences such as listening to music (combined with BJJ, too) can increase serotonin levels, which can put you in a better mood. Therefore, not only does music help during rolling — the effects also last afterwards — feeling the positive mental effects even more than you would without music assisting your rolls. The lyrics or catchy rhythm of motivational music inspires you to exercise longer and work harder during your workout. So keep blasting the tunes and keep rolling!
To read my last article on, ‘The Gi Vs No Gi debate’, click here