Boxing or BJJ? Also how has it changed you mentally?

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May 3, 2020

When this lockdown ends I decided I want to get into either boxing or BJJ. I’ve been lifting for years and want to try something new. I’ve also realized that when situations get really stressful or highly emotional - especially with women, I sometimes revert back to my nice guy conditioning. I’m hoping that getting into martial arts will help me mentally and emotionally stay cool in conflict situations and help me not be a “nice guy” as much.

Which would you guys recommend? And for those of you that participate, what benefits have you seen?


To expand on what I really want to resolve - being able to set boundaries and stand up for myself. I was run over by my parents as a kid and despite being able to incline bench 315, it still happens at times now with women or coworkers .A lot of times I don’t even realize it until after it happens. I’ve read Nmmng and of course it resonates but applying it in stressful situations with emotions involved is my challenge.

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Title Boxing or BJJ? Also how has it changed you mentally?
Author watchguy45
Upvotes 77
Comments 63
Date 03 May 2020 07:46 PM UTC (11 months ago)
Subreddit askTRP
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[–]pdiggs150082 points83 points  (4 children) | Copy

It all depends, my advice is to try both combat styles.

I joined a fighting club initially gung-ho in getting into Muay Thai, and BJJ. One day at the gym, the only class available was Boxing, so I took it just for fun.

I absolutely loved it!!!!

Boxing, the pure power, the cardio, the intensity is something that I became addicted to. Now, I watch old Mike Tyson videos in awe. Damn that boy was the best!

My advice is to try both, and see what you like

[–]Snowaey7 points8 points  (3 children) | Copy

how did starting boxing affect you as a person?

[–]pdiggs150034 points35 points  (2 children) | Copy

Confidence. It's hard to explain, but I'm so much more confident whether I'm at work, or walking down the street. And it's not because I know how to throw a hard punch, but the fact that I can defend myrself from a hard punch or fight.

I found this affected my work as well. Of course in a work environment, there is not much of a chance that physical escalations could take place, especially in a white collared office. But deep in our primitive mindset, that fighting instinct is there. That ability to know how to fight has given me a level of confidence that I have never had.

Also weight loss, A part of boxing is the high amount of stamina needed to fight or even punch a bag non-stop for 2.5 minutes. Thus, in order to increase my cardio, I've forced myself to skip and go on runs, in which weight loss is a natural consequence.

[–]send_it_for_the_boys4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

Second this, I’ve never taken a class like this guy...yet...but my gym has bags and I have gloves and occasionally me and friends will spar, but just doing bag drills and speed bag work with some good music after a lift session you’ll feel great and looser.

[–]GunTotingFarmer0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

You should try conceal carrying. The frame of mind is unmatched.

[–]coloredzebra40 points41 points  (1 child) | Copy

I would take up the free trials, most places offer to get a feel for what you would enjoy the most.

Although I will say, BJJ was one of the more "humbling" martial arts I have experienced. It taught me resilience, and how to remain calm in situations where you feel completely helpless.

[–]Siyuen_Tea0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

As a general martial art I always reccomend muay thai but as far as getting your head on the level, you're right, BJJ is the way to go. Nothing will pull your focus faster than having someone inches from snapping your arm like a twig, on that same note, nothing will make you feel as confident , knowing you can snap an arm like a twig.

[–]drophidro16 points17 points  (2 children) | Copy

IMO boxing sounds like it resonates more with your goals of wanting to empower yourself through a combat sport than BJJ. In a ring its just you and your opponent. I think this situation inevitably manifests courage and mental strength that could be applied to your day to day life. The same could be said about BJJ but in boxing this feeling is more pronounced due to the increased likelihood of injury.

Plus i think it's a more satisfying learning curve than BJJ. Which is extremely important if you intend to stick with it. Your going to be bad at the start, but your fundamentals will come a lot quicker in boxing simply because its less of a foreign concept.

Ultimately it comes down to what interests you most though. They both can serve your purpose if your diligent. I'd recommend you look around your area for gyms with a trial course and see for yourself what each sport has to offer.

[–]dusara2174 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy

As a counterpoint to this, knowing BJJ gives you a lot of security that I really don't feel like boxing would. With BJJ, you actually have the ability to dictate the pace and ending of a fight with an untrained opponent. You can choose to just pin someone until they calm down, choke them out, really hurt them, etc. whereas with just about any striking Martial Art, you're basically stuck with only the option of hurting people to end the dispute, which can end badly for you if you aren't in a State with strong self-defense laws.

That being said, boxing is still absolutely awesome and can give you a level of mastery over a fight that 90% of men will never experience.

[–]drophidro5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy

Realistically you should never look to engage in physical combat unless your forced to outside of either sport. Nonetheless, taking someone to the ground in a random altercation is highly unadvised regardless of your skill level. Too many unpredictable factors make BJJ not ideal for a street fight. The discipline is extremely limited in handling multiple opponents and requires significantly more investment to deescalate a situation physically. Not only that, but I doubt many people would realize they’re in dangerous holds and would continue to struggle instead of understanding the threat of an arm beak for instance.

[–]Abdul-Ahad9714 points15 points  (1 child) | Copy

I’ve tried both. For me it’s always been boxing. Boxing is a lot more rigorous than any other sport. If you’re looking for discipline you’ll get it at boxing and by sparring you’ll learn to take and punch and throw a punch. I used to fight professionally, and doing 10 rounds in the ring was no joke.

I mean with fights, they happen very quickly and it’s a rush of blood. Normally a jab cross hook, knocks the person out cold, if you know how to throw. Problem with bjj is that it doesn’t condition you to get hit in the head, which is crucial in a fight. However, you’ll be able to take anyone down with bjj and then it’s pretty much over

ideally try to go to a old school type gym. They’ll really put you through your paces.

Bjj is great too, it really depends what you like. Definitely try both

[–]TheRealUrbanRonin3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy

If the coach calls you out to embarrass you your first few classes when you’re using the wrong technique and just makes your life hard as a beginner, you know it’s an old school gym haha. Anyone who wants to learn the most as a beginner definitely needs to find an old school gym

[–]Elongated_Muskk9 points10 points  (1 child) | Copy

Try both and see what you prefer. Personally i do judo which is very similar to bjj and I love it. Obvious differences would be boxing is all striking and bjj is all grappling and submissions. Not sure about boxing but in bjj small guys can dominate big guys, so keep that in mind if you try it out.

[–]dusara2177 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy

small guys can dominate big guys

There's nothing quite like a short little hispanic dude that weighs 40 pounds less than me absolutely crushing me into the mat, and the harder I struggle, the worse it gets. It's simultaneously incredibly inspiring to roll with someone that's that good and really motivating to get that good.

[–]lewisisbrown17 points18 points  (1 child) | Copy

Dude, BJJ is the biggest thing that changed my life (apart from lifting weights). I do boxing as well, and I personally find BJJ 100 times better. I would recomend joining an MMA gym if possible, which should give you the option to try both and see what you prefer. Just remember at first you will be bad, but you start to see results quickly if you stick at it. Best of luck.

[–]Annapolis_Duck3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy

Second this. BJJ is you're getting physical every single practice.

[–]McLovinReturns7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy

Find one that does Muay Thai and BJJ. I go to both classes at least I did before quarantine. Always feels good to empower yourself

[–][deleted] 12 points13 points  (6 children) | Copy

Boxing slows you down mentally, if we’re going to get negative here

[–]theycallmedumdum2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy


[–][deleted] 10 points11 points  (1 child) | Copy

Brain damage

[–]TRP VanguardWhisper0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Relax, nobody's gonna let you get in the ring with Joe Frazier.

[–]2cannn-3 points-2 points  (1 child) | Copy

nothing but garbage here. physical activity has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety. also a great outlet for my ADHD

[–]HellSpeed15 points16 points  (0 children) | Copy

I think he means by getting punched in the head.

[–]FinancialThanks115 points16 points  (0 children) | Copy


[–]hannlbaI5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy

Personally I train MMA (Thai boxing and BJJ), as well as just recently starting training Judo, which I actually really love.

I highly recommend training some sort of martial art. It definitely empowering, but also understand that the goal of training isn't to make you into not a "nice guy". It will definitely help stay cool and confident in potential conflicts, but I also know a lot of guys who train who are totally aggressive and overly angry types.

If you aren't normally cool and collected, MMA isn't going to suddenly make you the Zen master. You need to hone that skill elsewhere. The best thing MMA has to offer is the ability to stay fit and active, reduce stress and learn useful skills.

[–]rawpower3310011 points12 points  (0 children) | Copy

Honestly as someone who's done both for years start with bjj. It is without a doubt the most fun martial arts system I've ever experienced. Boxing is amazing too, and like others in the comments have said you can practice by yourself, but even when you're with others you cant go 100% on them. When sparing in boxing you're not swinging to knock the lights out of the guy, neither one of you wants to get hurt, especially if you're not competing at a professional level. Bjj on the other hand is all submissions. You can go 100% against your opponent (as long as they're more experienced than you) and the chances of getting hurt are so much lower.

Little bit of history for you:

President Theodore Roosevelt was an avid boxer, and boxed regularly in the White House for years, until he almost lost sight in his right eye from a punch, so he switched over to jui jitsu

[–]MasculineRP3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy

I do kickboxing and BJJ as well as lift weights. A combination of all of them is important and they all gel really nicely together.

It has changed me in a way of actually having respect for combat. Combat should be last resort, and it's a tool you have just in case you need it. Also, getting beaten up for a good few months to a year when you first start really humbles you and teaches you that you aren't shit.

[–]idevastate2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Both are great, especially when you combine their skill set and practice both. Personally, while I really like the bjj I’ve done, I love boxing much more, it’s the most useful of the fighting arts in a street fight (bjj will neutralize one person but then what about the friends what if you don’t get the takedown?) and wailing on a bag is so fun. Try both out see which you like or do them all.

[–]PerceptionHS2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy

Having tried a fair few combat sports (current bjj practitioner) I'd say wrestling is the best sport for someone looking to toughen up. The sport is just so so tough it forges you into a strong strong person

[–]dusara2171 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Only problem with wrestling is that it's really only an option for people that are in college or high school in most areas.

[–]PerceptionHS0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

You can find it at MMA gyms! I take a session a week to supplement my BJJ

[–]TRP VanguardWhisper2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Both, but don't be a beginner in both at the same time. Pick up one, then the other.

[–]myfirsttimecoding3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy

Boxing is great because you can practice anytime by yourself I’m not sure you can do BJJ without a partner but I may be incorrect with that.

You can usually find a club that offers both including MMA for a full fee. I would suggest doing that and going to both classes in the week with a commitment to keep going to both for say at least a couple of months. After the initial beginner period you will have a ok understanding of which one you prefer and why

[–]HumbleTrees1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

No you're right. You can't do bjj on your own. However bjj is bloody amazing.

[–]Taipoe1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I have been doing boxing for a while and I have done BJJ but only for a short time. Boxing will definitely improve your confidence and frame if you stick with it. Listen to others and dont be an asshole in the rink especially sparring. Since you lift and want to get more confident I would say boxing would be better for you. Boxing also burns more than BJJ I believe so it will get you toned as well

[–]shadowq81 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy


Contact sports have implications that show up later in life.

[–]seducter1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Boxing for standup, BJJ for ground. Most fights go to the ground so I'd say prioritize BJJ, but do eventually learn Boxing.

[–]cfbovernfl1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

Wrestling >>>

Also just saying, there's nothing wrong with being a "nice guy" / you don't need martial arts to not make you one. You can be nice as long as you make sure people respect your boundaries and you know how to flirt with women. I'd much rather be friends with a nice guy than someone who's deliberately trying to be an asshole all the time.

[–]watchguy45[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

I appreciate that but sometimes I have trouble with boundaries. I was ran over consistently by my mom, dad, relatives when I was a kid over and over again. Standing up for myself makes me feel uneasy.. I’m much better than I was since I started lifting 5 years ago. I can now incline bench 315, and squat 405 for reps but still have trouble at times.

[–]cfbovernfl1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Yeah I get you. A similar thing happened to me when I was younger. Lifting weights and martial arts may definitely help you become more a) physically imposing at the very least and b) improve your ability to set boundaries. Just don't feel like you need to have the mat/weight room personality wherever you go.

[–]_A13x_M0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Join an MMA club and become and all-round fighter. I would suggest not limiting yourself to boxing, try kickboxing or even muay thai, get some leg action in there too. BJJ is also briliant from what I've heard. If you can do both striking and wrestling/grappling on top of your gym routine, you'll be a unit and a half!

Currently I'm hitting the gym and the kickboxing club. Once I get good at that I'll start on BJJ.

[–]mr4kino0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Both. I don't like ground techniques and submissions but let's be honest it is very useful. Boxing, as another guy said here, it's very enjoyable. Especially after a couple of months, when you start to "get it" and throw freaking heavy punches.

[–]OldActive0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I would recommend BJJ! It really teaches you how to be calm during intense moments! When the opponent is making a transition to various submissions you have to think with a calm mind on what would be the best move to counter it! I think within 2-3 month of regular BJJ you will start noticing that you will be able to think more calmly in high pressure situations! I haven’t really tried boxing so I don’t much about the benefits of that sport!

[–]hopelesshotel0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

do muaythai,bjj, and judo

[–]maddisser1010 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Real question for me is which one is less likely to have you fucked up physically? Can't afford to be nursing broken bones for months in a time like this.

[–]S3LF-IMPROV3M3NT0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

BJJ. Both arts will build your mental discipline, cardio, and masculinity. But in a 1v1 between practicers of only 1 art, BJJ wins every time (except with old school Judo, but due to new regulations that's watered down). I train MMA and go to some boxing classes too, and although it's fun and I like the art of punching, from a self-defense point it's missing a lot. You can still beat most untrained opponents with it, but if someone knows what they're doing you're gonna lose.

I've seen benefits in my cardio, confidence, and frame. You don't get alarmed anymore in high stress situations because you're used to your adrenaline pumping during sparring/rolling. And it helps knowing you could defend yourself if the situation came down to it. I mainly use it as my cardio because IMO it's the most useful/practical cardio you can do, and I didn't wanna exclusively lift weights for exercise.

[–]vicious_armbar0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I would say find a good mma gym then try both striking and grappling. Ideally you should have a minimum competency in both areas.

I'm sure you can tell which I like better from my username. Also with grappling you're not losing IQ points and incurring brain damage from taking constant blows to the head.

[–]EvilGenius000 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

It made me very self aware of my methods of mental fortitude when shit gets ugly.

If you know your attachment style , you can figure it out and then apply it well to boxing or anything you do.

I know my attachment style and its allowed me be a better warrior altogether.

Bjj is very frightening for me if im not on my back. It let me know when i will accept being close to someone else. Boxing is way to easy for me as , since age 9 I have been fighting all day and night.

[–]cluelessguitarist0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Martial arts will make you tougher in general, even more than lifting, martial arts build real confidence while at the same time making you humble. Just do it, you wont regret it, wont be easy, but it will 100% make you better at life.

[–]TripleDragons0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Lifting does more for your confidence, esp if you train for aesthetics.

Boxing and bjj is fun and makes you friends.

[–]dburto100 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Do both. Find a solid mma gym that offers both. Martial arts gives you true confidence.

[–]rpmc830 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

BJJ taught me how to take someone down and choke them from many angles in many more ways than I ever conceived before. It also gave me confidence to escape bad positions. That being said, given the depth of BJJ, it also made me aware of how little I knew about fighting. I can't throw a punch better than any average Joe but if we get close I'm confident grappling with and subduing someone to the point that they're not injured but unable to move, or to choke them unconscious or break a limb if necessary. As others have said, it's not good for simultaneous multiple opponents.

I hooe to never need the skill outside the gym, except when playfighting my girl...

[–]MonkMode20190 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

BJJ if you are young and limber. Boxing otherwise. BJJ is hard on joints.

As far as mental change. Increase cardio. Keep reading. Expand social circle with alpha friends so you can visually see non-nice guy responses and learn them first hand.

Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011 is a very good read.

Setting boundaries, always make time for yourself. Everytime I do, I have gotten laid. If I sit there an get sucked into the "cater me" trap, dat pussy is going to dry up. She should cater to your needs, not the other way around.

She likes it when I work out. She likes it when I go out with friends. She likes to clean up my cock after we have sex. She enjoys cooking and cleaning (this provides me with even more me time). Its about you. She benefits indirectly as a result.

[–]carlosceja270 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

If you can both. If you have to choose BJJ. Definitely made me a lot more humble, taught me discipline, and boosted confidence for sure. Best decision I’ve made in my life.

[–]AngTheEphemeral0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I highly recommend doing both if possible.

[–]TheRealUrbanRonin0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I signed up for a boxing and kickboxing membership last year and I took awhile looking for the right gym. A lot of gyms are purely health conscious and for recreation but I was looking for a dedicated gym where trainers really helped you with technique. Granted this was more expensive but I found the right gym that trained professional mma, Muay Thai, and really focused on discipline. You were punished for being late to class and the coach would call you out for not counting your reps or half repping. I was late by 5 min to a session and had to jump rope for 40 min straight while the coach made sure I was doing so without a break. He was teaching a large group while “punishing me” also. I was a complete beginner and I was called out several times for the wrong technique. I was often embarrassed but hell did it help me learn. I learned so much in 6 months from shadowing jabbing an hour straight because I wouldn’t keep up with my footwork to beginner sparring. Sure I’m more confident in myself if I was to ever get in a scuffle but I know that there so much self disciplined involved in learning martial arts and it makes the different between being slow or fast learner. Once corona dies down, I’d love to go back for another three hours of ass kicking on a Thursday!

[–]weatheringwow0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Proper muay thai lesson. The elbow and the knee is one of the best move that can be used in a fight and it will increase your confidence knowing you can finish almost anyone random in the street with 1-2 blows

[–]ThrowawayYAYAY20020 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

The benefits differ from person to person.

Personally speaking, when I was training Boxing & Judo at the same time my fitness was off the charts, my strength was top notch, my fighting IQ was razor sharp, and in training these arts and having phenomenal trainers and class sparring partners you soon see what real tough guys are made of.

You also see how full of shit bullies and people who couldn't fight sleep are.

If you can pick up either quickly and get decent at it, you are way ahead of the average person.

Practicing a martial art and getting good at it will give you supreme confidence.

[–]doc2belee0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Try both, see which fits you! I wanted to do BJJ, but blew out my knee a few years ago (in Tae-Kwon-Do class). I can not take a chance on having my knee torqued again. Found a boxing gym, and realized this would be great for me! I can not wait to get back there! (Darn apocalypse has everything shut down) Plus boxing style workouts easier to do at home on days you can not get to the gym.

[–]SeasonedRP0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Both are excellent. Give both a try and choose the one that interests you more. Getting hit by a trained boxer isn't for everyone, but sparring will build self confidence and is an extremely rigorous workout.

[–]TheChadofChad0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

At the start of the year, I got into BJJ. I have got into boxing for at-home excercise, due to the virus. I would recommend BJJ over boxing.

There are a lot of crappy gyms out there. It sounds like you arent looking for competive skills. So, look for versatile gyms with a fair split on drills and "rolling". I was only two months in before classes go canceled. Though, I look forward to the next conflict I engage in...especially if myself or the oppenent is wearing a coat.

[–]MGTOW_BEASTMODE0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I've done both boxing and BJJ but now prefer Yaw Yan Kickboxing.

Those spinning back fists, elbows and kicks are really something.

[–]orishasinc2[🍰] -1 points0 points  (0 children) | Copy

I respect all martial arts. The main focus, as the word " martial" entails is discipline. You do not fight to become a bad ass or a bully. You fight to learn self control and how to extricate yourself from harmful situations. Lots of fighters, especially Sunday mornings wannabes misuse the skills they learn in the gym. They come in with the wrong mindset. Fortunately, most quit after a few weeks anyway. I have been boxing for 3 years. Started on my own by just watching videos, old fights and reading books. Boxing is the absolute best all around conditioning sport, especially if you add up weight lifting to your routine. I was always athletic since my youngest age. Played all the sports one can imagine. However, it is only after I began boxing that my athletic performance shot up to their max. And I am in my early 30s now. I am also fond of muy Thai, but I can't find a gym in my city that teaches it. I am an all around athlete, boxing has helped me in all my athletic endeavors. I even red somewhere that an increasing number of pro athletes utilize boxing for their off season training. I am not the bit shocked by that. A 3 rounds sparring session will make most men question their own lives, let alone 10 or 12.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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