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The longevity of the United States’ armed conflicts has resulted in a substantial portion of military personnel being at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fewer than half of veterans needing mental health services receive treatment for PTSD. For those who do receive treatment, less than one third are receiving evidence-based care. Additionally, one third of first responders develop PTSD. The need for additional treatment options is staggering. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is evaluated here as a complementary and alternative method (CAM) that promotes discipline, structure, camaraderie, concentration, and mind-body coordination. These effects are measured in terms of their impact on veterans’ capacity to manage PTSD symptoms. Participants for this longitudinal study include armed-service personnel, veterans, and first responders. There were 32 participants, ranging in ages from 25 to 50 years old, with no prior BJJ training. Participants completed five questionnaires both prior to starting the study and after every 20 hours of BJJ that they completed. All participants initially displayed symptoms of PTSD, which significantly reduced over the course of the study. Participants report that the therapeutic benefits of BJJ practice include assertiveness, self-confidence, self-control, patience, empathy, empowerment, improved sleep, and mindfulness. Qualitative data was used to determine impact of these beneficial capacities to manage PTSD symptoms, and to assess the attractors that allow veterans to initiate and stick with BJJ training in community settings. These findings suggest that the inclusion of opportunities and financial support for veterans to practice BJJ as a form of somatic psychotherapy would be highly beneficial.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Managing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Journal title
    • Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

  • Volume
    • 13

  • Issue
    • 4

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • License
  • Keywords