Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is a martial art based on grappling and ground fighting, focusing on the skill of controlling one's opponent through techniques that force them to submit. It prides itself in being known as the "gentle art", allowing a smaller, weaker person to use leverage and submissions (chokes, locks) to defend himself against a bigger opponent. With origins in Judo (Newaza) and Japanese Jujutsu, it has since been adapted and modified by Carlos Gracie and his family to become the martial art it is today.
The word "jiu-jitsu" derives from the Japanese "Jū" meaning "gentle" and "Jutsu" meaning "art"; essentially, jiu-jitsu is the "gentle art".
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a predominantly ground-based martial art, using the principles of leverage, angles, pressure and timing, and knowledge of the human anatomy to achieve a non-violent submission of one's opponent. Unlike other martial arts that focus on strikes and kicks, jiu-jitsu focuses on close-contact "grappling" holds and techniques and the application of chokes and joint manipulations.
About Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a grappling-based martial art whose central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him to submit. Because control is generally easier on the ground than in a standing position, much of the technique of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is centred around the skill of taking an opponent down to the ground and wrestling for dominant control positions from where the opponent can be rendered harmless.
To control and overcome greater size, strength, and aggression with lesser size and strength is the keynote of the sport. This is done by utilizing superior leverage, grip, and position upon your opponent. Students of the sport gain a deep understanding of the workings and limits of the human body.
This knowledge can be used to subdue and control an opponent with whatever level of severity the student chooses. The path to this knowledge is physically and mentally demanding. Students benefit from greatly increased physical fitness, problem-solving ability, self-knowledge of their body and mind and the many social benefits of working within a large group of like-minded fellow students as you learn and have fun together.
Many students first learn about Jiu-Jitsu through the great popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, where the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique is very prominent.
Indeed, the beginnings of the contemporary MMA competition were largely tied up with proving the combat efficiency of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
A Brief History Of Jiu-Jitsu
In the last days of the 19th century, some Jiu-Jitsu masters emigrated from Japan to other continents, teaching the martial arts as well as taking part in fights and competitions. Mitsuyo Maeda was one such master. For example, Maeda arrived in Brazil in 1915 and settled in Belem do Para, where he met a man named Gastao Gracie.
The father of eight children, among them five boys and three girls, Gastao became a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast and brought his oldest son, Carlos, to learn from the Japanese master.
For a naturally frail fifteen-year old Carlos Gracie, Jiu-Jitsu became a method not simply for fighting but for personal improvement. At nineteen, he moved to Rio de Janeiro with his family and began teaching and fighting. In his travels, Carlos would teach classes and prove the art's efficiency by beating physically stronger opponents. Then, in 1925, he returned to Rio and opened the first school, known as the "Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu."
Jiu-Jitsu promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique.
The Brazilian style of jiu-jitsu resulted from the import of Japanese jiu-jitsu and judo to the South American continent in the early 1900s and its transformation into a new martial art style by a core group of Brazilian pioneers.
Before it arrived on the shores of Brazil, however, the origins of jiu-jitsu are believed to go back thousands of years. There are several theories concerning its very first beginnings. Still, many agree that it can at least be traced back 4,000 years ago to Buddhist monks in India, who needed to protect themselves during their travels without inflicting harm on their attackers. It then spread to feudal Japan. It developed into effective hand-to-hand combat during the war before transitioning to become more of an art form and a competitive activity. Some even argue for much older origins than India, dating back to the earliest forms of "grappling", which are immortalized on the walls of ancient Greek and Egyptian ruins.
Then in 1915, a world-famous Japanese judoka, Mitsuyo Maeda, arrived in Brazil, where he soon began teaching and giving demonstrations in jiu-jitsu and judo, which at the time were not seen as separate disciplines. Three of Maeda's first students became the founders of what is known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie and Luiz França. Each of these early pioneers contributed to the development of what is today known as Brazilian jiu-jitsu by maximizing the effectiveness of existing techniques, creating new ones, and giving rise to a distinct martial art.
It wasn't long before the Brazilian style of jiu-jitsu started to spread to other countries and continents. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu arrived in the United States in the early 1970s. Still, it grew relatively slowly until the 1990s when the UFC brought mixed martial arts – and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – to the mainstream public. In 2002, Carlos Gracie, Jr. founded the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, which began holding organized jiu jitsu competitions worldwide. In the last decade, jiu-jitsu has boomed, and today, many of the world's largest and most prestigious tournaments are held in the United States. In Australia, many BJJ players also became famous. You can check Louie Simmons net worth.
All Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners can trace their "lineage" back to one of the founding members. Professor JT's lineage can be traced back to Carlos and Helio Gracie.
Why BJJ Today?
More than just a workout, jiu-jitsu is often referred to as "human chess" in that it exercises both the body and the mind.
The physical benefits of jiu-jitsu are immense and well-documented. Because jiu-jitsu presents a combination of dynamic and explosive movements with pressure-based isometric pushing, pulling, and holding, it helps develop increased strength and cardio. In addition, it promotes weight loss and improved muscle tone. Because you're constantly responding to another person's movements, jiu-jitsu also heightens your body awareness and improves your balance and reactive ability.
Jiu-jitsu is also an incredible mental workout. For one, it provides the challenge of learning a new activity, with limitless variations of movements, techniques and submissions. It also develops your reasoning skills in that you are constantly planning your next step, both when you're in an advantageous position or a defensive position. Finally, as an activity practised with another person, it increases your ability to think quickly and "on your feet" in response to your partner's movements, as well as to remain calm and controlled when you find yourself in a defensive situation.
For many, it also provides an outlet for the stresses of daily life. When you step on the mat, everything else is put to the side for a moment while both your mind and body are engaged in learning jiu-jitsu.
Most importantly, unlike many other sports and physical activities, jiu-jitsu is unique in that anyone can do it. Jiu-Jitsu was designed and developed so that a smaller, weaker person can defend his or herself against, or even defeat, a larger and stronger opponent. So regardless of age, size, gender or physical limitation, any person can utilize the techniques and principles of jiu-jitsu and reap the benefits of its practice.
Walk into any academy and talk to some of the students who have just started training Brazilian jiu-jitsu and ask them what it's has done for them. Most respond with things like, "I lost so much weight," or, "My body is so much more flexible now." Some talk about how much strength they have gained or how they are in better shape. The fact that Brazilian jiu-jitsu will change your body cannot be denied. You can physically see your body changing with every day or week. What you can't see is the improvements in your overall health as a result of training.
Everyone associates exercise with a look. People want to look a certain way. You won't likely hear many people say, "I workout so I can lower my cholesterol." The only people who say that are those who went to the doctor and found out they have high cholesterol and need to exercise. BJJ is no different. Students rarely walk through the door looking to improve their blood sugar, but I always tell people the best part about exercise is the stuff you can't see. Keep this in mind when you get frustrated training. No matter how many times you got submitted, you are still doing something positive for your health.
On top of that, BJJ teaches you how to use your body as one unit. In our current society, where most of the day is spent sitting, driving, or working at a computer, the body develops some strange and unnatural movement patterns. The body awareness that BJJ teaches you is priceless. With an increase in body awareness, strength and mobility will soon follow. You can't see improvements in strength on the mats necessarily, but in the weight room, you can see the numbers on your lifts increasing. On the mats, it's harder to see, but it's something you can feel. Improvements in mobility show up during techniques and drills that at first were difficult to complete, but now you can move your hips better. Improvements in mobility will keep you on the mats training for a long time.
The Mental Benefits:
Beyond any physical improvements that come as a result of Brazilian jiu-jitsu are the mental improvements that are often overlooked. First, the process of learning a technique requires as much mental activity as it does physical. In order to learn a technique, you must practice it over and over. You study the technique just like you would a subject for school, and then learn to apply it. Learning to apply the technique can be the most challenging part. When attempting a new move during live rolling or drilling, it can be not easy to complete. In order to improve, you must keep attempting the technique over and over again. Then drill it some more and try again for months, sometimes years, before you start catching people during rolling.
If you are the type of person who gets frustrated when things get hard and quit, BJJ is not your sport. In life, when things get frustrating, do you walk away or keep pushing forward? Just like learning a technique, if you quit, you will never learn. This is true for any goal. On the path to reaching that goal, there will be times of frustration, and if you stop, you will never reach the top.
One of the hidden benefits of BJJ is what the struggle of learning, drilling, and rolling does for you—after spending months learning a technique, attempting it, and being crushed by everyone, Walking into a class is not a good feeling. What is a good feeling is walking in the next day and trying it again? The mental strength to keep pushing even when things are not going your way will show up in other areas of your life outside of the gym.
And things don't always go our way, in the gym or in life. Everyone has stress in their lives. It's how we deal with the important stress. BJJ is great stress relief. After a long day at work or school, you can walk into the academy, and everything goes away. When someone is trying to armbar or choke you, the last thing you want to think about is your bad day at work. BJJ requires focus. When your instructor is showing technique, if you are not paying attention, you could miss a key detail. That key detail could be the difference between completing the move or getting your guard passed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jui Jitsu
The basic objective of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to use hands and legs to lock and immobilize the opponent. Different BJJ techniques like pull guard, close guard, scissor guard, full mount, joint locks, etc., are used to cramp the opponent, hence seizing his mobility.
BJJ is incredibly effective in fighting conditions. It allows the fighter to take control and, most importantly, finish the fight without hurting the other person. The technique is so effective that the opponent will either give up or be incapacitated. But BJJ goes way beyond the mat.
Muay Thai is fundamentally striking stand-up combat, while BJJ is ground fighting grappling combat. Muay Thai basics may be picked up very quickly, but both systems are difficult to master without years of hard work and grit truly. They are both most effective in their respective arenas under their respective rules.
If you want to learn more about balance and coordination – Choose BJJ. If you want more real-life applicability – Choose MMA. If you are younger (or a parent) and want the less violent practice – Choose BJJ. If you are older and prepared for strikes – Choose MMA.
How do martial arts help kids and adults?
Just about every martial art will help you and your child developmentally, emotionally and physically. A martial art program's cornerstone is respect. Training also gives people of all ages a great physical workout. It refines fine motor skills and strengthens bodies. Here is a more comprehensive list of what martial arts will do for you and your young person.
- Self Discipline
- Goal Setting
- Self Esteem
- Team Work
- Conflict Resolution
- Self Defense
- Individual Achievement
- Gender Equality
- Weight Control
- No Season BJJ is a year-round
- Athletic Development
Brazilian jiu-jitsu offers some distinct advantages:
- BJJ offers a non-striking, more peaceful alternative to other martial arts.
- BJJ is prolific around the world. Its popularity is not a fad; it is and has been here since 1914. It has gained popularity because of the stunning upsets in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and its impressive record in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
- BJJ is not based on power or size.
The martial art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu was developed by individuals who were neither big nor strong. That being said, it has been refined to give the smaller, weaker individual the skills and knowledge to address the bigger and more powerful adversary. (Helio Gracie History of BJJ link) BJJ is here to stay because BJJ is based on the application of techniques, not raw power. It will always have the distinction of being the best martial arts for self-defence. Even cooler than that is it continues to evolve.
In BJJ, there are techniques, but they are not katas (a Japanese word, meaning detailed choreographed patterns of movements practised either solo or in pairs.) performed one and only one way. Instead, BJJ is pieces and parts (techniques) that can be chained in many sequences, allowing an individual to develop their own unique style.
BJJ is just as mentally driven as it is physically. As you learn techniques, you will begin to see chains where another move can be implemented based on how your opponent reacts. You are calculating and drawing the opponent into your game. This requires mental acuity, focus and thought. We like to identify BJJ as "human chess".
The more you train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the more focused you become on, the bigger picture; an important lesson you learn on the mats. Now, nothing can faze you. Whether it's stress from work or being dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, you realize that some things aren't worth beating yourself up over, giving you an edge over those who aren't used to experiencing duress daily.
Whether it's to learn self-defence, the start of a new hobby or wishing to further your martial arts repertoire, there's no doubt that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a beautiful art that is accessible to anyone. However, from its countless lessons to its physical benefits, it becomes clear: the more you train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the more you realize that it is more than a martial art – it's a lifestyle.