What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a self-defense martial art and combat sport based on grappling, ground fighting and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one’s opponent, gaining a dominant position and using a number of techniques to force them into submission via joint locks or chokeholds. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be trained for sport grappling tournaments (gi and no gi), mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, or self defense. Sparring (commonly referred to as ‘rolling’) and live drilling play a major role in training, and a premium is placed on performance, especially in competition, in relation to progress through its ranking system.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique, taking the fight to the ground – most notably by applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person. Many schools emphasize taking an opponent down to the ground as fast as possible because this provides numerous advantages that are difficult for many other martial arts styles to overcome. The art utilizes predominantly grappling standing and on the ground, but there are also many schools that include stand up striking techniques, such as punches or kicks, when teaching self defense.
Where Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Originated
In 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda arrived in Brazil. Maeda was a student of Judo’s founder, Kanō Jigorō. Maeda began teaching Judo in Brazil, where Carlos Gracie became one of his students. Carlos then began teaching his brothers, most notably Hélio Gracie. Hélio Gracie is credited with creating what became known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by focusing further on the ground fighting taught by Maeda.
Why learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
BJJ is often referred to as the “game of human chess.” This is because it requires a lot of strategy, patience, and discipline. It teaches practitioners how to be calm under pressure, which can lead to better decision-making skills in everyday life. It also strengthens your mind-body connection through training that promotes mindfulness and focus on present moment awareness.