Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that’s focused on securing positions and ending fights with joint locks or chokeholds. As compared to other forms of martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is more about your mastery of techniques and your fight IQ than it is about strength and your physical abilities.
It is one of the most popular martial arts today. In fact, you can see it in the Olympics as well. Almost all MMA athletes know a thing or two about it. But there are some that have it as a base of their fighting style.
Due to its immense popularity, numerous MMA gyms have popped up around the world. And yet, there’s not a lot that people actually know about this gentle art. What is Brazilian jiu-jitsu exactly?
What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Compared to striking martial arts like boxing or Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu focuses more on grappling. In competition, this discipline allows you to end fights with submission holds.
In an actual Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition, you can either win by points or by making your opponent tap out as well.
The submissions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu attack almost all parts of the body including the wrist, elbows, neck, ankles, heels, legs, torso, and many others.
Traditionally, Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters need to wear a gi. This gi is different from others. Aside from being heavier, Brazilian jiu-jitsu also offers more grip and traction. You can also use the gis to perform various techniques. Moves like the Ezekiel choke and the lapel choke make use of the gi.
There’s also a variation of the sport that requires a uniform. It’s called No-Gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Aside from the lack of a uniform, this variation of the sport also features different rule sets during competition. No-gi techniques also play really well in MMA fights.
Although submissions make up a chunk of what Brazilian jiu-jitsu is about, that’s not all that the sport has.
You also need to master takedown techniques such as leg trips and hip throws. On the ground, you need to master a wide selection of positions as well. When you’re on the bottom, sweep techniques also allow you to get on top of your opponent to turn the tides as well.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu has a belt system. Anyone that wants to get the most out of their Brazilian jiu-jitsu can work their way from being a white belt to becoming a black belt. This process alone can take up to 10 years or more depending on how much you compete in the sport.
What Is The Difference Between Jiu-Jitsu And Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
There are distinct differences between jiu-jitsu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu even though they look similar.
Also spelled as “jujutsu”, jiu-jitsu is the base form of the sport. It was originally a martial art from Japan that was devised to be used by Samurais. Techniques in jiu-jitsu are more about self-defense and being able to apply the techniques in real-life situations.
On the other hand, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has techniques that translate more into competitions instead of self-defense. Although you can use the techniques in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in real-life scenarios as well, they aren’t as effective as the techniques that you would learn from jiu-jitsu.
What Is The Point Of Jiu-Jitsu?
The point of jiu-jitsu is that it’s a martial art that is far less violent than others. It features no strikes
Instead, it features a fluid motion of movement and techniques. And they are centered on making an opponent tap out. It’s the reason why many refer to Brazilian jiu-jitsu as the gentle art.
Don’t be mistaken though, physical strength, endurance, and flexibility are still very important when it comes to Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
However, if you have mastered the various techniques and positions in the game, you can potentially take on a guy that’s a lot bigger than you given that they have no technique.
Why Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu So Popular?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu was developed around 1920 by Helio Gracie. The sport spent years being developed by numerous pioneers and it really took a while before it began to reach mainstream popularity.
The majority of the world got to witness what the discipline is about during the first UFC event in 1993. The event was attended by various martial arts practitioners – each one looking more intimidating than the rest.
Each fight was brutal and mostly ended with a knockout. It was clear that winning the event was all about grit and pure strength.
Among the competitors was none other than Royce Gracie.
As compared to other fighters who participated in UFC 1, Royce Gracie was quite composed, and he was also the smallest of the fighters. It was easy to underestimate him but when the bell rang, he disposed of his opponents with submissions very quickly.
After continuous submission victories, he became the first champion of the UFC. Since then, people began to notice Brazilian jiu-jitsu more and more. MMA played a huge part in its rising popularity.
Aside from the UFC, MMA fighters that specialized in jiu-jitsu also began popping up in Japan. It’s a sport that’s easily accessible. Literally, people of all shapes and sizes can do Brazilian jiu-jitsu because it’s all about technique.
Various schools of Brazilian jiu-jitsu are now available and each of them features their own system of submissions. Today, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has become one of the most popular and one of the most accessible forms of martial arts that one can find.
Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Good For Self-Defense?
What is Brazilian jiu-jitsu and does it apply well in self-defense?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a close-quarters style of fighting. Compared to boxing and other striking disciplines, you don’t give your opponent time to counter or move in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
If you’ve developed your Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques well, you can take down an opponent, subdue them and then prevent them from doing anything bad to you until reinforcements arrive.
There have been many instances of people stopping robberies and other attacks using Brazilian jiu-jitsu. What’s even better is that since Brazilian jiu-jitsu utilizes gis, most of the techniques apply in real-life very well because people wear clothing.
This means that you can apply the techniques you learn from school in real scenarios, especially if the person is wearing any form of clothing.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu teaches various submissions and sweeps to do, even if you’re in compromised positions. This, of course, is another upside to the sport as a form of self-defense.
Say an attacker is on top of you, for instance, there are techniques to turn the table on them very quickly.
In striking martial arts, the success of your self-defense will depend on how well you hit your opponent and how less they hit you back.
You now know what to answer when people ask you what is Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It’s a martial art that is easily accessible and one that you can use easily in competitive and self-defense scenarios.
If it interests you, you should enroll yourself in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu school as soon as possible.