Brazilian Jiu Jitsu qualifies as both a martial art and a combat sport, but it’s unique among its peers. Everyone from practicing Buddhists to competitive fighters have incorporated this relatively new sport into their everyday exercise routines, and for many it is a lifestyle all its own. Jiu Jitsu is recognizable by its constant contact and ground fighting techniques, such as holds, joint manipulations, chokes and locks. However, its main purpose is restraint, not harm, and it emphasizes technique above all else. BJJ has an interesting and complicated background, and today it’s a go-to conditioner for athletes from many different disciplines.
Buddhist monks and non-violent intentions inspired Jujitsu, yet competitive fighters incorporate it into their strategic training today. Jiu JItsu is associated with both fighting and with nonviolence, and it has benefits that include everything from self-defense to weight loss. To understand the spirit of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it is important to know its history.
In the early 20th century, a Japanese immigrant named Esai Maeda was stationed in Brazil because of his father’s job. He met and taught ancient fighting techniques to Carlos Gracie, a Brazilian boy who eventually opened his own martial arts school with his brothers. One of those co-partners, his smaller younger brother, began to adjust the Jiu JItsu techniques to better accommodate his own, smaller frame. It is from these adjustments that modern Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was born (BJJ).
Rickson Gracie, a member of the original Brazilian family who created this iteration, said that “his life’s mission is to show the world how a “warrior spirit” could actually make people more peaceful”. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu values form over size or intimidation, and these elements are what make BJJ a life-saving hobby.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is often called the Great Equalizer because of its emphasis on technique, rather than size or strength. That makes it particularly suitable for those interested in self-defense training, as its core principle requires participants to imagine an opponent who is both larger and stronger than themselves.
True to form as both art and sport, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is accessible no matter what your body type, gender, height, or weight. Competitive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sees fighters sparring with people of their own ability category, while it is also used for physical strength training among athletes who range from professional wrestlers and UFC fighters to swimmers and ballerinas.
The right technique is about gaining an edge over your opponent, so the most successful BJJ maneuvers are related to its ground-fighting techniques. There are plenty of stand-up Jiu Jitsu matches too, but the best way to gain physical leverage over an opponent is to lock them in a particular position against the ground, so most training revolves around padded floor mats. Chokes, holds, and elbow and knee manipulations are commonplace in the contemporary practice of BJJ, which is ranked just like its peers, by belts of varying colors.
One of the most important lessons that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu imparts on its loyal practitioners is an intuitive knowledge of which positions one should avoid. Because you learn to rely on intelligence, agility, and foresight, you can better anticipate the possible range of motion of your opponent. that means you can prevent vulnerabilities that the average athlete wouldn’t notice.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an increasingly popular exercise option for a wide variety of demographics. It’s accessible for amateurs and hardcore fitness enthusiasts alike, so no matter what your skill level, you can benefit from the peaceful and empowering benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.