What Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: The Basics and Bottom Line of This Brazilian Style
From the country that brought us capoeira, samba, soccer, and made the most popular pastimes internationally known, Brazilians have also given us one of the most complete martial arts out there.
If you don’t know the Jiu Jitsu meaning and are just familiar with the term, let our guide help introduce to you a few essential pieces of information that will not only give you the necessary Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basics but also a brief Jiu Jitsu history, along with some jiu jitsu techniques for beginners and moves for more advanced fighters.
No matter your level of experience with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, from walking in the gym door for the first time to professional fighter, we hope that this guide will have something for you. Even if you simply need to brush up or perfect your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques or are just looking to be entertained with some Jiu Jitsu fun facts, this article can be an entertaining and informative read.
Instead of searching Jiu Jitsu Wikipedia, we’re here to talk about anything and everything related to BJJ, from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belts to specific moves and competitions. However, just to begin, let us take you back just a few years to lay out a brief history of the sport.
The Story of Jiu-Jitsu
What is Jujitsu?
Since its beginnings happened many, many years ago, there are various arguments stating that Jiu-Jitsu was first founded by Buddhist monks in the barrels of India, however, those are countered stating that it was first erected in historic Japan.
Some may argue that those who state it came from India, rely on the fact that its origins were loosely related to the fighting form taking place during that time in that particular region. However, how Jiu-Jitsu is in its modern form can easily be traced back to Japan.
As you may have guessed, this style of fighting was traced back to the wars involving Jiu Jitsu Japanese Samurai fighters, where they used fighting effectively in one-on-one combat. They were trained, regardless of being on horseback and being heavily-armored, to be able to handle these fights in any situation. In its original stages, Jiu-Jitsu was often linked with joint-locks, strangles and strikes.
As the story goes, Jiu-Jitsu went from the intricate and deep-ridden histories of Japan and had split into several styles, which is called “Ryu”. The characteristics that brought all the ryus together was that of the fighting techniques, which were mainly seen as strikes, grappling, disarming your opponent, and attacks using weapons.
Jiu-Jitsu quickly evolved into Judo near the turn of the twentieth century. Jigoro Kano took one of the ryus and tailored and changed it, to later then develop Judo. Highly popularized and then spread internationally, Judo became one of the fighting styles that most would turn to, which is still widely practiced internationally today.
You might be thinking, if it started all the way in Japan, how in the world did this practice travel across oceans and countries to South America? The origins Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be traced back and accredited to one man— or family, really.
Mitsuo Maeda, who had been studying under the founder of Judo, Kano, then made the long trek from Japan to Brazil in the early twentieth century. When he arrived in the country, the Scottish immigrant and local politician, George Gracie, helped him make the transition smoothly into a new plush and vibrant life in Brazil.
The Beginning of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
What is BJJ?
BJJ or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was what was developing within Carlos Gracie. To repay the favor, Maeda began teaching Jiu-Jitsu to Carlos Gracie, who went on to spread the new techniques and knowledge he learned with his siblings, especially his brother, Helio, who then wanted to share their teachings with the country. Brazil’s only and first Jiu-Jitsu academy that started it all was established in 1925, offering contests called vale tudo, which means, “anything goes”.
As the fighting academy developed and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu became more and more popular, the Gracie family had to re-establish rules and run trials on what worked and what didn’t. At the end of their successful trial and period, they had developed a highly successful philosophy which specialized in ground fighting, which favored the fight of a smaller man in battle, which could attribute to why it became so popular. After this philosophy was uncovered, the smaller man gained faith — he knew had a chance to win.
Through the 70’s, Jiu-Jitsu took some persuasion and influence from other sports, making its way into competition. Then, nearly two decades later, one of the Gracie’s, Rorion, decided to bring Jiu-Jitsu to the U.S., and thus implementing the UFC.
With humble beginnings from Japan and then traveling thousands of miles to Los Angeles, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, especially the vale tudo contests were then popularized and honed in on for the beginnings of a new event that would then see an explosion of popularity and interest in the U.S. — the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
This would place opponents of different fighting styles into the ring with one another which really coined the term, vale tudo. This opened up new doors for the UFC and popularity of fighting, especially in the U.S.
The Gracie’s pioneered this fighting competition, showing that even Royce, Rorion’s younger brother, who was a lot smaller than most competitors, showed the strengths of the style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, winning a large number of fights in the competition, later becoming champion and then inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
In the U.S.
What BJJ looks like in the UFC today is much different from when it first started when the Gracie’s began teaching. Not only was vale tudo stripped away from the rules, so were a few other attributes of the fighting style. As it became more popular and emerged highly successful in the UFC, there were a few changes. For one, the Kimono or Gi was taken away, which made the entire fighting style more approachable for those who wanted something more on familiar grounds.
Around the World
Since vale tudo ultimately had no time limit, a time frame was then added, along with plenty other rules and regulations to keep fighters safer. Even with all the changes, which was surprising since what appealed most was the whole “everything goes” mentality, BJJ still ranked high in popularity in the world, giving it a boost that would ride the UFC’s coattails until today, where it is one of the most popular and important disciplines in fighting.
However, the U.S. wasn’t alone. Japan also adopted MMA and BJJ, which struck the nation, even with all the other competition of fighting styles like Karate and Judo. The Gracie family was also responsible for that, as Rickson Gracie fought widely in Japan and is responsible for the growth and popularity of that fighting style over there.
Along with rules and regulations, an organization was developed to maintain order throughout the world for all BJJ competitions. They are called the International Brazilian Jui-Jitsu Foundation, IBJJF. Along with being the responsible organization who heads the sport’s promotion and keeps hold of rules and regulations, they also host an annual competition that gets thousands of competitors together to fight in the sport’s unique style.
Regardless of its rich history, even today BJJ has been graced with new Jiu Jitsu moves and techniques that add entire new dynamics to the sport and also keep the competitors on their toes— literally.
Since it is still one of the most popular fighting styles in the world today, you might want to take an interest in. Maybe you are practiced in a different style and want to check to see what all the fuss is about surrounding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Whatever the case may be, let us help you make that decision. Since the fighting style is so unique, it also poses a ton of reasons as to why it is still so popular in the world today, regardless of the many styles out there.
To be brash, we’re going to lay out the reasons why we think BJJ is so attractive and why it, regardless of where you’ve begun your martial arts journey, can be the perfect choice to train with. Here are our seven top reasons why you should try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu out as your next martial art style.
Seven Reasons to Start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Today
1. No matter who you are, anyone can take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The sport was designed for just about anyone. When we’re strictly talking about training here, from women to men to children at the age of four, everyone can start training. What’s most appealing about the philosophy behind BJJ is the fact that it is tailored to adhere to the smaller fighter. Regardless of your size, you can take your opponent down, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can show you how. This is what appeals most in the fighting style. Even if you are weaker or smaller, you can subdue much larger opponents, which ultimately makes it accessible for anyone and even more desirable for smaller fighters.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu statistics don’t lie. Not only can you see through records of hundreds of thousands of fights where the smaller fighter has won, you can even see it in the humblest of beginnings, when, regardless of his smaller stature in comparison to other UFC fighters, Royce Gracie still became the first UFC Champion and entered in the Hall of Fame.
2. It will help you with self-defense.
Even if you don’t want to take up a martial art to compete and are simply doing it for self-defense, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can help you with some of the most basic street fighting skills. Even more, it can be your second-hand defense, in case you end up on the ground.
As we stated earlier, BJJ’s specialties teach its fighters about ground fighting and play to the strengths of a smaller person. Therefore, if you are going to pick any type of fighting to lie in your back pocket if the occasion arises, BJJ might be your best bet. Regardless of what you see in movies, almost all street fights will end up on the ground. This means that those karate high kicks you mastered will hardly be of any use to you.
As one of the most reality-fighting tailored-to systems in the world today, BJJ centrally takes your opponent down and keeps them there. Once you master ground fighting with BJJ, you don’t have to afraid of not only street fighting but also being taken down in a fight because on the ground, in fact, is where you are stronger.
3. It will get you in shape — fast.
Another reason why some people decide to take on martial arts is to get in shape. That being said, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, even if you aren’t signing up for fighting to go into competition, is a great source of fitness.
The great part about BJJ is that since you are fighting, you have a distraction. Since you are no longer focusing solely on the fact that your body is moving around, you don’t even realize that you are undergoing a lot of physical stress. It is one of those sports where you are getting fit without even realizing it.
Depending on where you go, BJJ will give you a variety of different opportunities like drilling sessions and sparring to work on your body — effectively strengthening your muscles and working on your conditioning. Since mentally, you will mainly be focusing on learning new techniques and not being placed in a grappling hold or being pinned to the ground, you will be working out without even realizing it.
BJJ is also a full body workout, you will be working on your flexibility without even realizing it.
4. If you’re a Mixed Martial Arts beginner, you can start with BJJ.
For the base of any MMA fighting, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can help give you the foundation you need to branch off into other fighting styles. Excuse our irony but beginning with BJJ will have you literally starting from the ground up. A belt in BJJ and a solid foundation in its techniques will give you what you need when you need to fight on the ground.
Whether you are looking to begin a long, drawn-out fighting career or are simply looking to get into shape and want an all-around good foundation system, BJJ can be that first step for you. It is a perfect, all-around, foundation fighting style that will not only help you set the building blocks for your future but get you the techniques and skills you need to move forward.
5. It not only develops the body but also the mind.
One of the most notably, highly-recognized body efficient workout and fighting system out there, BJJ also helps you mentally. It is a mental challenge just as well as a physical one. For example, when training and fighting in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it takes a game of strategy to be able to analyze your opponent, his moves, and finding the holes for you to be able to edge in there and get the win.
BJJ takes so much of the mind that it can be seen as a game of human chess. Depending on how you were coached, you should have learned how to fight with strategy as well as with technique.
The mental game doesn’t just stop at learning the game of your opponent and how to beat them, mastering all the skills, techniques, and concepts taught in just your first bit of training takes a great deal of mental capacity and strength.
6. The lessons you learn in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can help you in real-life situations.
Just like practice and training with any sport, it takes discipline, mental strength, commitment, among various other concepts that you subconsciously learn while training. The great part about it? You don’t realize a thing. You could be starting to train for just a short time and not even realize your mentality changing until your friend or ones closest to you begin to notice.
Not only can BJJ help you in physically challenging real-life situations, it can also help you with deeper developments. In BJJ, you are more focused on the bigger picture rather than a problem you simply have in front of you.
You can learn how to take on situations and problems better. Whether you are dealing with stress at work, real-life complications, or any type of issue, you now are even more trained in having the mental strength to overcome life’s obstacles. Since you are used to dealing with stress on a regular basis, you learn how to deal with it.
7. You can work on yourself.
Do you have a confidence problem? Do you need a safe place to take out all your anger or energy? Training in the martial arts can be the outlet for not only being able to channel some of your raw emotions and expressing them in a controlled environment but being able to work on yourself so that you can improve some of the attributes you have that might be leading you to have some of these problems.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu exposes you, as raw as you are and gives you back what you put in. Through the process, you learn how to become stronger not only physically but mentally and emotionally, as well. You will be met with challenges and met with failure. You will learn how to confront them head on and you will learn how to work on your self-improvement at the same time.
Taking on a sport or discipline where there is no perfection, you learn how to continuously commit to working and giving all of yourself to something, day in and day out. BJJ is so much more than just a recreational activity.
This martial arts style is more than simply a self-defense style. It is a lifestyle that when you take on the challenge, you have to adopt and adapt.
If you have an interest in BJJ and are looking to put your skills to the test, you can take a look at any of these organizations and events that hold competitions for fighters:
Aside from its governing body, IBJJF, various other organizations are dedicated to hosting athletes and fighters and giving them a place to fight in a controlled and competitive environment. Here are a few organizations that host competitions for BJJ competitors and fighters.
The World Jiu Jitsu Championships (Mundial): Just like the World Cup but for Jiu Jitsu, this competition is the largest tournament in the world and has been in play for over twenty years. It is under CBJJ and IBJJF in Brazil
The Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship (Pan American): Coming in at number two, this Championship competition relates to specific parts of the world, instead of the entire world. It is also growing in popularity.
World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship (World Pro Cup): Relatively new, this tournament is hosted by UAE and takes the professional, top competitors in the world and places them against one another, with a large sum of prize money for the winners.
Brasileiro de Jiu Jitsu (Brazilian National Championship): Strictly held in Brazil, this is how a BJJ fighter gains popularity and gets higher in the rankings on home soil. Since it is held simply in Brazil, those who cannot afford to travel to another country or cannot obtain a VISA or proper documents, it is a perfect competition to showcase their skills and rise among the rest.
European Open Championship: As we move across the ocean to Europe, this competition is perfect for those practice BJJ to test their strengths among other competitors. In the other Portuguese-speaking country, Lisbon plays host in January to this championship for the best.
Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC): Even though you won’t simply just see BJJ fighters here, it is a grappling and submission event — one of the largest in the world. Through this event, it is also apparent that BJJ fighters find a lot of success when paired up against other styles.
Depending on the tournament you are in, rules may vary. However, the points are usually ranked similarly from competition to competition. If you are in a beneficial position and are in favor with advancing, you gain awards. There are many detailed rules that you can search for if you really are interested in specifics, however, be wary that they will probably change from one tournament or event to another. Normally, if your opponent taps out, you immediately win.
Some of the moves you will want to know, which you can also search Brazilian Jiu Jitsu youtube
for videos of these actions, are as follows:
The “Montada” – The Mount: This position has you on top of your opponent with your knees wrapped around his or her torso. Both of your knees should be making contact with the ground.
The “Passagem de Guarda” – The Guard’s Pass: Getting out of your opponent’s guard after being inside and maintaining your position on top is worth a lot of points.
The “Pegada de Costas” – The Back Mount: This is literally you wrapping yourself around your opponent from the back. If you can take control of him or her from behind, getting your feet on the inside of your opponent’s thighs.
The “Queda” – The Throw or Takedown: Queda in Portuguese means “stay”. In this position, you take your opponent down from the origins where both of you were standing and make them stay on the ground, you will be awarded.
The “Raspada/Raspagem” – The Sweep: This move is basically the changing of positions. If you can go from being the bottom to being at the top, position-wise, then you have done a sweep and will also be awarded valuable points.
Wrapping it Up
We hope that this extensive guide on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, from the origins of the fighting style to specific competitions to look forward to — whether you are watching or competing — has helped introduce to you some basic, and not so basic, factual knowledge. Whether you are a beginner looking to train in a new martial arts discipline or you are a seasoned veteran looking to brush up on their knowledge and have been entertained by our article, we hope that you have enjoyed reading.
Remember, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a physically demanding sport. Although it is available and feasible for everyone, check in with your doctor to see if you are physically healthy and prepared to begin your fitness journey with BJJ or to continue and how hard you can push yourself. Being prepared not only physically but mentally to take on this fighting style will help you have the most success.