Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, commonly called BJJ, is a martial art which focuses on grappling and ground defence. It looks like a blend of Judo and wrestling. There is no punching or kicking and therefore, BJJ is considered a ‘soft’ martial art. BJJ practitioners are able to control larger opponents through leveraging and using technique.
BJJ was created in Brazil by Helio Gracie. Helio learned Jiu-Jitsu from watching his older brother Carlos, who learnt it from Mitsuyo Maeda. Carlos learnt Jiu-Jitsu in 1914 from Maeda. Jiu-Jitsu is an old martial art form from Japan and it means ‘soft/gentle and art/technique’. Helio adapted Jiu-Jitsu to create Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because he was unable to do many of the moves. He believed that a smaller man could win over a larger man.
Today, BJJ has been popularized into main stream sports through mixed martial arts competitions, such as UFC. Its popularity is due to the submission techniques used to win over an opponent. As a sport, students can earn recognition of their accomplishments through belts and promotions and compete in tournaments.
Training in BJJ has several benefits: it improves one’s athletic ability, health and state of mind. Students learn how to place their bodies in specific ways to defend and to attack. They use their entire body to successfully complete a technique. Because of this, they also get a complete work-out involving cardio and strength. BJJ requires thought and an awareness for what technique to use if one needs to defend or if one wants to attack. Learning BJJ is as much a mental as it is physical. These benefits extend not only to those who choose it as a sport, but also to those who want the ability to protect themselves from attackers.
As a self-defence program, students can improve their confidence and ability to protect themselves. It is a fantastic way for learn how to ‘fight’ without punching and kicking. BJJ teaches students how to control their opponents by gripping and holding.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a good choice for people who are looking for a martial art without the striking.