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United World Muay Thai Association

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

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Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
Lesson One

Brazilian
Jiu-jitsu

What Is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Martial Arts Discipline


If you have followed a bit of MMA fights, then it doesn't take long for you to meet the term Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ). One good reason for this is because BJJ simply works as a martial arts. There are plenty of other forms of martial arts that may look flashy or have been romanticized by films but often crumbles when it's acid tested. This is not the case for BJJ, as it's already tested on a sporting arena and continues to pass with flying colors.


As the word spreads on how effective BJJ is, more and more people are asking - what is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu? Well, that's what you are going to learn in this article.

What Is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu?

The roots of BJJ can be traced back to Japan. In fact, the term Jiu-jitsu is a Japanese term. The term "jiu" or "jū" means gentle. The term "jitsu" or "jutsu" means art. Hence, you can say that Jiu-jitsu can be loosely translated to "gentle art."


BJJ is an evolution of the traditional jiu-jitsu, which is now a martial art with a heavy emphasis on fighting on the ground. It aims to unify different principles of timing, pressure, angles, and leverage. It also incorporates a deep understanding of human anatomy. With all of these combined, it aims to submit the opponent in a non-violent way.


Most martial arts tend to emphasize striking and kicking. On the other hand, BJJ focuses on close quarter-quarter ground combat, also known as "grappling." For a BJJ practitioner, grappling techniques, joint manipulations, and chokes are the primary tools.





History Of Brazilian Jujitsu

The judo and jiu-jitsu aspect of BJJ was imported from Japan to South America during the early 1900s. It was then evolved into a new style known today as BJJ by Brazilian pioneers.

Before reaching Brazil, jiu-jitsu's roots are believed to date back for thousands of years. There are multiple theories that attempt to pinpoint its history, but most will agree that it can be traced back to the Buddhist monks in India around 4,000 years ago.

Buddhist monks lean on non-violence, and yet they still need protection during their travels. Jiu-jitsu is said to be the result of incapacitating opponents without the need to inflict harm. The said martial art then spread to feudal Japan, which was then evolved to an effective hand-to-hand combat style during the warring years of the country.

Some experts would even argue that its origins are much older, pointing out that the earliest forms of the said martial arts could be traced back to ancient Greece and Egypt.

By 1915, Mitsuyo Maeda, a world-famous Japanese judoka practitioner, arrived in Brazil. Soon after, he started giving demonstrations and started teaching judo and jiu-jitsu, which was considered as one discipline in Brazil rather than two separate martial arts in Japan.

Three of Maeda's early students, Luiz Franca, Carlos Gracie, and Helio Gracie, then founded the new martial arts popularly known today as Brazilan Jiu-jitsu. Each of these three has contributed by improving and developing existing techniques as well as creating new ones.

From then on, BJJ started to spread across the globe. By the 1970s, BJJ reached the shores of the United States. However, its growth in the said country was rather slow at first. However, by the 1990s, this South American martial art import suddenly exploded thanks to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), bringing BJJ to the mainstream.

By 2002, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation was founded by Carlos Gracie Jr. The federation started holding BJJ competitions worldwide. From then on, BJJ's global spread and popularity were put on overdrive. Many of today's most prestigious and largest competitions are still held in the U.S.

Nowadays, most schools of BJJ can trace back its "lineage" to one of the three founding fathers of the said martial arts.

Why Train In BJJ?

The beauty of BJJ is that not only it gives you a good workout, but it also promotes excellent mental exercise. After all, it's often referred to as the "human chess" martial arts.

The physical benefits you can gain from BJJ are great and well-documented. It's a martial art that develops your cardio and strength through a combination of explosive and dynamic movements that will typically include holding, pulling, and pushing. Ultimately, if your goal is to improve muscle tone and lose weight, BJJ is an excellent sport to pick up.

As a bonus, you develop your awareness, reactive ability, and balance as you constantly respond to your opponent's movements.

As mentioned before, BJJ also gives you a great mental workout. First, learning a new activity with almost limitless variations of submissions, techniques, and movements is excellent for your brain's development. When rolling, you are always constantly trying to assess if you are in a defensive or advantageous position, which will help develop your reasoning skills. As you are responding to your opponent's movements in real-time, it will also help develop your ability to think on your feet.

Whenever you are rolling with an opponent, everything outside the mat is set aside. And, that in itself is a form of meditation. In fact, you will often find yourself in a disadvantageous position. Learning how to calm the mind to find solutions for your predicament is an excellent way of training your brain NOT to panic or get anxious. For many practitioners of BJJ, rolling with an opponent is an excellent outlet for the stress of one's daily life.

Perhaps the most significant reason why BJJ is very popular is that almost anyone can pick up the sport and be good at it. It's unique in a way that it allows a smaller and weaker person to successfully defend or even defeat larger and stronger opponents. So the common limiting factors in other martial arts, such as size, gender, and age, don't have a very big impact on BJJ. In most cases, it all boils down to who has the better technique rather than who is strong or bigger.



Wrapping It All Up

BJJ is a form of martial arts that heavily emphasizes ground combat or also known as grappling. It mostly focuses on chokes and joint locks rather than striking or kicking. It's an evolved form of the Japanese Jiu-jitsu that was founded in Brazil.

Nowadays, BJJ is very popular, thanks to the UFC and other MMA sporting events. It's also widely picked up by people as it allows smaller and weaker practitioners to defeat bigger and stronger opponents by employing a better technique. 

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