What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a grappling martial art that, at first glance, resembles a mix of judo and wrestling.
Jiu Jitsu started in Japan, but became popular in Brazil after a Japanese immigrant in the early 20th century taught it to several local men including Carlos Gracie and Helio Gracie who, in turn, taught it to their sons. BJJ became popular in the United States in the early 1990’s after Helio Gracie’s son, Royce Gracie, used jiu jitsu to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Since Royce Gracie’s dominance in the early UFC’s, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become an essential skill in Mixed Martial Arts.
BJJ is one of the most effective martial arts for self defense while being an excellent workout for overall fitness. It focuses on real life positions and situations and employs techniques that work against a resisting opponent or an attacker. Rather than using weight and strength, BJJ is based on technique and leverage that practitioners can use to defeat larger and stronger opponents. For this reason, jiu jitsu can be a particularly useful self defense martial art for women.
BJJ practitioners practice standing techniques and takedown methods to bring their opponents to the ground. Once on the ground, practitioners move through a variety of positions toward the goal of ending the match in a “submission” or acknowledgement from the opponent that s/he has no way out and must “tap” in order to avoid injury.