Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport focusing on grappling and ground fighting. BJJ emphasises getting an opponent to submit through leverage, chokeholds, joint locks and other techniques.
Over the past few decades, BJJ has exploded in popularity worldwide. It has become one of the most practised martial arts due to its effectiveness and emphasis on technique over strength. BJJ develops essential skills like discipline, perseverance, self-defence and getting out of the wrong positions. But above all, it teaches the art of submission and mastery.
A Brief History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu originated from Kodokan judo, adapted from various traditional Japanese martial arts. It was first developed in Brazil in the early 1900s by the Gracie family.
Helio Gracie, the youngest son of Gastão Gracie, was very frail and sickly as a child. Since he could not physically match up against larger opponents, he began adapting the judo techniques to allow smaller, weaker fighters to defend themselves and defeat bigger, more vigorous opponents. This emphasis on leverage and technique over strength and size became the foundation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The Gracie family continued refining and developing BJJ techniques over the decades. Through competitions and fights across Brazil, they proved the effectiveness of BJJ against other martial arts. This led to the enormous growth and popularity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The Core Techniques and Strategies of BJJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu utilises several core techniques and strategies:
Grappling and Ground-Fighting
BJJ focuses heavily on takedowns, throws and ground fighting. Unlike striking-based martial arts, most fights happen on the ground in BJJ. Fighters use the guard, mount, side control, and back mount to gain dominant positions over opponents.
The ultimate goal is to make the opponent submit, usually through chokeholds, joint and compression locks. Some standard submissions include the rear naked choke, armbar, triangle choke and kneebars. Tapping out is the usual sign of submitting.
Sweeps and Escapes
Since much of BJJ involves fighting from inferior positions on the ground, sweeps allow you to reverse positions and gain an advantage over the opponent. Escapes will enable you to escape bad spots and return to a neutral position.
Leverage and Technique over Strength
Proper technique, leverage, timing and finesse allow a BJJ practitioner to defeat more prominent, vigorous opponents. BJJ does not rely on brute strength but instead on the proper application of techniques.
The Benefits of Training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Here are some of the main benefits that training in BJJ provides:
BJJ teaches realistic self-defence applicable in many real-world scenarios. The techniques enable smaller practitioners to defend themselves against larger assailants.
Rolling and sparring provide an intensive full-body workout that improves strength, endurance and cardiovascular conditioning. The entire body is engaged during training.
Improved Discipline and Focus
Like most martial arts, BJJ requires tremendous discipline and focus to progress through the belts and master techniques. This translates into increased discipline and focus in other areas of life.
Stress Relief and Relaxation
The intense workout and focus required while training serve as a great stress reliever. Training allows the practitioner to forget everything else and re-center.
As physical skills improve over time, confidence naturally increases. Knowing you can defend yourself and submit to opponents boosts self-confidence.
Starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Training
If you are interested in starting BJJ training, here are some tips:
Find a Reputable Gym
Do some research to find gyms in your area that have knowledgeable instructors and a safe, positive training environment. Try out a few free intro classes.
Come In With an Open Mind
Don’t get discouraged in the beginning. BJJ has a steep learning curve. Keep an open mind, stay positive and focus on small wins and improvements.
Like any martial art, consistency is critical to improving in BJJ. Attend classes regularly and train multiple times per week. The more you qualify, the faster your skills will improve.
Focus on Technique
Refrain from using strength and athleticism as a crutch, especially initially. Focus on learning and perfecting proper techniques under the guidance of instructors.
Embrace the Challenge
BJJ training can be gruelling and demanding, both mentally and physically. Embrace the challenge – perseverance through hardship is how you will improve.
Training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu takes dedication and perseverance, but the benefits are immense. Under the guidance of qualified instructors, you will be amazed at your progress. BJJ teaches the art of using leverage and technique to control and submit more prominent, more vigorous opponents. Start your BJJ journey today at BJJ gyms in Stones Corner, a reputable gym, and begin mastering the art of submission.