Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

What exactly is Brazilian Jiu Jiujitsu?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (referred to as BJJ or just Jiu Jitsu) is a martial art which focuses predominantly on ground fighting, incorporating joint manipulation, joint locks and choke holds.

The martial art is derived from Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Judo, it’s history is a rich and varied one. In the early 1900’s Carlos Gracie and Hélio Gracie both learned Judo from Mitsuyo Maeda in Brazil. While learning Judo Hélio Gracie saw an opportunity in adapting the Judo techniques, focusing on the ground fighting elements using them to his own advantage, as he saw the opportunity for a smaller opponent to use an opponents strength against them. This formed the founding principle in BJJ that technique will always win over size and strength.

From this point, Hélio Gracie continued to develop Gracie Jiu Jitsu which is the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu we practice today.

Learning Brazilian Jiu Jiujitsu

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art and combat sport system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting.

It is an extremely close contact sport, matches often start standing, the opponents will attempt to take each other to the floor through the use of various throws and takedowns. Once on the floor, they will each attempt to use joint manipulations, lock and chokeholds to gain an advantage over each other all with the main attempt of forcing the other person to submit.

Sessions are tough and grueling but extremely rewarding. Matches typically last about 5 minutes and after some time learning techniques, you can easily have upwards of 5 sparring matching in one BJJ class.

Brazilian Jiu Jiujitsu – The Gracies

A detailed account of the Gracie Family History is a blog or maybe even a website in itself. But one of the best resources with a physical tree that I have found is here: Gracie Family Tree. 

The first generation of the Gracie family went on to have a number of children, many of whom actively trained and competed in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and played a big role in te development of early UFC.

The Gracie family, whether you realise it or not, play a prominent role in your BJJ journey and every strand of BJJ and every gym is closely connected. For example, Carlson Gracie is the son of Carlos Gracie (mentioned above), both have sadly passed away however Carslon Gracie Jnr travels the world upholding his fathers legacy at his gyms by teaching and meeting his students. I’m lucky to have met Carlson Gracie Jnr a few times as it’s a Carlson Gracie Team that I train under.

That’s one of the amazing things about BJJ, your lineage is clearly mapped and history feels so close that you touch it. People take pride in their gym affiliation and loyalty to your team is a highly regarded quality. Throughout the history and development of BJJ there has been conflict over loyalty to gyms, for most hobbyists these days, this isn’t such a restrictive factor but you are expected to train at a single primary gym and you wouldn’t necessarily cross train and therefore represent several gyms.