why bjj?

what is bjj?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is one of the most revolutionary martial arts of our time. There are three main reasons why this art has rapidly gained recognition as one of the most practical and effective methods of self-defense today:

First, BJJ focuses primarily on grappling, both on the ground and standing up. Most physical confrontations occur at such a close range that the attacker and would-be victim ultimately become entangled in a clinch type position, and face a high probability of falling to the ground. Grappling, both standing and on the ground, is the primary strength of the BJJ practitioner.

Secondly, BJJ makes effective use of techniques that use leverage rather than strength to attack the weak areas of an opponent. These techniques include various forms of joint locks applied to shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, and knees. The BJJ student is also taught various choking techniques that can render even very powerful attackers harmless or even unconscious.

The biggest strength of this style is the practitioner can make a choice as to how much force to apply in order to end a confrontation. This has the benefit of reducing the risk of lawsuits due to injuries that could be caused by striking alone. Finally, unlike other arts that proclaim their self-defense techniques are too “dangerous” to practice in a realistic manner, the art of BJJ is safely practiced, and has been for decades, against fully resisting opponents through “randori”, or free training. This gives the BJJ practitioner a very high degree of confidence in their technique because if it works in a training situation then it will most likely work in a real-life scenario.


history of bjj

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that has its foundations in traditional jiu-jitsu/judo. It is believed to have evolved into a distinct form about 75 years ago. Back in 1914, a Japanese count, Mitsuyo Maeda (in Brazil known as Conde Koma, literally “The Count of Combat”) immigrated to Brazil. While there, he was assisted by a Brazilian politician named Gustao Gracie who helped him establish a Japanese colony. To repay all the favors that Gustao granted him, Mitsuyo promised to teach Carlos Gracie (Gustaos son) the secrets of jiu-jitsu. When Carlos Gracie mastered the art, he started to experiment with his new abilities. Not only did he train with his master, but he also used what he learned in the streets to defend himself.

In life and death situations, Carlos Gracie Sr. began to modify the traditional Japanese art into a reliable method of defeating any opponent. The over-riding problem that Brazilian jiu-jitsu evolved to answer was: “What is the best way to defeat a stronger and larger opponent without having to rely on brute strength?” The answer was, and still is, leverage. With leverage and technique, a modestly sized person is able to control and defeat opponents who are much larger and stronger. With this realization, Carlos Gracie Sr. started evolving the traditional methods of self defense into a practical, effective art which could be applied in the mean streets of Brazil.