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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art, combat sport, and self-defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting.


 BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger and stronger assailant. All using proper technique, leverage, taking the fight to the ground, and applying joint-locks and chokes to defeat the opponent.

​As standard BJJ has its own uniform, also known as Gi (white or blue). BJJ is also practiced No-Gi, where the students wear shorts and Rashguard. Mouth guard and cup are optional accessories.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came to the United States in the 1980s where the sport has quickly grown in popularity. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is ground fighting that teaches a series of grappling moves designed to put pressure on an opponent until they submit. You will see elements of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in your high school wrestling match, in MMA battles, and even in modern police submission techniques. That’s because this is an ancient art form that is tremendously effective and efficient.

Today, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu incorporates mat wrestling in a configuration of immobilizations, joint locks,chokes and throws, that immobilize and defeat your opponent. Efficiency, flexibility, patience, and carefully applied control make up the foundation of this martial art.


In this sport, students are trained to use leverage and body movement to expend enough energy to defeat an opponent. Much is made of timing in this art form; Jiu-Jitsu teaches us that it isn’t the strongest attacker, but the most cunning and efficient, which can win by exhausting their larger opponent.

Where did Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu come from?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has roots in Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. But Carlos, Helio, and the Gracie family in the 1920s are credited with developing variations on the traditional martial art that we use today. The Gracie family was famous for holding no-holds-barred fights where challengers could come to the “Gracie Challenge.” These matches helped hone the Gracie’s technique into the art form that it is today.

Members of the Gracie family immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was popularized when Royce Gracie won many fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).

What the public grew to recognize was that the Gracie’s defeated bigger fighters who used traditional punching and kicking. The impact on the world of martial arts was incredible. Within a few years, the sport had grown so that it infiltrated every fiber of the multi-faceted practice of martial arts.

Jiu-Jitsu Techniques

give up. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches how to align your body against your opponent’s to achieve leverage while using a variety of control moves that seek to neutralize your opponent. Taken together, these activities will help you dominate larger opponents and also help you escape their grasp. Some of the maneuvers you will learn include:


  • Breakfall is a great technique for anyone to learn as it teaches you how to fall safely to the ground.

  • Cross Choke is basically a stranglehold that controls your opponent’s vulnerable neck area. An arm cross is applied across the neck of the opponent in a crossing frame while holding the gi.

  • Hand Grips are a crucial part of any grapple, and can be used to control distance, lock down a position, or secure a match. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has several grips to learn including the Ball and Socket, Gable, Pretzel, and S – to name a few.

  • Guard includes several positions where the bottom fighter on the ground uses their legs to grapple or maneuver the person on top.

  • Arm Bar is a joint lock that has a long history dating back to ancient Greece. It is a maneuver designed to potentially hyperextend and arm; modern police academies teach it to subdue unruly suspects.

  • Mount is a dominant maneuver where the fighter is sitting on the chest or torso of the fighter on the mat.

  • Sweep is a move where you use your legs or arms to put the other person on their back.

  • Upa is like the bridge posture in yoga, where you raise your hips off the mat and roll your opponent to the side.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu relies heavily on sparring and resistance drills to learn these techniques. However, the following rules apply:

  • No striking, kicking, or punching your opponent.

  • No twisting or finger grabbing.

  • No hair pulling.

  • No eye gouging.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches one simple maneuver to stop the battle; three taps to your opponent, or just yell, “Tap.”

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches even the smallest, weakest student techniques to defend and defeat a stronger opponent. Leverage, patience, mobility, and strength, are all used in a series of holds designed to use energy in the most efficient ways to wear down an opponent. One key component of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it teaches fighting techniques from the on-your-back position, which is traditionally a weaker position in most instances. It’s also the position that people many find themselves in if attacked.

A key concept in this form of martial arts is “position before submission.” Position is where your body is placed in relation to your opponent. Submission is a technique you perform that causes your opponent to

Benefits of Jiu-Jitsu

The most obvious physical benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu must be noted. You will gain strength, flexibility and endurance as you grapple your opponents. From a fitness perspective, BJJ will give you on of the most intense full body workout you’ve probably experienced. That’s because you are literally using every muscle in your body to gain control of your opponent. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an all around body builder to help you burn fat and build lean muscle.

  • Confidence will be improved throughout your journey. By learning techniques and improving your physical fitness you will be amazed of what you are capable of achieving. 

  • Improving your mobility will help you as you age; you will fall more gracefully and move more freely when you practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Strength and mobility are the natural result of practicing the art form.

  • ​Mental awareness will sharpen during your workouts. This martial art trains your mind to be as agile as your body will become. In order to become more fluid, you practice techniques repeatedly and study the movements closely. Each move requires the concentration and focus to slip out of holds. It’s brain training and muscle training and that will improve both your mind and body over time.

  • Determination to succeed is a core skill learned in the practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You will spend months practicing a drill only to fail repeatedly. The trick is to push until something clicks – and that click is both mental and physical. Learning how to push forward until you succeed is a skill that will benefit you in your life and in your study of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

  • Stress relief is probably one of the biggest benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Training primarily includes rolling and drilling on mats, which will give you no time to dwell on your problems. It will wear you out physically, but also help you drain off excess energy from sitting in a cubicle all day. 

  • Patience is often the key to winning with a larger opponent. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, acting aggressively will exhaust you quickly, so timing and patience is key to applying the correct hold at the right time. These are useful skills that will center you in your own life, by watching and waiting until the time is right to strike.

  • Control is all about imposing your will one someone else, which is exactly how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu works. In life, self-control is what set you apart from everyone else. This martial art teaches extreme self-control that you can apply in all the areas of your life.

  • Courage is inherent in the practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As you’re learning, you are keenly aware of how small you might be in relation to larger sparring partners, or how little you know. The learning process requires that you tap out repeatedly, again and again, but somehow find the courage to keep coming back. This tenacity of spirit is an important element of this sport and its uses in life are clear.


As a self-defense technique, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is particularly effective for two primary reasons. If you are attached, it’s likely that your assailant will want to put you on the ground. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches you to fall in a way that is less injurious. If you find yourself in this situation with a larger attacker on top of you, this martial art will help you get out and away. You will also learn to subdue your attacker. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the best self-defense technique out there that helps you work your way out of a vulnerable prone position.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all of these things: martial art, self-defense technique, and sport that will teach you concrete skills that you will use in life every single day.

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