Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is widely considered one of the best forms of martial arts in the world and for a good reason. It is a combat sports system that is based on ground fighting and grappling, focusing on controlling your opponent through submission techniques.
BJJ prides itself on being referred to as the gentle art. This is the concept of a smaller, physically weaker person being able to defend himself or herself against a larger, stronger and heavier opponent by taking the fight to the ground.
It is among the fastest growing martial arts in the world and has become much more than a sport. For many people, BJJ is a way of life. Its rise in popularity can be attributed to the fact that BJJ benefits are not just physical, but also mental.
History of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
The origins of BJJ can be traced back to the creation of Kodokan Judo by Jigoro Kano in the late 1800s. Kano was able to pass his teaching to a talented young student named Mitsuyo Maeda. Mitsuyo Maeda settled down in Brazil in 1917 after competing in the United States, Europe, South America and Central America. It was here that Maeda met the famed Gracie family, which helped develop BJJ as it is known today.
Through the practices, experiments, and adaptations of Judo and jujutsu by Carlos and Helio Gracie, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu became its combat sport. Carlos and Helio Gracie passed their expertise on to their extended family and other notable instructors including Luiz France and Oswaldo Fadda. BJJ first attracted international attention during the early 1990s when expert Royce Gracie dominated the early Ultimate Fighting Championships.
The Benefits of BJJ
1. An Excellent Self-Defense Tool
If you ask anyone about the advantages of BJJ, the chances are that they will mention self-defense. This is the reason why many people seek to learn the art. BJJ teaches a number of techniques that can be crucial in a real-life self-defense situation. The reason BJJ is so effective in this regard is that most street confrontations always end up on the ground.
2. It Sharpens the Mind
BJJ is often referred to as the game of human chess. The practitioners use a lot of techniques and strategies to get through an opponent’s defenses. It requires extra concentration and focuses on a physically demanding setting. A BJJ student will likely encounter hundreds of concepts and techniques within a few years of training. As such, mastering the art results in a very sharp mind.
3. It Is a Great Workout
Just like with any combat sport, BJJ features constant sparring and drilling sessions. Even a single session is an intense workout. The good thing about BJJ is that you will not even realize that you are working out since you are focused on the techniques. The result is a healthier and more flexible body.
4. It Builds Character
BJJ will expose you to a roller coaster of ups and downs. Some days you will feel like you are on top of the world and on others, getting through classes will seem like a chore. All these experiences make you strong both mentally and emotionally. You can apply the lessons you learn on the mat to your daily life.
5. Can Be Practiced By Anyone
Practically anyone; men, women and even young children can practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Since it is an art developed for smaller and weaker individuals to subdue stronger ones; size, weight, age or sex are not impeding factors for practitioners.
There is no doubt that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a great martial art that is accessible to everyone. Whether you seek to learn self-defense, further your martial arts career or begin a new hobby, BJJ offers valuable benefits and lessons in and out of the ring.