Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Is A Modern Form Of Jujutsu, The Ancient Japanese Martial Art

Like Jujutsu, Jiu Jitsu Also Focuses on Leverage and Balance Rather Than Brute Force

The ancient Japanese martial art of jujutsu was developed to fight bare handed against armed and armored opponents during Samurai days. This technique depended on balance and leverage to use the opponent’s momentum against himself and throw him off balance. The unbalanced opponent was thrown, immobilized, maimed, choked or otherwise rendered ineffective.

While the ancient jujutsu used all kinds of attacks designed to kill or seriously maim the opponent, modern jiu jitsu is used in a far more restrained fashion, for self defense or in competitive events. The common element between the ancient and modern practice is the use of leverage rather than strength to defeat an opponent.

Modern Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

A Japanese master of Kodokan Judo, who was sent abroad to popularize the new martial art of Judo all over the world, found support in Brazil and the Brazilian martial art of Jiu Jitsu developed as a result. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a grappling technique that, unlike Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Judo, is primarily fought on the ground. Today Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are often thought to be synonymous. Though they are distinct systems, for the remainder of this article the terms will be used interchangeably

Fighting on the ground neutralizes much of the advantage of a stronger opponent and the Jiu Jitsu practitioner focuses primarily on getting the opponent to the ground. Several techniques are available to achieve this objective and once on the ground, the practitioner uses a number of maneuvers to gain dominance and get the opponent into a position where immobilizing holds can be applied.

The immobilizing holds can take the form of joint-locks or choke-holds. In joint-locks, some particular joint of the opponent, such as a wrist, elbow, knee or ankle is held and leverage is used to move the joint beyond its normal range of movement. By applying pressure in a controlled manner, the opponent is made to suffer intolerable pain and admit defeat. Under sporting conditions, the opponent usually indicates submission in some recognized manner, e.g. “tapping out”. In real combat conditions, the joint can be broken and the opponent seriously injured.

Chokes involve constricting the windpipe or the carotid artery (called strangulation). Air chokes have the potential to damage the opponent’s trachea and even to cause death. Strangulation results in unconsciousness, and provided it is released before brain damage from oxygen deprivation begins, does not cause permanent damage.

People learn jiu jitsu for self defense or for taking part in competitive tournaments. Jiu jitsu skills can come in handy in grappling and mixed martial art competitions. Due to the use on technique and leverage over raw force, jiu jitsu can neutralize larger and stronger opponents in both self defense and competition scenarios.

Jiu Jitsu Training and Grading

Training to acquire jiu jitsu skills typically involve the following practices:

  • Technique drills against a non-resisting partner
  • Position drills where no submissions are applied and partners vie to take and hold a dominant position.
  • Isolation sparring where only a particular technique or limited range of techniques are practiced
  • Full sparring where each partner tries to get the other person to submit, using all legal techniques
  • Physical conditioning

Grading seeks to assess the practitioner’s

  • Grasp of technical knowledge as demonstrated through drills above and
  • Performance in sparring and actual competitions

Practitioners are encouraged to adapt the techniques to suit their body type, preferences and athleticism.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art form that allows people, regardless of size, to defend themselves against attacks from larger or stronger opponents by using correct technique and leverage. The right techniques need to be learned through extensive practice. Once mastered the techniques can help the practitioner throw stronger opponents off-balance and use that person’s momentum against himself in combat situations. Opponents thrown to the ground lose some of their strength and size advantages. They can then be maneuvered into positions where joint-locks or choke-holds can be applied to defeat them.

Jeff Patterson writer about Boxing, Eskrima, JiuJitsu, Jkd, Kali, Martial Arts and MMA. To know more about Mixed Martial Arts, Muay Thai, Qigong, Tai chi, Taijiquan and Thai boxing, visit url

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