Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a Martial Art based in ground fighting. It is unlike many other ground fighting style, particularly in the way that it teaches practitioners to fight from their backs.
Today, nearly all MMA fighters train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu due to the success that past practitioners have had in the sport.
THE HISTORY OF BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU
Over four centuries ago in northern India, Buddhist monks were busy going about the dangerous work of trying to spread the word of Buddha in a world that wasn’t always kind to roaming peoples.
In order to defend themselves from attacks that happened along the way, they developed a form of grappling that allowed them to subdue opponents without killing them. Eventually, this style of fighting made its way to Japan where it was improved upon and called jujutsu or jujitsu. Judo is a derivative.
The Japanese unsuccessfully sought to hide jujutsu and its derivatives from the Western world. In 1914, Kodokan Judo master Mitsuyo Maeda (1878-1941) came to stay at the household of Brazil’s Gastao Gracie. Gracie helped Maeda with business matters and out of gratitude, Maeda taught Gastao’s eldest son, Carlos, the art of judo. In turn, Carlos taught the other children in the family what he knew, including the smallest and youngest of his brothers, Helio.
Helio often felt at a disadvantage when practicing with his brothers because many of the moves in judo favored the stronger and larger fighter.
Thus, he developed an offshoot of Maeda’s teachings that favored leverage over brute strength and refined the formula for fighting from one’s back on the ground. Today the art that Helio refined is called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an art based in ground fighting. Along with this, it teaches takedown defense, ground control and especially submissions.
Submissions refer to holds that either cut off an opponent’s air supply (chokes) or look to take advantage of a joint (such as armbars).
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters tend to feel very comfortable fighting from a position called the guard, if need be. The guard position, wrapping one’s legs around an opponent to limit their movement, allows them to fight from their backs so effectively and is also something that separates their art from most other grappling styles.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters look to take their opponents to the ground. When on top they generally hope to escape their opponents’ guard and move to either side control (positioned across an opponents’ chest) or the mount position (sitting over their ribs or chest). From there, depending on the situation, they may choose to continually strike their opponent or set up a submission hold.
When on their backs, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters are very dangerous. From the guard, various submission holds can be employed. They may also seek to turn their opponent over in an attempt to reverse their fortunes.
On Nov. 12, 1993, Helio’s son Royce showed the world what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu could do by taking home the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) trophy in an open weight, barely-any-rules tournament.
Even more impressive was the fact that at only 170-pounds, he went on to win three of the first four UFC Championship Tournaments.
Since Royce Gracie made his family’s style of jiu-jitsu famous, many other variations of jiu-jitsu have popped up. All of these are in some way attributable to Gracie Jiu-Jutsu. Machado Jiu-Jitsu, founded by a cousin of the Gracies, is the best known of these variations.