Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an art form that originated from Japan. Thanks to Gracie Mag Online, we were able to gather all of the facts for you to brush up on your knowledge before diving into your first class. The name Brazilian Jiu Jitsu most literally translates to “gentleness” and “art technique” or more commonly, the gentle art.
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or BJJ, frequently uses techniques such as levers, torsions, and pressures to successfully overcome their opponent. There is not an exact time nor location where BJJ first was discovered, but it is widely recognized as emerging from the Japanese culture of Samurais.
The Samurai fighters needed a means for defense if they were to lose their weapons. Due to the wearing of protective armor, your typical strikes, punches, and blows were not effective enough. Hence came the art of submission through pressure and contorsions.
BJJ started to spread like wildfire across the globe when Mitsuyo Maeda, from the Kodokan Japanese School, set out to prove that his submissions and choke holds could stand against any fighter, know matter their size.
In 1904, Maeda made his way to the United States, since this was a time of great relationship between Japan and the US, President Theodore Roosevelt himself took lessons from one of Maeda’s partners, Yoshiaki Yamashita. Madea and company would eventually make their way across Europe & South America, spreading the word of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
1914 was the year that Maeda made his way to Brazil and that is where he made a big name for himself and the art of BJJ. Maeda was only 5 foot 5 and about 68kg and was looking to face a 6 foot 3 and 100kg opponent. Even with the size difference, he allowed his opponent to wield a knife. To everyone’s surprise, but his own, he was able to disarm his opponent and force him to surrender.
In March 1915, the official 10 rules of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu were created and plainly laid out:
In 1917, a young Carlos Gracie, fell in love with the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and refined the art by the addition of randori into his practice. Carlos would go on to open his first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy deeming the slogan “If you want to have your arm broken, look for the Gracie Academy”. Thirteen of his twenty-one children, would go on to be black belts and continue to spread the knowledge and art of BJJ. They would travel the world competing and using their opponents strength to their advantage, taking down some of the largest fighters.
In the 1990s, BJJ was once again refined by both Rorion Gracie in 1993 with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Carlos Gracie Jr., with the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) in 1994. These are the current day governing bodies of BJJ.
To this day, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be practiced around the globe thanks to the Japanese Culture in which it originated from.
There are many fundamental movements in BJJ, but we have consolidated four very important movements. You will definitely want to have a shrimping/bridging, grips, passing the guard, breath, and armbars in your arsenal, just to start.
This movement helps you get out of compromising situations that your opponent has allowed you to get yourself into. The power of this movement is generated from the hips.
This is an important part of BJJ and your strength in this movement will develop over time. It is important to also know where on your opponent’s body the best places to grip are.
This term refers to getting from a compromising, most commonly, bottom position, to the top and more dominant position over your opponent.
This is one of the more complex movements that you will first learn when starting up BJJ. This creates a hold on your opponent and puts them in a very compromising position.
California is known for a lot of popular BJJ studios such as:
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club in Sherman Oaks, California
Subconscious Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Los Angeles, California
Level Up Jiu Jitsu Studio in Studio City in Studio City, California
Iowa is known for a lot of popular BJJ studios such as:
Des Moines Jiu Jitsu Academy in Des Moines, Iowa
Iowa City BJJ in Iowa City, Iowa
Urbandale Jiu Jitsu in Urbandale, Iowa
New Jersey is known for a lot of popular BJJ studios such as:
McHugh Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Grappling Arts Studios in Shrewsbury, New Jersey
South Jersey Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Berlin, New Jersey
Visiting any of these studios soon? Be sure to post a selfie post-workout and tag us on social!