Jiu-Jitsu is one the many Japanese martial arts and combat systems used for self-defense. Practiced weaponless, practitioners can use it to defend against armed attackers as well.
As with any ancient martial arts form, there are many different techniques and types of moves to attack and defend within Jiu-Jitsu, and understanding these differences is key for someone looking to open a gym and offer Jiu-Jitsu training.
Given the history and widespread practice of Jiu-Jitsu, it’s only natural for several forms of Jiu-Jitsu to come up, depending on the style of combat, training, location, and uses. The core division, however, lies between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, which have their core similarities but also differ in interesting ways.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) essentially focuses on techniques and moves that have a foundation in grappling, and are usually practiced on the ground. Fighters trained in BJJ typically use strangling, choking, and joint locking techniques to make their opponent surrender in a sport setting, or succumb when they pose a threat to life and safety.
Those who practice BJJ use powerful moves to take their opponent to the ground, and aim to establish any kind of dominance through positions that block, defend, and make the opponent surrender.
One of these unique positions is known as the ‘guard’ and as the name suggests, is a vast term for a bunch of combinations and permutations of moves that involve the practitioner to be on their back. This move typically uses the force of legs facing defensively towards the opponent and helps with movement, escaping, and making the opponent surrender with a quick flip.
Because of BJJ’s general popularity as a sport, it’s not uncommon for most gyms to boast powerful and well defined BJJ training courses. While the main aim of Jiu-Jitsu is self-defense, most of the trainers focus on coaching their BJJ students in a more competitive style to make them take part in tournaments.
Their training often includes regular sparring that allows them to reflect on their skills and analyze where and how they need to improve. Sparring with partners also allows students to play against a wide range of players, study their fighting styles, and understand how they stand against players of different resilience and build.
Luckily, because BJJ doesn’t involve all that much striking as it does sparring, most practitioners can train without sustaining serious injuries or worry about rest and recovery time. Health and strength play a huge role in how many injuries you can surpass as a BJJ practitioner, but chances are, you’ll be fine under the right trainer for you.
BJJ reached global popularity once the Ultimate Fighting Championship was started in 1993 and Royce Gracie defeated 3 opponents from different forms of martial arts through his expertise in BJJ.
Since then, the art has come a long way and is often prescribed as a foundation to any martial art. The ranking belt system a series of colors:
All belts below the rank of black display skill level on the belt through stripes.
Conversely, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu focuses on manipulating the opponent’s joints -- throwing them, striking, blocking, strangling and choking. The key difference here is that Japanese Jiu-Jitsu practitioners have a perspective solely for self-defense in mind, not harm or injury. However, some Japanese Jiu-Jitsu trainers might include weapons in the training of their students if they adhere to traditional and ancient rules.
One of the most interesting things about Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is that it aims to defeat an unarmed opponent by taking advantage of their strength and momentum and using it against them. The moves and techniques typically focus on the practitioner learning how to defend themselves first, using the opponent’s moves against them, and then causing injury or submission.
Typically, practicing with a partner helps study potential moves and reactions to moves, and also helps the practitioner think fast against weapons that might be used to inflict harm on them. Some of the most common Jiu-Jitsu moves involve disarming techniques to remove immediate dangers.
Unlike BJJ (which is now more popular as a sport), Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is practiced traditionally as an unarmed self-defense system.
Jiu-Jitsu is practiced by some modern coaching centres that compete in competitions mainly organised by the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, but the art isn’t considered a sport and isn’t as popular as its counterparts. Additionally, how Jiu-Jitsu is taught may vary between schools, but the aim and motivation behind learning the ancient martial art remain largely the same.
Because it isn’t practiced or taught as a globally popular sport like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the rules fleshed out for the martial art vary between the two main forms of Jiu-Jitsu. Most of the time, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu players only find strong contenders for opponents in modern day German Jiu-Jitsu players because of the different training styles.
No Gi Jiu-Jitsu is a variation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where fighters usually wear simple shorts, a t-shirt, and sometimes a chin or rash guard. Of course, the attire isn’t the only thing that makes this form of Jiu-Jitsu different; the techniques and rules are different. For example, a fighter isn’t allowed to grab at the clothing of their opponent in a No Gi Jiu-Jitsu competition and must only aim for the joints such as elbows, knees, or necks.
This form is also most popular as a street fighting style and is often assumed to be easier or less effective because of its informal nature. However, it is worth noting that No Gi Jiu-Jitsu is the most transferable MMA form and focuses just on skills and circumstances, not rules, that are usually missing from real life dangerous situations.
Almost the opposite of No Gi Jiu-Jitsu, fighters in Gi Jiu-Jitsu are expected to be properly dressed in the traditional uniform with their rank belt on them. Wearing the uniform then allows opponents to grab each other’s clothes as a part of the attack or move, and is usually helpful as an aid to dominate the other in a fighting match.
Mixed Martial Arts classes are a must for your gym. Some of the most diverse mixes of moves and techniques prove to be a good introduction to newcomers to the world of self-defense. However, it must be remembered that MMA is a full-body combat sport and takes place on the ground with striking and grappling that can cause injuries.
If you intend to offer MMA classes at your gym, it is recommended that you invest in safety equipment as well as good-quality mats for the floor.
MMA is popular and known to improve confidence, help with mental health and positivity, as well as focus and concentration for students. For adults, MMA helps decrease stress, is good for general heart and liver health, and helps build strength and muscle, aiding fat loss and a fit lifestyle.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might be the best option for younger MMA enthusiasts. Not only is it more focused on self-defense, but if taught properly, reduces the risk of injuries. That means happier parents and healthier kids!
More importantly, Jiu-Jitsu isn’t based on power or competition and is traditionally meant as a self-defense system, and this encourages children to use their skills for the better, and stay away from misusing them or causing harm to innocent people.
The best age to get children to join MMA or Jiu-Jitsu classes is between the ages of 7 to 11 as that is the time when most children display a sense of control over emotions. This is important for them to deal with success, failure, frustration, and loss. Particularly for socially adrift children, Jiu-Jitsu classes prove to be a great structure for social gatherings and harbor a community of support.
You might have come across the term strength and conditioning a lot while preparing to start a gym. Body conditioning aims to target the entire body of a fighter and uses a lot of sets of muscles to tone the body in addition to making it stronger.
Conditioning however requires flexibility training, strength, as well as resistance training to benefit the person and helps build power, speed, and body coordination. That’s always helpful during MMA or Jiu-Jitsu fights.
If you haven’t gathered already, Jiu-Jitsu training can aid your clients and give them strength, confidence, and mental peace. It might be prudent to consider adding it to your list of martial arts classes; chances are, it’ll be added value to your gym. Reach out to Wodify to know more about Jiu-Jitsu training as well as your gym’s journey and how we can help!