Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art focusing largely on grappling and ground fighting. It utilizes natural body leverage and proper technique to obtain dominant control on the ground and, as a result, provides greater position for striking or submission holds.
BJJ has been proven, when used properly, to be an effective method for dealing with bigger and stronger opponents and has become increasingly popular due in part to its great success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It can be trained for self defense, sport grappling (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts competition and has found its way into the training regiment of nearly every successful martial artist worldwide.
Translated as “the gentle art,” Brazilian jiu-jitsu focuses on using strength and technique in the most efficient way possible to control and overcome opponents of greater size, strength and aggression. With its roots in the Japanese jiu-jitsu of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the art found its way to Brazil in 1910, when Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese jiu-jitsu and judo expert, emigrated to the country. There he became friends with Gastao Gracie, an influential businessman who helped Maeda get established. In return, Maeda taught jiu-jitsu to Gracie’s sons, who became very proficient in the art, eventually passing on Maeda’s teaching in their own schools. The many additions, modifications, and refinements to the art made by the Gracie family were tested against other styles with great success, propelling Gracie jiu-jitsu into the martial arts world and creating a tradition that lives on today.