What Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? (Brazilian Martial Art)

What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Brazil is known worldwide as the country of football (or soccer, if you’re in the US). But if you’re an MMA or martial arts fan, you know that soccer is not the only sport where Brazilians are great. Jiu-Jitsu is probably the most important sport created (or adapted) in Brazil.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art created by the Gracie Family in Brazil. The first official Gracie school was founded in 1925, in Rio de Janeiro. BJJ got super popular in the 1990s, especially after UFC1, where Royce Gracie won bigger opponents using its family martial art: Jiu-Jitsu.

The main goal of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is teaching people how to fight and defend themselves using pressure, body weight, and technical submissions. The whole point of this martial art is overpowering opponents cleanly and respectably, allowing them to give up the fight without getting hurt. It doesn’t mean it’s not a powerful fighting style. BJJ was already proven in MMA and real-life combats as the most effective martial art.

History of BJJ And Its Evolution

What Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu emerged on the Asian continent around 3,600 years ago. In Brazil, it arrived in 1914, brought by the Japanese Mitsuyo Maeda, known around here as “Conde Koma” (Count Koma). Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese master of martial arts arrived in Brazil after traveling through some countries such as the United Kingdom, Mexico, Cuba, and France. He arrived in Brazil around 1914, doing demonstrations and fights, and settled in Belém do Pará. At that time, there was confusion about the name of the fight and even in Japan, the term “ju jutsu” or “kano ju-jutsu” was used referring to the technical part, and the term “judo” when referring to the philosophical part. Only in 1925 that the Japanese government made the name Judo official, naming the fight that was taught in the country’s public schools.

When Mitsuyo arrived in Brazil, the name judo was not yet official and it was common for that fight to be called by the Japanese as “ju-jutsu or “kano ju-jutsu”. Brazilians called it “jiu-jitsu” because it was easier to pronounce. The Japanese master became a good friend of Gastão Gracie, an influential Brazilian businessman, who helped him establish himself. In gratitude, Maeda taught the traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu to Carlos Gracie, Gastão’s eldest son. Carlos practiced for a few years and then took charge of teaching his brothers. The first Gracie School was founded in 1925 in Rio de Janeiro. Over there, Carlos and his brothers started teaching the Jiu Jitsu they learned from Maeda.

Hélio Gracie, the youngest of the brothers, was banned from training because he was considered too weak. Even so, he loved to watch the training sessions and classes taught by his brothers. After a long time watching the classes, Hélio realized that he could adapt the techniques used by then, creating his fighting style, based on his physical limitations. Hélio began to modify what he observed in his brother’s teachings and was determined to efficiently execute the blows, modifying them and adapting them to his fragile physical structure. He emphasized the principles of leverage and the choice of the right momentum, over speed. He managed to modify all the techniques, among many trials and errors, creating a national style of Jiu-Jitsu, the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

A Great Exercise (And Effective Martial Art)

More than a great way to learn how to fight and defend yourself and others in case of need, BJJ is an exceptional physical activity. As shown in this great article (shoutout to Knockout Insider), a single 1-hour BJJ session can burn up to 1100 calories. To put in perspective, 1 hour of weight training burns, on average, 245 calories. Running 1 hour at a moderate pace burns approximately 637 calories. A single session of BJJ with the warm-up, techniques, and 3 or 4 sparrings (rolls) of 5 minutes each can burn as much as 1100 calories. If one of your goals is losing weight, BJJ is a great option.

A traditional BJJ class for average students (not competitors) usually takes 1 hour (5 minutes warm-up, 5 minutes stretching or drilling, 25 minutes of technique, and 15 to 25 minutes of sparring). Considering this exact training division, an 80kg-person would burn exactly 1137.32 calories in 1 hour. That’s awesome. Almost too good to be true right? I know. But the math is here to prove me right. Per hour, for each kg of body weight, an adult burn:

ExerciseCalories Burned (for each kg of body weight per hour)
BJJ Stretching1.81 calories
BJJ Warm-Up2.43 calories
BJJ Techniques and Drills3.25 calories
BJJ Sparring (Roll)4.87 calories

Reference Numbers: https://elemento.ag/blog/calorias-gasta-treino-de-jiu-jitsu/

Basically, it shows that if you manage to add 3 training sessions like this in your weekly routine you’ll be burning about extra 3500 calories, enough to cut 1,1 lb every 7 days. Also, BJJ can be a great ally for those that want to gain some muscle. In this article you’ll find a step-by-step guide to build muscle training BJJ: Can Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Build Muscle? (Complete Guide).

What Is The Point Of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

BJJ is a martial where the main goal is to overpower your opponent in a fair, clean way using technical submissions. It’s a beautiful concept, as in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you give the chance for your opponent to give up without getting hurt. However, BJJ has also strong roots in self-defense to empower an average person with the abilities and the confidence to defend himself and others in case of need.

As a general rule, the point of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is teaching students how to fight and defend themselves using leverage and pressure, attacking joints and sensitive areas with twists and chokes. And more: BJJ is a lifestyle. A lifetime journey to be more resilient and get better every day.

What Does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Teach You?

The benefits of learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu go way beyond teaching you how to fight. The main goal is, of course, giving you the abilities and techniques to defend yourself in case of need. But training BJJ is a life-changing experience, with benefits that go from losing weight to mental health (stress relief, antidepressant activity).

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches you how to fight using submissions and distance management. Plus, BJJ helps you to be more confident, resilient, and a more humble person, as there is no room for ego in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Also, BJJ teaches you how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

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What’s up! I’m André, a Brazilian born and bred living in the South of Brazil in a little city called Guarapuava. I’m passionate about traveling and knowing different cultures and that’s why I love to share useful information about the Food, Travel, Facts, and Culture of my beloved country, Brazil.

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