What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art focusing almost entirely on grappling and ground fighting.  A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) artist specializes in strategic ground fighting with the goal of submitting an opponent via chokes and joint locks.   It is practiced in gi (kimono) and no-gi situations.

Currently there are four main BJJ schools, all originating from the system’s founding fathers Carlson and Helio Gracie, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  They are:
    * Gracie Humaita
    * Gracie Barra
    * Alliance Jiu-jitsu
    * Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

BJJ is a derivative martial art of Japanese Jujitsu and Judo.

In the early part of the last century, the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano, sent many of his top students to promote Judo around the world.  They did so via demonstrations and exhibition matches against anyone willing to take them on.

One of Kano's top students, Mitsuyo Maeda, eventually settled in Brazil and began teaching Judo - or Kano Jujitsu as it was known.  Maeda traveled the world challenging many different fighters and fighting styles with much success.

Maeda also taught Carlson Gracie, who at a young age passed on the lessons to his brothers Osvaldo, Gastao Jr., Jorge and Helio. The Gracie family developed Maeda’s teaching into what is now called Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ); techniques focused almost entirely on choking and joint lock submissions on the ground.

With the rise of mixed martial arts competitions such as Pride and the Ultimate fighting Championships, BJJ proved itself as a potent martial art against many different styles.  Gracie clan members such as Royce, Rickson, and Renzo experienced tremendous success in these types of competitions.

A major contributor to the evolution of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has become an integral component for any MMA competitors training regime.     

Philosophy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

BJJ emphasizes methodical tactical maneuvers and counter-maneuvers practiced in free competitive sparring situations as the most efficient training method.  

Belt gradings in most schools are based not only upon knowledge of particular techniques but more importantly upon one’s ability to perform them in free, full-resistance sparring situations.  

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as Self-Defense

As evidenced by BJJ’s success in Mixed Martial Arts competitions, it is an effective form of self-defense.   A proficient BJJ student should be able to take any assailant down to the ground and use his or her knowledge of body mechanics to gain the upper hand.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Kids

Due to BJJ’s focus on choke and joint lock submissions in real sparring situations, BJJ is not a particularly child-friendly martial art.  However, some schools have adapted it into a safer format, emphasizing exercises and techniques safe for children to practice.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Adults

BJJ is geared towards a student who wants a hard, total body workout.  It offers generous cardio training and free sparring (“rolling”) to achieve progress.  It also promotes tactical problem solving and has been described, along with Judo, as ‘chess done with the entire body.’

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Associations & Resources:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Ontario (Ontario BJJ)
Canadian Jiu-Jitsu Association (CJA)
Jiu-Jitsu in Canada
Jitsu Canada

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