IS BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU EFFECTIVE?
The brazilian jiu jitsu fighting style is one of the most complex Martial Arts in the grappling family. The art consists of a multitude of highly efficient and deadly maneuvers. All fights start on the feet, where a practitioner will utilize various techniques inspired by Judo and Wrestling, to take their opponents down to the mat. Once the fight is grounded then we see what BJJ is really all about, as they will use a highly strategic series of positional control elements and a fast and smooth transition system which leads into an extremely technical submission finish.
What This Article Covers:
- Where Did BJJ Originate from
- How Effective Can Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Be
- Can Anyone Become Effective in BJJ
- What Are the Most Effective Submissions in BJJ?
- BJJ Trains for Highly Stressful Scenarios
- The Impact on a Student’s Health
The high calibre of movements involved with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has an infinite amount of defenses and counter attacks. Learning the art of BJJ can take a practitioner an extremely long time to master, as the wealth of knowledge is constantly evolving. The bjj philosophy is simple: when you are on top of an opponent you must take away their space, and when you are underneath an opponent you must create space. Achieving this basic philosophy is not as easy as that, it takes learning the fundamental principles for a student to grasp this basic understanding.
WHERE DID BJJ ORIGINATE FROM
The origin of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dates back to the early 1900's, when one of Jigoro's Kano most notable students travelled to Brazil. Mitsuyo Maeda was a Japanese Judoka and a prizefighter in no holds barred competitions. Mitsuyo was one of the first documented Mixed Martial Artists of the modern era, as he regularly challenged fighters from other forms of combat. Mitsuyo was known as Count Combat or Conde Koma in Spanish and Portuguese, he earned this nickname in the early 1900’s while competing in Spain. Mitsuyo was one of the pioneers of Kodokan Judo in many countries including Brazil and the United Kingdom.
A chance encounter saw Carlos Gracie attend a Judo Demonstration that Mitsuyo hosted in Rio de Janeiro. After watching the event Carlos wanted to learn the Martial Art, and through his father Gastao, he was introduced to the Japanese legend. Mitsuyo would agree to teach Carlos Judo, and for the next few years Carlos learnt the art of Kodokan Judo and various techniques in Japanese Jujitsu. Carlos would teach his brothers Oswaldo, Gastao Jr, George and Helio Gracie the art of Kodokan Judo. Helio was showing signs of struggle as he failed at many of the Judo techniques, as this was due to his smaller size and inferior strength. As a result of Helio's inadequacy, he began to develop a comprehensive combat system that used a series of choke holds, positional control and leverage based joint locks. Helio had started an artform that would rewrite the history books, and the birth of Gracie Jiu Jitsu gained significant momentum. Nowadays the evolution of GJJ has seen a vast array of high level athletes become successful in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
HOW EFFECTIVE CAN BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU BE
There are two factors to consider when trying to determine the effectiveness of a Martial Art. The first one is the application in the sporting or competitive sense, the other is how effective it can be in a real life self defense situation. In a sporting aspect the effectiveness of the game style is extensively high, as practitioners will execute high percentage movements to control and submit their opponents. The repetition that goes into the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is continuous, as a practitioner is constantly refining their skill sets and discovering better ways to accomplish their end goal.
The proof is out there for everyone to see, as the art has multiple world champions that continue to showcase the effectiveness of the art. Athletes like Marcus Almeida, Bernardo Faria, Roger Gracie, Bruno Malfacine and Marcelo Garcia are all testaments to how effective Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be. In the 1990's the Gracie family put forward one of their most inexperienced fighters to compete in the UFC, and the efficiency of BJJ against other systems of Martial Arts prevailed, and was showcased around the world. Nowadays in modern Mixed Martial Arts famous jiu jitsu black belts like Demain Maia, Charles Oliviera, Nate Niaz, Brian Ortega, BJ Penn and Ronaldo Souza have all showcased the efficiency of BJJ inside the cage. Other fighters like Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Matt Hughes, Frank Mir and Rhonda Rousey have all used submission finishes inside their octagon wins, proving once more the efficiency of BJJ.
In a self defense aspect, BJJ can be extremely effective as the common denominator in a street fight is that most fights end up on the ground. BJJ trains extensively in ground fighting, meaning a practitioner will be well equipped to take on an attacker in a street application. In the street an attacker could have weapons or be bigger and stronger than you, but BJJ teaches many aspects like how to control an opponent especially ones that are larger and stronger. Weapons defense is something that is also taught in combative jiu jitsu, as many BJJ techniques are extremely effective for this reason.
Nowadays BJJ self defense has become extremely popular, as the pathway built by Helio Gracie continues to develop. Helio's grandsons Rener and Ryion Gracie run the Gracie University in the California, USA. This university is known for its clinical and effective street application of BJJ techniques. The popularity of many of their courses like the Gracie Combatives and the Women's Empowered Program have gained significant success and great feedback on its ability to be efficient. More and more law enforcement agencies are beginning to adopt BJJ as the main training for their officers. This is due to the effectiveness of BJJ techniques, as many police officers have spoken about how it has given them confidence to arrest perpetrators without using force, and has also helped them in de escalating violent situations.
CAN ANYONE BECOME EFFECTIVE IN BJJ
The best part about training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that the art was initially designed for smaller and weaker people to defeat larger and stronger opponents. The history of jiu jitsu speaks about Helio Gracie, and how he was too small to properly execute the Kodokan Judo techniques that his brother Carlos learnt from Mitsuyo Maeda. So Helio developed his own system of techniques that have now become the principles of jiu jitsu. Over the years other Gracie clan members, and other prolific artists have further developed the ideologies in its technical application.
Nowadays people from all walks of life are joining up to become a part of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. As the art has developed, so has the coaching ability and the understanding of how different people learn. This means that no matter who you are, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can become extremely effective for anyone. Whether you are an office worker, a child, a mum, a grandparent or a seasoned athlete, all of these people are starting to achieve tremendous skills in the art of BJJ. Even people that come into an academy overweight will lose kilos rapidly, as the strength, conditioning and functional fitness is extremely high during the process of learning and living Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
WHAT ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE SUBMISSIONS IN BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has an incredibly long list of submission moves to learn. There are countless variations of every submission available, as new submissions are developed on a regular basis. There are numerous submissions that are extremely complex and in some way or another may be only achievable to certain body types. Some moves require tremendous flexibility, while other submissions require a certain amount of strength. The best submissions that are available are the traditional and simple ones.
There are a few favourites that are commonly used like; The Armbar - this move requires a student to secure an opponent's arm and bend it backwards into a hyper extension position. The Kimura - this move is another armlock, but it requires a student to bend the arm around their back forcing a shoulder lock submission. The Rear Naked Choke - this move requires a student to take their opponents back before using their arm to strangle the neck. The Triangle - this move requires a student to wrap their legs around their opponents neck and arm into a triangle position and then squeeze the neck with their legs. The Head and Arm Choke - like the triangle, this move requires a student to strangle the neck and arm of an opponent using a triangle position, but this time with their own arms. The Guillotine Choke - this move is an old school favourite that requires a student to use their arm on their opponent in a front on headlock position as they squeeze into the neck.
To understand what the most effective submissions are to execute, you just have to look at the professionals and see what they are doing. It's all good to pull off some tricky gogoplata or buggy choke on a white belt, but will those moves consistently work on a higher level opponent? Probably not. The top three most effective submissions pulled off by black belts at the world championship level are; Rear Naked Chokes, Armbars and Triangles, and this is further proven by the same three submissions becoming the most common submissions in Mixed Martial Arts.
BJJ TRAINS FOR HIGHLY STRESSFUL SCENARIOS
Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a way of conditioning a practitioner, not just in the physical sense but the mental one. To become mentally strong isn't easy for everybody, as there are numerous reasons why a student may be mentally weakened. Training in BJJ gives students a sense of confidence, and that usually comes from the highly professional guidance they will receive from other academy members. Preparing to be mentally tough can be a myth, as it needs to be ingrained into a student.
In BJJ, students will battle test all the techniques they learn by rolling in a real situational sparring session. This kind of training is how they will develop their mental conditioning. In the middle of a roll a student can be put in highly stressful situations like; being stuck under a heavier opponent, struggling to breathe or being stuck in a deep submission. All of these scenarios may not sound pleasant, but you will be thankful to the sport if you ever find yourself in a violent situation on the street. At first it may be hard to breathe, you may even want to vomit, but after a period of time getting used to the rough and tumble of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it will give students an extremely thick skin. The benefits of this kind of mentally tough absorption are tremendous, and will give students real life confidence in defending themself or surviving through conflict.
THE IMPACT ON A STUDENTS HEALTH
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has an extremely strong impact on the health of all of its practitioners. There are proven health benefits that nobody can deny, you just have to look at the professional athletes in the sport as it shows just how fit they are. This may explain why is bjj so popular, because people in this day and age want to be fit, stay healthy and learn to defend themselves. The warmups alone in BJJ have an extreme functional fitness and elements of core strengthening and overall body conditioning. Throughout a lesson in BJJ, a student will gain significant attributes in mobility, dexterity, agility, flexibility, strength, fitness and mental fortitude. There have been many cases in BJJ, where a student comes in heavily overweight and within months they have lost significant amounts of weight. They will also have gained a large portion of their confidence and pride back for their life. BJJ is about long jeverdy, as it will give a student the tools to stay fit, healthy and strong for as long as they want to.
In conclusion learning the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a must for all civilians, as the impact of the Martial Art has brought confidence into many students lives. Kids and adults alike are showing tremendous abilities to deal with and de escalate violent or bullying situations.
The effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu movements are proving everyday to be exceptional, as people from all groups in life including law enforcement agencies are signing up to learn this very real and compelling grappling Martial Art.
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