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IS JIU JITSU SAFE?
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IS JIU JITSU SAFE?

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most popular forms of combat sports across the globe today. The reach of this highly effective submission grappling art, has seen thousands of academies in all corners of the world showcase their proficiency within the sport. With the rise in the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts events like the UFC, Bellator, and One Championship, has given Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the platform to make a powerful impact on the Martial Arts community. Many other forms of Martial Arts have used the technical capabilities, and the tactical submission strategy to further develop their brand of combat sports.

What This Article Covers:

The art of BJJ is a highly proficient series of technical movements that starts with two combatants standing on their feet. Both combatants will utilise a series of grips, and positional footwork to engage their opponent, in an attempt to take the fight to the ground. Once the fight has hit the ground, both practitioners will scramble for a dominant position. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu consists of transitional elements like passing the guard, and sweeping an opponent in order to gain a control position like the mount, side control, guard, or back control. Once the practitioner has secured a control position they will accumulate points in a competition, in a bid to win the match. Most practitioners will ultimately look to finish their opponents with a submission like a choke hold or a joint lock. 

Tom DeBlass is one of the most successful Half Guard specialists in the world.  You can get his entire Half Guard Collection at BJJFanatics.com!

is brazilian jiu jitsu safe

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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF BJJ

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dates back to the 1900's after Helio Gracie first developed his combat fighting system. Helio struggled with many of the Judo maneuvers that his brother Carlos taught him, so he developed a system of grappling which helped the smaller and weaker person defeat a much larger and stronger opponent. Helio's art consisted mainly of modified takedowns, positional controls, and highly efficient submission maneuvers like various chokes, arm locks, and leg locks. Before Helio developed his form of combat, the inspiration came from Kodokan Judo, where the world-famous Japanese student Mitsuyo Maeda introduced the art to Brazil. In the early days, Helio's combative form was highly efficient, as his clan dominated the landscape in Brazil, defeating all challengers that came their way. 

This brutal form of combat incorporated jiu-jitsu striking in many of the renowned Vale Tudo events that took place in Brazil. For decades, as the feuds grew between Luta Livre and the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu clan, the escalation of violence between the camps intensified, as riots and fights broke out. There were many reports of weapons like knives and firearms used, which only derailed the art of Vale Tudo in Brazil, making this artform an extremely dangerous one to be involved in. As Gracie Jiu Jitsu evolved towards the end of the 20th century, the brutal self-defense artform became more entrenched with a sporting focus. The rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championship sparked a significant spike in popularity of the Brazilian grappling art. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu became Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as many sports-orientated competitions were spawned. Academies were now teaching a modified sports version of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, that still incorporated submission proficiency, but strayed away from self-defense tactics. The necessity to teach more positional control became a high focus, as the art became even safer to train for the common civilians.

IS BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU SAFE

Compared to many other Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the safest combat sports to practise. When new students join BJJ academies, they will soon learn how respectable Martial Art is. Training in BJJ is a humbling experience, as any egotistical people are exposed and weeded out of the sport. When you train in a combat sport that involves practitioners showing an extreme amount of duty of care, then prospective students can rest easy knowing they are in good hands. Even though Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has some significant dangers attached, there is a reason why Jiu Jitsu means gentle art. This combat form is one of the only sports in that a practitioner can calmly, and gently subdue an opponent. When a student finds themself in a deadly submission, all they have to do is tap the mat. Most students are extremely safe while they are training, especially higher level practitioners, as they have an extreme amount of experience and know when to let go of submissions, they will also have a considerable peripheral awareness, meaning they are always being careful of other training partners that surround them on the mats.

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HOW DO STUDENTS TRAIN SAFELY 

Training safely in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu comes down to a few aspects, as the first and foremost is to be humble. Students that show humility will begin to understand that BJJ is not an aggressive sport, instead, it is a graceful and gentle art. Students must come to training with a good attitude and be willing to listen, in order to learn a comprehensive artform like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Students will often ask does jiu-jitsu use weapons, and although some instructors may delve into weapons defense by using rubber knives, the art of BJJ does not use weapons in its curriculum. Students will learn how to safely practise BJJ by not overloading their bodies, as a common occurrence is seeing students become addicted to the sport, which can cause them to train too much and can lead to significant injuries. Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is like any hobby or professional sport, a student needs to have a good balance, in order to be successful. 

BJJ is an intricate system of positional controls, and high calibre transitions and submissions, so knowing your own limits is crucial to training in a safe manner. There will always be students in the gym that can do freakishly talented things, but it is vital for students not to compare themselves to anyone else in the gym, as everyone has a different journey through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There is no rush in Jiu Jitsu, which means students can take their time and make sure they are allowing the natural flow of BJJ to take place. Training safely means to make sure you tap early, so you can avoid injuries, this also means to be careful when executing submissions on training partners. Some practitioners will play catch and release, meaning once they secure a submission they will let go and transition to another aspect of the game, this is a good way to avoid injury and learn how the flow chains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu work.

IS IT SAFE TO COMPETE IN BJJ TOURNAMENTS 

Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments can be extremely scary for new students, as the level of competition is always intensified. At the white belt level, competitors will usually use too much strength, as it becomes a battle of attrition. As a student goes up through the belt ranking process, the levels in BJJ competition become more strategic. Competition BJJ is always a dangerous prospect, as it is fairly common for students to be on the receiving end of high-quality submissions that can be applied with aggression. Even though BJJ competitions are a daunting process, all competitions have extremely experienced black belts as referees. Having high-level practitioners as referees means they will almost always save competitors from injury, as they have the right to stop a fight if they see fit. Naturally, there will always be accidents, and injuries, as they are unavoidable in such a high-intensity form of combat sports. Practitioners should learn all the rule sets, and prepare for each competition, and they should be able to compete and get through the process unscathed.

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CAN KIDS TRAIN SAFELY IN BJJ

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become a great sport for children to train in, as academies will cater to most age groups. Most academies are made up of at least 50 percent children, and this is due to the highly professional instruction by black belt practitioners. Even though Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be a rough sport at times, the modified version for children makes it extremely safe for them to train. Most academies will disguise many of the BJJ concepts inside fun games for the kids, which will help the children become engaged in the learning principles. There are many safeguards in place for kids' BJJ, and this is a necessary component, because kids will be reckless at young ages, so they need constant supervision. Children also have different rule sets, so it is a lot safer for them even if they decide to compete in tournaments. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be extremely fun for children, as they will make long-lasting friendships, while they learn to defend themselves, and all in a safe and encouraging environment.

ARE SOME TECHNIQUES SAFER THAN OTHERS

There will always be techniques that have a higher degree of danger compared to others, it will become up to the individual as they progress through the belt rankings, to choose their pathway. There are many techniques that can be considered dangerous, as students will wonder are neck cranks legal in BJJ. Utilising neck cranks and other dangerous submissions like heel hooks, spinal cranks, and dangerous throws can add to the complexity of the Martial Art. After a student has become up to speed on the mechanics of basic Jiu Jitsu, they will become curious and ask can you slam in jiu-jitsu. Although Judo throws are legal, the slamming action is a banned technique.

There are many basic movements in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that are considered safe. Some of the safest maneuvers are executed from the closed guard, as this is a position where a practitioner is safe from an opponent applying significant amounts of pressure. Some students will wonder why are heel hooks legal in BJJ, as the dangers of giving your opponent your leg can be extremely risky. The safer option is to stick to submissions like armbar attacks, or traditional style chokeholds like the rear naked choke, the triangle, the guillotine, and various lapel chokes while wearing the Gi. It is also safer for practitioners to transition in a traditional manner, instead of inverting for berimbolo attacks, as unless a student has significant experience they can put a lot of pressure on their neck. There is a multitude of safe movements in BJJ, and as they are guided by their instructors and other high-level training partners, it is up to the individual to choose their own pathway.

WHY EVERYONE SHOULD TRAIN IN BJJ

Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a huge step for anyone, especially people that have weight issues, or any sort of mental health problems. Training in BJJ will significantly improve a student's physical fitness, as Martial Art incorporates regimented exercises that increase core strength, agility, flexibility, dexterity, and overall fitness. Many students will come into BJJ overweight, and literally after one month are starting to see comprehensive results. BJJ is an amazing sport for people with mental health issues, whether it's mental, physical abuse, or different forms of autism, BJJ academies are extremely accommodating, as they are all about building the community into a safer place for everyone. Suffering from different forms of mental health issues can be draining, as students will discover that coming to BJJ will energise and rejuvenate them considerably. The community in Jiu Jitsu is extremely supportive, and students will make amazing, and long-lasting friendships, which is what everybody needs in their life, human connection.

Tom DeBlass is one of the most successful Half Guard specialists in the world.  You can get his entire Half Guard Collection at BJJFanatics.com!

is jiu jitsu safe

One of the most important aspects of training in BJJ is the self-defense component. In this day and age, the world is surrounded by violence, which results in all sorts of people, including the vulnerable, being attacked on the streets. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was designed for smaller and weaker people to be able to defeat bigger and larger opponents, so the benefits of learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are exponential. BJJ has become one of the frontline self-defense combat arts across the globe, as the necessity of knowing how to defend yourself is real. Students will ask if is there punching in jiu-jitsu, and as the sporting aspect does not allow punching in its curriculum, punching is taught through the self-defense systems. Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a wealth of upside, as people from all walks of life will comprehensively benefit from this extremely technical, and popular Martial Art.

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