JIU JITSU BOW
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly respected, and traditional grappling art, which has origins that date back centuries. The formidable style of BJJ pits warriors against other warriors in a battle to the submission. The art has evolved exponentially from its former self defense bjj systems, into a rigorous, and competitive combat sport. Athletes will use high amounts of energy, and intelligence to strategise their way into various control positions, before transitioning into a range of different submission attempts like choke holds, and joint locks. The Brazilian art form has become extremely popular in these modern times, as televised events like the ADCC, and the IBJJF are gaining a significant cult following. The respect between grapplers when they meet in the middle of the mats is extremely high, as adversaries become allies, and competitors become friends. The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu symbolises the spirit of the warrior, as competitors bow to each other as a sign of the ultimate respect.
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The ancient Samurai believed the bow was a form of respect towards an opponent. Even when a Samurai would fight to the death, they would sing a poem of death toward their victim, as a sign of the ultimate respect in battle. This kind of respect is done with honour, and integrity, as it comes straight from the heart of an athlete. A bow is not just a simple bodily movement, it is something that derives from the essence of a kind hearted, and respectful warrior. An athlete that embodies a genuine respect for their opponent, will have an extremely heightened game style, as they are free to fight with valour, and freedom. An athlete that chooses to disrespect their opponent is most likely showcasing an egotistical nature, or has fears heading into their fight.
THE ORIGINS OF BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was created from the origins of Japanese Jiu Jitsu, from back in feudal Japan in the time of the great wars. The Samurai clan would use a form of Jiu Jitsu that incorporated striking, grappling, and weapons. As the wars rolled on, the Samurai began realising their striking was ineffective against armoured assailants. This forced a change in how the Samurai would sharpen their fighting skills, as they started developing joint locking throws, submission holds, and takedown pins, as a way to neutralise their attackers. As this evolved so did their need to wear lighter clothing, as to enhance their advantage over an armoured foe. This Martial Art was then passed down through the generations, in a bid to help many Japanese civilians stand up for themselves against many of their oppressors.
Centuries would pass, and eventually a Japanese educator in the nineteenth century by the name of Kano Jigoro would begin to develop his own versions of the age old traditional Martial Art. Kano took pieces of Chinese Karate, and Japanese Jiu Jitsu, and formed his own style, which would become Kodokan Judo. Kano passed his knowledge onto his prized pupil Mitsuyo Maeda, who began travelling the globe to spread the art. Mitsuyo would eventually settle in Brazil, in South America, where he began teaching his knowledge to a young Carlos Gracie, as a favour to his father, Gastao Sr. From here the art was passed down to his brothers George, Oswaldo, Gastao Jr, and Helio Gracie.
As the brothers began practising many of the Judo throws, the youngest of the brothers Helio struggled to execute many of the maneuvers against his older, and stronger brothers. This was where bjj progression began to play a huge part, as Helio developed many of the Judo techniques into a more detailed, and formidable system, which involved more transitional components, and more submission style grappling holds. The road map of Gracie Jiu Jitsu was beginning to become clear, as the Gracie clan began showcasing their Martial Art all over the streets of Brazil. The Gracie clan were challenging everyone, and were dominating the landscape, as they became the number one Martial Art in Brazil. Vale Tudo was heavily promoted throughout South America, and the early Mixed Martial Arts stylings were controlled by the Gracie clan. Rickson, Renzo, and Rolles Gracie were taking on notorious Luta Livre fighters, and as both of these clans battled for supremacy, the rising threat of violence became real. After many violent incidents, the Brazilian government banned the practice of Vale Tudo country wide, which spelt an end to a brutal legacy.
Helio and his sons became heavily focused on teaching Gracie Jiu Jitsu, as they eventually stepped onto American soil. They opened academies, where they began teaching their art to many American athletes. In the 1990's Rorion Gracie partnered with some other businessmen, as they created the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Gracie clan would use Royce Gracie to represent their art in the inaugural UFC event. Royce Gracie was the youngest of the next generation of Gracie fighters, and after his dominating performance on the MMA scene, he put Gracie Jiu Jitsu on a collision course with destiny. It wasn't until Rorion, and Rickson had a falling out, which led to many of the Gracie clan members branching out, and starting their own academies. Rorion was outraged, as he attempted to sue any of his family members that used the patented term Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Gracie clan members began changing the name of the art, as this was the birth of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RESPECT IN BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become one of the most respected forms of Martial Arts in the modern era. The once brutal self defense system has now evolved into a highly sustainable combat sport. Much like Judo, as it too broke away from its brutal element, and became more adapted to the sporting nature, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become much more tame, and all about its competitive sporting aspect. Even though many high level athletes still execute various submission holds, the art has become more of a points game, as athletes look to score points in bjj matches. This is not just because of its tameness, but due to the rising level of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skill, as two world class athletes will cancel each other's expertise out by stifling, and countering each other's movements. Watching these matches is still incredible, as the respect between the athletes is commendable. Becoming a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is extremely humbling, and is an honour bestowed upon the student. Athletes that reach these coveted levels are extremely respectful towards their opponents, their instructors, the mats, and the art itself. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has superseded its initial system of fighting, and is now all about its way of life. Students will learn the way of the warrior, which is all about respecting other members of their community, and becoming a better person.
BOWING IN JIU JITSU
Bowing is extremely important in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and is all about paying respect towards an instructor, a training partner, and an opponent. The bow is a sign of respect towards another student's level of knowledge, this is why students bow towards a black belt instructor. Attaining an extremely high rank in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is worthy of a traditional bow, as this only offers respect towards a worthy recipient. There are no brazilian jiu jitsu rules that say a student has to bow, but it is somewhat of an unspoken tradition. Bowing is symbolic of humility, as it shows a higher respect towards another student of BJJ. It is extremely important to be humble and integral, as these are the traits of a warrior, and the deeds of a respectable Martial Artist.
There is no room for egotistical students in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as an abrupt, and selfish student that just walks onto the competition mats without being invited, needs to get their ego checked. A traditional, and respectable student will always wait for the referee to invite them onto the mats, as they then proceed to bow toward the mat, and this is a sign of respect towards the art of BJJ. After bowing towards the mat, and the referee, both competitors will bow towards each other, and this is another sign of respect, as the two combatants are set to fight with honour, and integrity. Bowing towards an instructor is the most important bow of all, as this certifies the acknowledgement that the student is willing to learn all there is to know from their superior. The bond between a student, and the instructor is a sacred one, and will last a long time, as long as it is based on loyalty, respect, and honour.
Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments can be physically demanding on an athlete. To win a division, in most cases an athlete needs to defeat several opponents. This takes hard work, perseverance, endurance, and an intellect for strategy. All athletes must represent their academies with honour, and integrity, because this is the warriors code of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This is why athletes bow to each other before they fight, so they can give each other the courtesy of good sportsmanship. Even after the referee calls combach, which means start the fight, both athletes will use good sportsmanship by shaking hands, and bumping fists. This is an unspoken rule of bjj etiquette, as the integrity of an athlete is extremely important. Athletes that refuse to shake hands with their opponent are seen as unsportsmanlike, or dishonourable.
There are other moments inside of a competition match that require an athlete to show sportsmanship qualities. Quite often an athlete will get their toes stuck in the Gi, or they will suffer pressure to their groin region. A good sport will unhook their opponents toes, so there are no unnecessary injuries, in most cases a referee will do the same if they spot this. Releasing pressure off of an opponent's groin region is the honourable thing to do. Another problem that can arise is when a referee stops a fight in an attempt to recommence the fight in the middle of the mats. When this happens a referee will check first to see what position both competitors are in, and who has which grip. Some students may choose to take a more advantageous grip, which is a dishonest action to take. All students need to show honour, integrity, and consistency in their behaviour, because this is how the integrity of sport is protected.
WHY EVERYONE SHOULD TRAIN IN JIU JITSU
There are many reasons why a person should be training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This is a highly integral sport, where athletes learn more than just how to win in jiu jitsu, they learn humility. Training in a sport that teaches people to become better versions of themself, and pillars within their community, is a sport that sounds enticing. People crave connection, and what makes a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy amazing is the camaraderie, and the family atmosphere. Anyone who joins an academy will feel the spark, and instantly feel like a part of the family. This kind of place will help people who suffer from depression, anxiety, trauma, and many different types of illness. Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will give these people confidence in their day to day lives, confidence to stand up for themselves, and confidence to be who they want to be.
The physical benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are astronomical, as many overweight people have remarkable stories of losing extreme amounts of weight. BJJ can help to build core strength, as well as strength within all of a student's joints. Jiu Jitsu encompasses many different awkward positions, so the functionality with the strength and conditioning is substantial. Students will also improve their flexibility, and their mobility, giving them a greater chance of avoiding injury, staying healthier, and becoming more limber heading into their later years. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is like a rubik's cube, it has many problems that need to be solved, as the intellectual benefits that students will receive is first class. Learning BJJ will challenge a student, and this will make the sport fun to learn, at the same time keeping them fit, and healthy.
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