What you need to know about training Brazilian Jiu-JItsu

Frequently Ask Questions

Self-defense is an important skill and with the combined popularity of combat sports like MMA, many people are turning to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as their ‘weapon of choice’. But what is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is it suited to you? Let’s discuss.

Jiu-Jitsu (sometimes spelled Jujutsu or Ju-Jitsu) is an umbrella term for a group of martial arts and close combat styles. Practitioners usually are unarmed and it is used for both defensive and offensive purposes with the end goal being to subdue an opponent.

Jiu-Jitsu originated in Japan (although some say India) as far back as the 7th Century according to many historians. Buddhist monks were believed to have invented it as a form of self-defense without weaponry. Taking some inspiration from other already existing martial arts and sumo wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu went on to inspire other martial arts and combat sports including judo and mixed-martial arts (MMA).

The traditional Japanese form inspired Brazilian and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

As mentioned the main point of Jiu-Jitsu is that it is a martial art, designed for close combat. Where Jiu-Jitsu differs slightly from other forms of martial arts is that those who practice it tend to yield to or manipulate the force of their opponent’s attack. They won’t try to use their force against an opponent’s force. By destabilizing the opponent, it then becomes difficult for the opponent to handle a subsequent counterattack.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tends to be more focused on grappling and wrestling, while Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is more comprehensive.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a progression of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. A Brazilian named Carlos Gracie saw what the Japanese were doing in the early 1900’sand was particularly fascinated by the ground fighting aspect of judo and Jiu-Jitsu.

So while Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is often taught in a very traditional manner and setting with a key focus on discipline and overall combat, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is largely a sport with its key focus on grappling and forcing submission.

In short, yes it is very good. Jiu-Jitsu, if someone is experienced with it, can be extremely effective for self-defense. Some would argue that experts in Jiu-Jitsu are essentially deadly weapons themselves. Because Jiu-Jitsu teaching rarely involves weapons, it’s even more effective. Often street fighting devolves into ground fighting, and as previously mentioned this is large component of Jiu-Jitsu, especially BJJ.

What does BJJ mean?

BJJ is the abbreviation for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is an extremely popular adaptation of the traditional Japanese form, especially around the MMA fight circuit.


As with any form of physical exertion, exercise or participation in sports, there is of course the potential for injury. Jiu-jitsu though is considered one of the safest martial arts to learn and participate in. Joint injuries tend to be the most common injuries in jiu-jitsu, but impact injuries and head trauma are very rare.

Learning self-defense at any age is a good thing! And there is of course no gender bias either. Children as young as 4 can start learning Jiu-Jitsu, and because this martial art is specifically designed for smaller and weaker people to subdue larger and stronger opponents, no age is too old for jiujitsu.

No, you don’t need to be in shape to know or start jiu-jitsu. After lessons you will definitely start to get into shape though! Obviously being in shape will help your endurance and strength, but it isn’t required.

You might remember it being mentioned that Carlos Gracie created Brazilian jiu-jitsu after being in awe of the ground fighting and grappling part of Japanese jiu-jitsu. Along with his brothers, Gracie developed an interpretation of jiu-jitsu to make it more accessible and popular.

Renzo Gracie Henderson

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Henderson, Nevada

Renzo Gracie Henderson 1481 W Warm Springs Road #145 Henderson, NV 89014​