Updated: Apr 20
BJJ has taken the world by storm, and this is no coincidence because this fighting style was made famous by the Gracies in the UFC in the 1990s
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting techniques to control an opponent so that one can apply a submission hold on them.
In BJJ, we are essentially wrestling on the ground, where most fights end up on. Instead of striking the opponent like in Muay Thai or Taekwondo, BJJ focuses on controlling the opponent and submitting them by using chokes or joint locks.
A submission hold is either a choke so that the opponent will go to sleep or a joint lock, in which a joint (i.e. arm or leg) can be broken if the hold is applied fully.
Example of choke and joint lock.
BJJ is also known as the gentle art, because you can defeat an opponent without hurting them unlike striking martial arts. On the other hand, Judo and wrestling have large amplitude throws which if done on concrete can do a lot of damage. BJJ on the other hand allows one to control an opponent and immobilize them with a joint lock or even choking them to sleep, which will cause them no harm but will neutralize the threat.
Here's a quick history lesson! In the 1920's, BJJ was started and developed with the Gracies in Brazil who adapted what they learnt from Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese Jiujitsu practitioner. Like a lot of martial arts, BJJ traces its lineage of instructors and school.
The Gracie family and others have popularized the martial art through their success in MMA in the first UFC tournaments beating every other style of martial arts. The martial art and sport have continued to grow since then spreading worldwide.
Now, there are two main kinds of BJJ that you can practice.
Gi or no gi, that is the question...
Example of gi and no gi in competition.
The gi is more traditional and it allows you more control of your opponent with grips to the sleeves, lapel etc. Hence, your defense has to be better than in no gi. In no gi, you will have less control as the grips are less robust, so your offense has to be better.
In general, no gi is a faster game and involves more leglock submissions holds while gi does have more chokes available as well as other control techniques due to the use of gripping the collar, lapel, sleeve and pants of the gi.
So to answer the question... BOTH! Learning both BJJ in gi and no gi will bring a plethora of benefits in terms of skills and discipline.
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