What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a type of martial art that combines aspects of combat and self defense. Originally derived from judo, a type of Japanese martial art, this kind of self defense teaches its followers that they have the power to beat stronger and larger opponents. With the use of proper technique and leverage maneuvers, even the smallest and weakest of folks can take down a larger opponent. Jiu Jitsu uses moves such as joint locks and chokeholds that allow smaller people to take a position of power over their component. What most people enjoy about jiu jitsu is that it is so much more than fighting. While it comes from martial art roots, jiu jitsu is also used to promote physical fitness as well as building character amongst young generations.
Working on the idea that grappling can overcome physical strength, jiu jitsu uses ground fighting and submission holds. While larger opponents have longer reaches and more strength, both of these become useless once the grappling techniques are used. Although physical strength gives most people an advantage, having significantly knowledge of body mechanics and knowing how to utilize them will allow you to take down even large opponents. This is why jiu jitsu is such a popular self defense technique.
Since jiu jitsu promotes ground fighting, often competitors use pull guard techniques to bring their opponent down to the mat. Once on the ground, maneuvers and counter-maneuvers are utilized to get the opposing player into a position of submission. Winning positions are referred to as dominant positions. Once in the dominant position, this player has won the jiu jitsu match.
Due to the focus jiu jitsu that allows smaller, weaker opponents to bring down larger competitors, jiu jitsu is commonly taught in self defense classes. These techniques are especially helpful to women, who can utilize these skills if they ever get into an altercation with a larger male. Jiu jitsu has also found its way into popular media. Mixed martial arts, or MMA as it is commonly called, has gained much popularity. Fights are often broadcast for millions of viewers to see. In addition, fighters such as Tito Ortiz, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva have become household names since mixed martial arts have become so common.
As a person progresses and learns more technical knowledge and skill, they are rewarded with belts. Each belt is a different colour and symbolizes ones jiu jitsu ranking. When entering, one begins with a white belt and moves up and eventually will receive a black belt. On average, it takes one about eight to ten years to reach the rank of black belt so long as they stick to a dedicated training regime. Jiu jitsu is an accomplished sport with much to offer those who partake in it.
Choosing a Jiu Jitsu Gi
Having a jiu jitsu gi (sometimes called a kimono in BJJ) is an essential part of practicing this mixed martial art. While most people take their clothing choice for granted, a gi can greatly improve your skill. When you are wearing a gi, you will find grappling much easier as you increase your ability to defend against submission. Your hand placement as well as your grip will greatly improve as you are able to move freely and comfortably in a Jiu-Jitsu Gi .
Types of gis are categorized by the kind of fabric weave they have. It is important to know that the weave most commonly refers to only the jacket, not the pants. Often, however, a good quality gi jacket will be paired with a well made pair of pants. For a very basic jiu jitsu gi, you should opt for a single weave. These are usually the least expensive. While they may save you money, you will not gain many benefits from them. They are often quite lightweight which makes them cool to work out in. However, they are not nearly as durable. They are also quite light which makes them easier for your opponent to pull you down with. For a beginner who is just learning a single weave will be just fine. Those with more experience may want to opt for something else.
Another type of jiu jitsu gi is the double weave. These are often more pricey than their single weave counterparts because they are much heavier. Most jiu jitsu practitioners avoid wearing a double weave jiu jitsu weave because their heaviness makes them very thick. Consequently, they are also quite uncomfortable to wear. They are, however, much more preferred during a competition because their weight makes it difficult for an opponent to latch onto.
BJJ JiuJitsu Double Weave Gi
The most preferred kind of jiu jitsu gi is the gold weave, as it is the perfect mix of both the single and double weave gis. While they offer the durability of the double weave, they also offer the lightness of the single weave. Though they are lightweight, the material is still thick so that your opponent cannot easily grab onto you. This is why so many people prefer the Gold Weave JiuJitsu Jutsu Uniform Kimono.
There are a number of other weaves available as well, however, the double, single and gold weave options are by far the most common. When getting a jiu jitsu gi, it is a good idea to have at least two or three. How many you need depends on the number of days you will be training. There are also many colors available, however, if you plan on competing you should have some that are white and blue. White and blue are the traditional colors and are the only ones usually allowed in competition. Having at least one white and blue jiu jitsu gi is essential.
Finding A School
It is important to find the right school; this will determine the rest of your Jiu-jitsu ‘career’. Once you have searched locally through the Internet and yellow pages, you must decide which school is right for you. Your first concern should be the legitimacy and experience of the school’s instructor. You should be looking for a school with a certified Black Belt instructor on hand who teaches regular classes and has done so for some time. The practice of people teaching at lower ranks was a necessity in the 1990’s due to a high demand and so few Black Belts living in this country to teach the art, but at this point in time, most areas of the U.S. have Black Belt instructors within a reasonable distance. Another important thing about learning from a Black Belt as opposed to lower ranking people aside from the obvious issue of experience and ability to give rank when deserved is that you want to be your teacher’s student, not his training partner. People under the rank of black belt are still working on personal goals and may be a better training partner than teacher. For those of you who are still in areas without a Black Belt instructor nearby, check out our eTraining Program as a great learning tool, especially if you have training partners to work with.
Make sure the school has good mats and good people. No egos or bad attitudes; the students are a reflection of the teacher. If you feel like the students are going too hard on you, they probably are and you shouldn’t go back. People more experienced than you ‘beat’ you at some point; after doing so they should show you how they did it so that you can learn and progress. Remember that you are there to learn, not get hurt; it would be ironic to get hurt trying to learn Self Defense.
Do I have to compete?
No. Competition is not for everyone. In fact, the term “Sport Martial Arts” is a sort of oxymoron. Competition is an excellent way to promote a particular martial art and help it to gain popularity with the public. Additionally, sportive martial arts allows a practitioner a way to balance realistic practice with safe everyday training. This sportive practice can be done in the school or in public at large competitions. Although sportive practice has many benefits, they are sometimes overshadowed by ego and a typical sports-fan type behavior that is contrary to a good Martial Artist’s conduct; newbies can often be confused by this or turned in the wrong direction quickly.
Know why you want to train …
It is important that you know why you want to train in the martial arts before starting; if your goal is self-defense or personal protection of some kind, then there might not be any need for you to compete. Some people enter the martial arts looking for a challenge or have a very competitive nature; in this case, searching for a school that focuses on competition might be for you.
Regardless of what you do, it is important to understand that the greatest thing about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is the fact that it has so many outlets for everyone.
Remember that sport is one way to practice the martial art we call Jiu-jitsu; it shouldn’t represent the art as a whole.