What is Jiu-Jitsu?
The best description of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that I have read comes from John Danaher who is a professor at Renzo Gracie’s academy in New York. Mr. Danaher is considered by many to be one of the most knowledgeable grappling instructors in the world.
“Brazilian jiu jitsu is a grappling-based martial art whose central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him to submit. Due to the fact that control is generally easier on the ground than in a standing position, much of the technique of Brazilian jiu jitsu is centered round the skill of taking an opponent down to the ground and wrestling for dominant control positions from where the opponent can be rendered harmless. To control and overcome greater size, strength and aggression with lesser size and strength is the keynote of the sport. This is done by utilizing superior leverage, grip and position upon your opponent. Students of the sport gain a deep understanding of the workings and limits of the human body. This knowledge can be used to subdue and control an opponent with whatever level of severity the student chooses. The path to this knowledge is physically and mentally demanding. Students benefit from greatly increased physical fitness, problem-solving ability, self-knowledge of their body and mind and the many social benefits of working within a large group of like-minded fellow students as you learn and have fun together.
Many students first learn about jiu jitsu through the great popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, where Brazilian jiu jitsu technique is very prominent. Indeed, the beginnings of the contemporary MMA competition were largely tied up with proving the combat-efficiency of Brazilian jiu jitsu . The practice of Brazilian jiu jitsu as a sport, however, is strongly separated from MMA. Daily classes do not feature kicking or punching. The focus is on safe grappling technique that can be done on a daily basis with no more fear of injury than any other contact sport.” – John Danaher