If you’re reading this you have at least one friend who trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or some type of grappling. The chances are you have no idea what this person does and why this persons life seems to be overtaken by this hobby. Most likely their Facebook page is splattered with Jiu Jitsu pictures, links or videos with a plethora of martial arts content.
As tough as BJJ is to master, sometimes it’s tougher to explain exactly what it is to someone who has never trained.
A Lay mans guide to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
To give you an idea of what BJJ is, here is an imaginary conversation with a typical person who never trained(You).
You: I see from your Facebook you do Karate, that’s cool.
BJJ GUY: Oh, no I do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s not karate at all, it’s more like Judo, there’s no striking in BJJ.
You: I thought karate was Judo? No strikes? How can a martial art have no strikes?
BJJ GUY: A martial art can have no strikes, it can use grappling.
You: Oh, right. So are you a black belt?
BJJ GUY: No, I’m not black belt, I’m a blue belt.
You: You know, my nephew is 14 and has a blackbelt in Karate.
BJJ GUY: That’s great about your nephew he must be great. It takes about ten years to get a black belt in BJJ, I’m only training three years. , maybe if you think of BJJ like wrestling? It’s like wrestling but the goal is to make your opponent quit by using submission locks and holds.
You: Wait… WRESTLING? Like the WWF? I used to love the Macho Man but that shits fake yo!
BJJ GUY: No, not professional wrestling, amateur wrestling. The idea in Jiu Jitsu is to take your opponent to ground using Wrestling or Judo techniques and make them give up by forcing them to “tap out” using grappling techniques.
You: So it is a martial art, that means you must dress up in uniforms and are very strict like the army, you have to bow and all that stuff?
BJJ GUY: Yes, sometimes we use a uniform (kimono or gi), but we also train in regular gear like shorts and tshirt. BJJ is not like other martial arts, it’s not strict at all. The classes are structured but usually with a very laid back atmosphere. Although the training is informal it can be very tough and intense. Instead of bowing we usually just slap hands and fist bump!
You: Oh I get it, it’s that UFC stuff? Cage fighting?
BJJ GUY: No, no. There’s no striking remember? Grappling and Jiu Jitsu are huge parts of MMA but most BJJ schools have nothing to do with MMA. The best analogy would be to think of soccer or football. Running is a huge part of soccer, everyone must be able to run to play soccer, but running can be completely separated from soccer. You can be a runner without soccer but you can’t be a soccer player without being able to run. Soccer is to MMA as running is to grappling, you can learn grappling without MMA but you can’t fight MMA without grappling.
You: Ok so there’s no striking, bowing, or strictness, but why is it that anyone who does it loves it so much?
BJJ GUY: It’s a great exercise, stress reliever and sport (if you like to compete) but besides all that it’s great fun. Maybe the secret is you get to be a kid again and wrestle and play fight with your buddies.
You: I’m confused!
The bottom line is you need to give Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a shot.
It really will change your life.