What is Jiu-Jitsu/BJJ/Grappling/Wrestling?
All these styles fall under the banner of Grappling martial arts. They each have their respective nuances, but over all it is fighting but without striking. So this includes clinching, takedowns, ground fighting and submissions. Even though we practice all of the above, for the remainder of this article, the style will be referred to as Jiu-Jitsu.
Doesn’t ignoring striking, such an important part of fighting, make all this useless in a street fight?
One of the unfortunate relationships that has grown around martial arts in general is how it is associated with “self defence”. We do not market what we do as a form of self defence. What we do is a sport, with parameters and a set of rules. It is a game played between 2 people, with a defined method of winning.
What’s the point of doing Jiu-Jitsu then if I don’t get any self defence benefit out of it? What if I end up in a real fight?
Despite how it is made to sound by other “self defence” orientated martial arts, you aren’t in a constant state of danger. In fact, we live in an unparalleled time of low violence, and needing to feel constantly prepared for the worst is unnecessary. Common sense is the most useful method of self defence.
But should you end up in a violent confrontation, then athleticism, agility, strength, endurance, techniques frequently used against a fully resisting opponent, and being able to cope with the “adrenaline dump” of an actual fight, would be up there as invaluable tools in survival. All of these are side effects from training in Jiu-Jitsu.
Won’t I get the same from doing other Martial Arts?
If those arts do not regularly spar against fully resisting opponents, especially with an air of competition, then there is no real assurance that should they be called upon that they will actually work.
But what if they can’t practice their techniques properly because they are too deadly?
I do not need to teach you to kick someone in the groin, poke them in the eyes, or clatter them in the ears. That should be pretty obvious stuff to most people, and definitely not require shelling out cash to learn. Jiu-Jitsu contains many techniques designed to maim, disfigure, knock out or kill an opponent. The reason those things do not happen though is a respect for your opponent, and an understanding that what we do is a game.
Isn’t all that grappling a bit too close for comfort, and weird?
I think the most important thing here is context. Outside of training, grabbing another person by the thigh is very weird and intrusive. In training, it is in the context of the sport and completely ignored. Just like how in boxing, punching someone in the face whilst in a bar could be considered confrontational and unfriendly, whilst in the ring it’s just sparring between 2 consenting adults, and quite fun actually.
Are there belts/grades?
There are belts, grades and experience brackets in Jiu-Jitsu, but not in a traditional sense. Instead of costly formal examinations and testing, grade is recognised in numerous factors, not just technical. Belts are awarded by the instructor when they feel your training has reached the required level.
So why should I try out Jiu-Jitsu?
Jiu-Jitsu is a sport between 2 people, vying for a dominant position till they can secure a hold that would force their opponent to yield. It teaches respect and trust that the person you are training against will stop when you ask them, and do you no harm. In the same vein, it teaches you control, both physically and emotionally, to look after your opponent.
It promotes overall health and fitness, and not just in one aspect. Jiu-Jitsu increases strength, stamina, endurance, agility and flexibility, in an environment where you will barely notice that those things are actually happening.
Jiu-Jitsu also encourages a fantastic social environment. Despite the “individual” nature of sparring and competition, it’s the team behind you that will get you to your goals. And with that, the feeling of family is unprecedented, not just in the club, but amongst all practitioners around the world.
Finally, it is an immensely fun game. Jiu-Jitsu is often likened to “human chess”. There are multiple ways to victory, with counters to positions and holds, and counters to those counters and so on and so forth. There is also an enormous wealth of knowledge in the big wide world that can be researched and implemented into your own personal style. It isn’t about just learning a set “syllabus” of techniques, but taking what you like, ignoring the rest, and creating your own personal game that constantly evolves.
If any of the above has peaked your interest, and you wish to try out a class, please visit us, we would love to see you on the mats.