Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an adaptation of Judo which was often referred to as “Kano Jiu-Jitsu” and is based on taking an opponent to the ground, finding a dominant position, and forcing the opponent into submission.  Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has gained widespread popularity and is widely used in Mixed Martial Arts when contests are taken to the ground.


Pliable Technique
Carlos Gracie, George Gracie, Hélio Gracie
Country of Origin
Primary Focus
Joint-locks, Takedowns
Sport, Self-defence


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Brief History

Mitsuyo Maeda, a travelling Judoka who was tasked with spreading Judo internationally, taught Carlos Gracie traditional Kodokan Judo.  Carlos, thereafter, disseminated the Martial Art to his brothers Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., George, and Hélio Gracie.  It is widely acknowledged that Hélio Gracie began adapting the Martial Art to focus on ground fighting techniques instead of throws as he was better suited to these methods due to his smaller stature. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu had also received important contributions from Oswaldo Fadda who was famous for successfully forcing opponents into submission through foot-locks.



  • Ground Fighting
  • Submissions
  • Sparring
  • Live drilling
  • Controls from different angles and positions



The Martial Art in Practice

Ground Fighting – This is the primary focus of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  The opponent is quickly taken to the ground with the aim of applying a lock or hold to subdue and force the opponent into submission.

Many types of ground fighting positions are employed:

  • Side control – involves pinning an opponent to the ground from the side of the opponent’s torso. This is achieved by applying weight over the opponent’s chest, shoulders and hips as the practitioners applies pressure from the side using elbows, shoulders, and knees.
  • Knee on abdomen – this is a more dominant side pin which involves pinning the opponent’s torso from the side by placing the entire shin over the opponent’s torso. This provides the practitioner with a greater striking range than the side control position.
  • Full mount – the practitioner sits directly on top of the opponent’s torso as the opponent is pinned with the full body weight and hips of the practitioner. The practitioner aims to be as high-up the torso as possible to limit the amount of arm movement from the opponent so that full control can be gained.
  • Back mount – control of the opponent is gained by attacking the back of the opponent. This is achieved by wrapping one’s legs around the opponent’s thighs or hips and placing one's arms around the opponent’s chest or neck.
  • North south – a ground fighting position where the practitioner is lying on top of the opponent across the opponent’s chest and controlling the opponent’s arms. The defining characteristic of this position is that the practitioner’s head is facing the opponent’s legs and the practitioner can draw the hips down creating a dead weight to keep the opponent pinned.
  • Defensive Guard – in this position, the practitioner is on their back with the opponent attacking from the top. The practitioner’s aim is to limit the opponent’s movements by controlling the opponent with the legs.
    The Defensive guard includes 3 common types of guards: Closed Guard, Half Guard and Open Guard.

Submissions – this involves placing the opponent into a precarious situation where a joint is hyper-extended under tension or where opponent’s blood circulation is cut-off.  This is generally done by taking control of a limb and creating a lever with the body so that pressure can be applied to the joint or muscle past its range of motion.  Submissions thus fall into 3 broad areas known as compression locks, joint locks or chokes.

  • Compression locks – involves compressing the muscle against a large bone resulting in excruciating pain for the opponent.
  • Joint locks – involves moving a joint in the opposite direction to its normal range of motion
  • Chokes – involves creating an obstruction to the circulation of blood to the opponent’s brain thus rendering the opponent unconscious.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


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