Founded by the Gracie family, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (or BJJ for short) is a martial art and combat sport that teaches its students how to defend themselves by using leverage and technique. The Gracies modified judo and traditional Japanese jujutsu to create an art that includes stand-up technique, but its main focus is training once the fight goes to the ground. Once there, the BJJ fighter has the advantage using numerous chokes, holds, locks and joint manipulations to subdue their opponent.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is typically trained in a “gi”, similar to the traditional uniform used in Japanese martial arts. The techniques of BJJ can also be trained without a gi (called no gi or submission grappling). There is a belting system like many other martial arts. Advancing to black belt typically takes many years (10 or more) of continued training before you reach what is considered a black belt level of understanding the art. What sets BJJ apart from other martial arts is the ability to spar (or roll) at full speed without significant risk to harm your opponent. If you are caught in a submission, you “tap out” before serious harm can be done. This is a way to work on technique in able to see what does and does not work for you at a realistic speed. This allows you to hone your skills and make sure that the techniques work when you need them the most.