Brazilian jiu jitsu is a combination of several styles of Asian martial arts that was developed in the country of the same name. It was designed to be an effective form of self-defense that has some cultural elements from Brazil integrated into the maneuvers. It has grown in popularity over the last century and is now an officially recognized martial art. Students of the technique start as white belts and eventually move up to black belts and finally red belts. There are several distinct elements involved in this style of fighting.
One of the main concepts in Brazilian jiu jitsu is leverage. Leverage means that an individual will use specific techniques, the weight of the body and the weakness of the opponent in order to gain an advantage during a match. Properly using this concept means that the size, strength and weight of an opponent is largely irrelevant. Leverage is achieved in a number of ways including finding methods to knock an opponent off-balance and using fighting stances to retain control when holding an opponent.
The most definitive part of the technique is ground fighting. This means fighting from a position where all or most of the body is on the ground. Ground fighting can be incredibly effective. There are moves that will deal with standing opponents as well as opponents who have been taken to the ground. Ground fighting often uses the feet and legs to strike opponents in areas that cannot be defended. It is also an effective way to target the legs to draw opponents to the floor.
An important position that every student of Brazilian jiu jitsu learns is known as the guard position. This position involves wrapping both legs around the waist or torso of an opponent. The fighter can be located in front of or behind the opponent. The position is executed from a ground fighting position. Guard position is very effective because it constantly keeps the opponent off-balance and often neutralizes common attacks such as punches and kicks. The person performing the guard position can use the arms and the weight of the body in order to move an opponent around, draw the opponent to the ground or to attack.
Submissions are special holds that are used to subdue an opponent or to end a fight. The idea of a submission is to achieve a solid hold on the opponent in a way that will restrict breathing or the flow of blood to the brain. Submissions are usually launched from a ground fighting or grappling position although there are exceptions. Some submissions are designed to cause large amounts of pain by compressing sensitive muscles.
There are many official Brazilian jiu jitsu competitions held all around the world. Many of the moves, positions and techniques that are part of the fighting style are against the rules of more formal mixed martial arts competitions. This is one reason why competitors must take part in separate competitions. Another option for competitors is to use a modified form of the fighting style that excludes the maneuvers that are considered to be against the rules.
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Josh Torrance is A Toronto based blogger who enjoys writing about BJJ, Muay Thai and all other MMA disciplines.