There are many forms of martial arts. Some of the more widely known styles include karate, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon DO. Then there are different variations of styles within these styles. Karate for example, consists of variations like Shotokan, and Kenpo, just to name a few. These styles have been around for years. If you see a martial arts school in your neighborhood, chances are that it’s one of these styles. In the last decade however, a different art of combat, unlike any of the ones just mentioned, has taken the martial arts community by storm. This art is the discipline of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

This fighting style has been around just as long, but has not garnered much attention until the early 1990’s. Jiu-Jitsu rose to fame after a Brazilian man by the name of Royce Gracie entered, and won a full contact fighting tournament, known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). One by one, Gracie dispatched his opponents, despite nearly all his opponents being larger than he is.

Following Royce Gracie’s tournament victory in the UFC, martial arts enthusiasts began raising their eyebrows about what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all about. Unlike karate, and other mainstream martial arts that emphasizes completely on striking from a standing position, Jiu-Jitsu introduced a grappling aspect to hand to hand combat. This art made practitioners of striking based martial arts realize that their style of fighting was one dimensional, and incomplete.

Jiu-Jitsu utilizes techniques to take your opponent down to the floor, establishing a dominant position from the ground, and going for a submission hold. Submission techniques include chokes, armbars, and leg locks. Having a dominant ground position puts you in control of the situation, and minimizes your opponent’s ability to make any threatening moves. Submission moves like chokes cuts off blood supply to the brain, and thus renders your opponent unconscious. Maneuvers like armbars, and leg locks incapacitates an arm, or a leg.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu relies on technique, rather than strength, or muscle. This was what allowed Royce Gracie to defeat opponents much larger than him. All Jiu-jitsu techniques utilize leverage, momentum, and timing. It also exploits vulnerable body areas of your opponent, such as the neck, and joints.

These days, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no longer a mystery. Any serious competitor of combat sports knows that a basic knowledge of ground fighting is essential to be a well balance fighter. Those who learn Jiu-Jitsu purely for self-defense will have a valuable weapon at their disposal should they ever need to fend off an attacker. Above all else, learning a combat discipline like Jiu-Jitsu instills confidence, and makes you take notice of your own physical ability.

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