Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a ground fighting art made famous by the Gracie family from Brazil – becoming infamous through the inception of the Ultimate Fighting Championships when Royce Gracie overcame much larger and stronger opponents with his submission acumen. BJJ involves grappling to overcome an opponent and forcing submission via joint locks, chokes and strangles.
Takedowns and throws are taught along with positional dominance, movement and escape work and submissions. It emphasises superior technique and leverage over size and strength to subdue a foe.
BJJ is a complete and popular art on its own but often MMA students train BJJ as a part of their overall training programme. There is sport BJJ, but many people also choose to learn for self defence purposes. Practitioners wear a kimono (gi), as is traditional with the art, but there are also no-gi variants. There is a belt grading system in BJJ and the belts start at white belt and move on to blue, purple, brown and black; there are no formal gradings in BJJ, you get your belt when your instructor thinks you are ready and that you are capably holding your own when rolling with the higher grades, as well as possessing the technical knowledge at each belt .
A typical class involves a warm up using BJJ specific drills and movements, before covering techniques and ending with ‘specifics’, where certain positions and transitions are broken down and drilled, for example, side control to mount, where one guy starts in side control and has to gain the mount position, with the guy underneath having to defend the attack. Class ends with free training or ‘rolling’, where students attempt to put into practice what they have learned in the early part of the class and from previous classes and attempt to ‘tap out’ their opponent.
Competition is available for those interested but not compulsory, however it is actively encouraged at the club, as there are many benefits to be gained from competing; BJJ is very popular with everyone, male and female, young and old, from the grappling enthusiast to the MMA fighter.
Below is a video from a BJJ competition, which should give you some idea of what the sport aspect of the martial art looks like in action, a clip of Roy Harris black belt Roy Dean in action.