Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art, combat sport system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was formed from Kodokan judo ground fighting fundamentals that were taught by a number of individuals including Takeo Yano, Mitsuyo Maeda and Soshihiro Satake. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu eventually came to be its own art through the experiments, practices, and adaptation of judo through Carlosand Helio Gracie (who passed their knowledge on to their extended family) as well as other instructors who were students of Maeda, such as Luiz Franca.
BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger, heavier assailant by using proper technique, leverage, and most notably, taking the fight to the ground, and then applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the opponent.
BJJ training can be used for sport grappling tournaments and in self-defense situations.
Sparring (commonly referred to as rolling) and live drilling play a major role in training, and a premium is placed on performance - especially in competition- in relation to progress and ascension through its ranking system.
Since its inception in 1882, its parent art of judo was separated from older systems of Japanese jujutsu by an important difference that was passed on to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: it is not solely a martial art, but it is also a sport; a method for promoting physical fitness and building character in young people; and, ultimately, a way of life (Do).
BJJ is most strongly differentiated from other martial arts by its greater emphasis on ground fighting. Commonly, striking-based styles spend almost no time on groundwork. Even other grappling martial arts tend to spend much more time on the standing phase.
It is helpful to contrast its rules with kodokan judo's greater emphasis on throws, due to both its radically different point-scoring system, and the absence of most of the judo rules that cause the competitors to have to recommence in a standing position. This has led to greater time dedicated to training on the ground similar to that of Kosen Judo, resulting in enhancement and new research of groundwork techniques by BJJ practitioners.
Along with BJJ's strengths on the ground comes its relative underemphasis of standing techniques, such as striking. To remedy this comparative lack, there is an emphasis on take-downs and cross-training between BJJ, wrestling, judo, and sambo, as well as striking based arts such as boxing, karate, taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Kickboxing.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner's uniform is similar to a judogi, but often with tighter cuffs on the pants and jacket. This allows the practitioner to benefit from a closer fit, providing less material for an opponent to manipulate, although there is a significant overlap in the standards that allows for a carefully selected gi to be legal for competition in both styles.
Traditionally, to be promoted in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the wearing of the jiu-jitsugi while training is a requirement. Recently with the growing popularity of "no gi" Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the practice of giving out belts to no gi practitioners (e.g., Rolles Gracie awarding Rashad Evans a black belt) has become more common. The term kimono is sometimes used to describe the outfit, especially in Brazil.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ranking system awards a practitioner different colored belts to signify increasing levels of technical knowledge and practical skill. While the system's structure shares its origins with the judo ranking system and the origins of all colored belts, it now contains many of its own unique aspects and themes. Some of these differences are relatively minor, such as the division between youth and adult belts and the stripe/degree system. Others are quite distinct and have become synonymous with the art, such as a marked informality in promotional criteria, including as a focus on a competitive demonstration of skill, and a conservative approach to promotion in general.
Traditionally, the concept of competitive skill demonstration as a quickened and earned route of promotion holds true. As a result, there can be long time periods between advancement.
Unlike in some martial arts such as judo and karate, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu commonly takes more than several years to earn, and the rank is generally considered expert level. The amount of time it takes to achieve the rank of black belt varies between the practitioner. Some notable individuals who had previous backgrounds in other martial arts have been promoted directly to black belt rank without going through any intermediate rank. Others have achieved the rank in relatively short timeframes. Outside of exceptions such as these, the average timeframe is around 10 years with a consistent training schedule.