The Benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Kids


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ is a martial art, a combat sport and a self-defense system. The main focus is on a technique called grappling and ground fighting. Its guiding principle gives an idea that even a much weaker person can defend themselves, by using proper maneuvers in case of an assault.

This system was developed in Brazil in the 1920s when a Judo master Mitsuyo Maeda taught Carlos Gracie, the son of an influential businessman, this technique. The Gracie family spread their skill in the United States after establishing an academy in California. The sport gained international popularity after several martial arts tournaments held in the 1990s; when Royce Gracie fought and won four times against physically larger rivals. These Ultimate Fighting Championships proved that even a much smaller opponent could protect themselves when needed and many thought this would be of great benefit for young people.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be developed for self-defense, sport grappling tours and mixed martial arts. Sparring with the opponent plays an important role in training. The rules are very complex and different tournaments may vary in rules, but the main idea is to earn points by advancing or improving your position. The fight is won instantly if the opponent gives up by tapping in cases of choking or joint lock pressure. This sport is sometimes referred to as a form of ‘human chess’ due to its complexity and the philosophy of ‘Brain over Brawn’.

BJJ is suitable for both sexes and all ages, from small children to senior citizens. The principle of applying techniques instead of raw power turns the opponent’s attack energy to your own benefit. The person learns to control a dangerous situation without hurting someone or getting hurt.

The aforementioned facts contribute to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu being a great sport for kids. It involves no kicks. However, it does provide youth with discipline as the training can be tough and the sport requires dedication, regularity and repetition until perfected. When taught and applied properly, it’s a wonderful skill, fun to learn and it helps with muscle and fitness growth. Today’s lifestyle includes spending way too much time sitting, and at early age human bodies adapt to certain limited and unnatural movements. BJJ teaches children how to become aware of their body as a whole and treat it that way. After reaching this point, they will soon improve their strength, mobility, coordination and balance. In the long run, the training of martial arts will benefit their health.

There is a positive psychological aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as it instills young people work ethics and social skills. They learn not to give up or become negative even when things get too frustrating, they adopt a positive general attitude, they listen to instructions, work in a team and respect their teachers, parents and other players. And also practicing any martial art is a great way of making new friends, which is very important in early stages of life.

Conclusively, one of BJJ’s greatest benefits lies in the fact that it can be put to good use, should a young person need to defend themselves. This is especially true with the increasing cases of bullying in many areas. Kids learn to defend themselves without the use of violence and the adopted methods make them feel safe and more confident in everyday life.

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What’s In a Name? Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Other Common


Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, BJJ. Same thing… Well, kind of. Gracie Jiu Jitsu is the name made famous by the legendary Gracie family from Brazil. Several generations of the Gracie family have spent the better part of their lives practicing and refining the art we now know as Gracie or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu was the term that Rorion Gracie began to use to describe the Gracie family’s style of martial art, complete with their own adaptations and modifications from the original Japanese art that Carlos Gracie first learned from Mitsuyo Maeda. Mitsuyo Maeda was a visiting Japanese diplomat who immigrated to Brazil and taught Jiu Jitsu to Carlos Gracie in appreciation of Carlos’s father Gastao helping him to get established. The Gracie family promoted and looked to distinguish their style from other styles of Jujutsu originating in Japan. Gracie Jiu Jitsu became known to the world after Royce Gracie fought in and won the first few Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) with a grappling and ground fighting based submission art that he used to take down and submit all his opponents with and win the tournaments.

The Gracie family and more specifically Helio Gracie’s side of the family taught their art that relied on safely entering into a clinch with the opponent, taking them down to the ground, neutralizing their strength, power and aggressiveness and finishing the fight with a submission. It also heavily incorporated a series of techniques designed to protect an individual from assault and common street attacks such as head locks, bear hugs, knife/gun attacks and various grabs etc. It was designed as a complete system of self defence equally effective for men, women and children regardless of size, strength or stature due to the superior leverage utilised in its techniques.

As Gracie Jiu Jitsu began to spread in the US there was some controversy over the use of the name by others outside Helio Gracie’s side of the family and even within the Gracie family itself. And thus the name began to morph into a series of hybrid names and variations that we now commonly hear.

Many family members taught using their name to identify their style such as “Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu”. A style synonymous with mixed martial arts warriors and went on to produce many of the top mixed martial arts and sports fighters of the day! Carlson Gracie was another pioneer and one of the first members of the family to really open up and teach the complete fighting system for mixed martial arts or “Vale Tudo” as it was called back then. Vale Tudo is a Portuguese term meaning anything goes and was used to describe the style of fighting later branded as mixed martial arts. Carlson also really helped push the sports competition scene to a whole other level and produced numerous champions inthat area as well.

Others notables such as “Machado Jiu Jitsu” became popular too, the Machado family were cousins of the Gracie family and spent their youth growing up with and training alongside the family.

Soon people started referring to the art as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu still differentiating themselves from traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu. BJJ for short represented the art learned from the Gracie family but taught by students without the famous sir name. Today BJJ schools vary in teaching style and focus but I think it is fair to say that the vast majority of them focus on teaching the sportive competition style for everyone even though they may sill incorporate some self-defense and mixed martial arts techniques into their curriculum.

The word Jiu Jitsu is now used pretty much interchangeably with BJJ although only with that form of spelling! Traditionally and more grammatically correct the Jiu Jitsu should be spelt “Jujutsu” or even “Jujitsu”. These are just variations in translation of the word Jiu Jitsu. Generally if you see the spelling Jujutsu or Jujitsu you would most likely find a school teaching the Japanese version of the art focusing more on weapons, weapon defense and standing throws and submissions. From time to time you may even see the term American Jiu Jitsu which generally indicated a fast paced, aggressive and often no gi style derived from a blend of BJJ and Wrestling.

The other phrase you see is Judo which is what most people associate with Kodokan Judo.Kodokan Judo is the sport you see in the Olympic games where the aim is to cleanly throw your opponent onto his back for the win. Judo is the modern name for a blend of traditional Jujutsu styles with most a lot of the dangerous techniques having been removed for safety and so that everyone could practice Judo regardless of sex or athletic ability. Judo has morphed into a completely separate art in and of itself with a long rich history. However there still are some older styles of Judo in existence which striking similarity to BJJ such as Kosen Judo which has obviously heavily influenced BJJ’s development.

So there you have it a basic run down of some of the popular names, their origins, similarities and differences. I hope you found it useful in getting a feel for what each means and why the different terms are used. As is common in the translation of various words from other languages there will always be differing opinions on how to spell or even pronounce various words/names and this is no different.

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Source by Felipe Grez