Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. Although most gyms do not encourage fighting, it is one of the best martial arts for self-defense and confrontations.
One of the aspects of Jiu Jitsu that makes it different than other martial arts is that it does not use striking as a way to win or overpower your opponent, but is that still the case today?
Can You Strike Your Opponent in Jiu Jitsu? Although Jiu Jitsu is a form of self-defense, traditionally, the practice used no striking. Submissions and grappling were used to win fights and overpower opponents. As the art evolves, it is not uncommon to see strikes in some self-defense programs, including kicks and punches.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a direct relative of the original Japanese Jiu Jitsu, but they have evolved through practice and changes in technique to be distinctly different. Has Jiu Jitsu stayed true to not using strikes as a way to win fights? Let’s talk about the evolution of Jiu Jitsu.
Is There Striking in Jiu Jitsu?
Jiu Jitsu is considered by many to be a grappling art. Every move that you do in a fight or class has a specific goal that is part of the art of the teachings.
Striking is not taught due to the movement being unreliable. Someone in a fight cannot always determine where their strikes are going to land on their opponent. Submissions are a common way of defeating an opponent when using Jiu Jitsu.
The Jiu Jitsu that is taught today can fall under three different categories. While they all stemmed from Japanese Jiu Jitsu, the purpose, teachings, and how they are practiced all vary.
- Japanese Jiu Jitsu is the original form of Jiu Jitsu and did not use striking as part of their lessons. Nor were they encouraging spars between others. Here’s an article on the difference between Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the result of an evolution of the art by the Gracie family, who gave it more of a wrestling feel and taught followers of the practice how to win fights.
- Gracie Jiu Jitsu is a further evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which put more emphasis on self-defense and eventually introduced some forms of striking into it.
Although striking is not something that was traditionally taught, Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that has continued to grow in popularity and evolves all the time.
Striking has become an important part of those who use it as a form of self-defense and is even commonly seen in major fights such as MMA.
How Did BJJ Begin?
The art was brought to Brazil by Mitsuyo Maeda, who studied under the legendary master, Judo. With the help from the Gracie family, Maeda was able to spread the art throughout the entire country of Brazil.
Helio Gracie is often considered the originator of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the evolution of what used and taught today.
Japanese Jiu Jitsu is a system of combat used by Samurai in old Japan. Although the two are closely related, the exact manner they are practiced is different.
Japanese Jiu Jitsu is taught in a way in which both parties are aware that they are practicing a form of combat.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become more of a combat sport.
Specifically, Gracie Jiu Jitsu is one of the most popular types of Jiu Jitsu that involves using strikes as part of the training.
What Are The Differences Between JJJ, BJJ, and GJJ?
Although all Jiu Jitsu is similar, three branches of it are distinctly different. As we mentioned, Jiu Jitsu is the original form, and Gracie and Brazilian are both different variations.
Let’s talk about the differences in each of them and their teachings.
Japanese Jiu Jitsu
This form places a lot of focus on the traditional aspects of the art. There are not a lot of sparring matches in JJJ.
Instead, they use solo training and partner training with varying degrees of resistance depending on the strength and the skill of the individual. This form of Jiu Jitsu initially used no striking as part of the practice.
It was primarily taught during Samurai where actually in battle but has since become less of an actual battle technique and more of a skilled martial art.
Most JJJ instructors do not change the aspects they teach, which is why it has lasted for so long and is held in high regard.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
The main difference between Japanese and Brazilian is that Brazilian utilizes sparring as a form of training. It was brought to prominence by the
Gracie family. It helps people who practice BJJ learn how to use the same skills under pressure.
The sparring in BJJ has allowed for the art form to evolve over time, which is why the two look and feel different.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches not only how to use the techniques while fighting but also how to win the fight.
BJJ emphasizes that no matter the size of the person, with the right training, they can defend themselves against anyone of any size.
Although some strikes may be taught in this art, it is mostly a grappling sport that often ends up on the floor to win battles.
Gracie Jiu Jitsu
Gracie Jiu Jitsu ultimately falls under BJJ, but they are not the same. The primary purpose of GJJ is to teach self-defense to those taking the courses. It was created by the same family, who initially made BJJ popular.
GJJ spends more time teaching precision and technical moves that are similar to the teachings seen in JJJ.
They prepare their participants for self-defense in the real world, including the risk of altercations in the street.
Why Does Gracie Jiu Jitsu Teach Striking?
What attracts many people to Jiu Jitsu in the first place is that there is obviously a reduced risk of injury. Gracie Jiu Jitsu is teaching you how to not only absorb someone’s attack on you but also how to essentially win against your opponent.
Many people criticize the striking taught in these courses because not only can it increase the amount of combat seen during a fight, but it also does not teach someone practicing Jiu Jitsu how to react to strikes from another opponent.
For those using Gracie Jiu Jitsu as a form of self-defense, it may help you in certain instances, but not for a professional fight.
Is Jiu Jitsu Good For Self-Defense?
Many people learn Jiu Jitsu because you do not have to be the strongest or largest person in the room. Learning Jiu Jitsu is based on understanding various techniques taught through the sport.
Jiu Jitsu has been broken down into two main concentrations as it evolves – Sport and Self-Defense.
Sport Jiu Jitsu: This is the practice most often sung in organized competitions such as Jiu Jitsu tournaments. It typically has rules, weight classes and age divisions in place to keep both opponents safe.
Self-Defense Jiu Jitsu: Is sometimes used in street fights where the rules are not set in place. Those who find themselves in street fights may not be fighting someone who has the same general knowledge of Jiu Jitsu and
Overall, Jiu Jitsu is excellent for self-defense because not only does it teach you how to protect yourself, but it also makes sure you are not hurting yourself or others. Here’s an article on Jiu Jitsu for Self-Defense
Many say that the training process has acted as a form of therapy to help them manage their anger, anxiety, and fear. Jiu Jitsu helps your body understand what to do in case you find yourself in a precarious situation. Muscle memory is a leading factor in why many people choose this practice.
Combat Jiu Jitsu
Recently there’s been a rise in a new competition style of BJJ with a rule set with striking incorporated into it.
Created by 10th Planet and EBI founder Eddie Bravo Combat Jiu Jitsu aims to bring more realism to the sport side of Jiu Jitsu by adding strikes and making it more realistic.
If you’d like to learn more about Combat Jiu Jitsu check out or guide HERE.