How Does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Work?

Brazilian jiu jitsu

How Does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Work?


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on grappling and ground fighting techniques. It is known for its effectiveness in allowing smaller individuals to overcome larger opponents through the use of leverage, technique, and strategic positioning. In this article, we will explore how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu works, its fundamental principles, and the strategies involved in this captivating martial art.

The Basics of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

At its core, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu emphasizes taking an opponent to the ground and using various techniques to control, submit, or incapacitate them. Unlike other martial arts that rely on strikes and kicks, BJJ focuses on manipulating an opponent’s body, utilizing joint locks, chokes, and positional control to achieve victory.

Grappling and Ground Fighting

BJJ practitioners aim to take their opponent down and gain dominant positions on the ground. This allows them to neutralize an opponent’s strength and striking abilities while maximizing their own leverage and technique. Through a combination of sweeps, reversals, and submissions, BJJ fighters aim to gain control and ultimately force their opponent to submit or render them incapable of continuing the fight.

Leverage and Technique over Strength

One of the core principles of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the concept of using leverage and technique to overcome physical strength. BJJ teaches that even a smaller, weaker individual can defeat a larger, stronger opponent by applying proper technique and utilizing leverage to their advantage. By understanding the mechanics of the human body and applying the right techniques, a BJJ practitioner can control and submit their opponent regardless of their size or strength.

The Importance of Positional Control

Positional control is crucial in BJJ. It involves establishing and maintaining dominant positions such as mount, side control, or back control, which provide the practitioner with the ability to control the opponent’s movements and limit their options. From these positions, a BJJ practitioner can set up submissions and transitions while preventing their opponent from escaping or counterattacking effectively.

Submission Techniques

Submissions are the essence of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. These techniques can range from joint locks, such as armlocks or leglocks, to chokes and strangles that cut off an opponent’s blood supply or restrict their breathing. The objective of a submission is to force an opponent to submit by tapping out, indicating their surrender, or rendering them unconscious if they refuse to tap.

The Mental and Strategic Aspect

Beyond physical techniques, BJJ also requires mental strength and strategic thinking. BJJ practitioners must constantly analyze their opponent’s movements and reactions, searching for openings to exploit. They must be patient, adaptable, and capable of adjusting their game plan based on the opponent’s actions. This mental aspect adds depth to the sport and makes it a mentally stimulating endeavor.


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a dynamic martial art that operates on the principles of leverage, technique, and positional control. Through grappling, ground fighting, and a focus on submission techniques, BJJ empowers practitioners to overcome larger opponents and prevail in combat. It emphasizes intelligence, strategy, and adaptability, making it a sport that requires both physical and mental prowess. Whether for self-defense, competition, or personal development, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu offers a unique and effective approach to martial arts.


Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu effective in real-life self-defense situations?

Yes, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is highly effective in self-defense scenarios. Its focus on ground fighting and submission techniques allows individuals to neutralize threats without relying on striking or brute strength.

Can anyone practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, regardless of age or physical condition?

Yes, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is suitable for people of all ages and physical conditions. Classes are often structured to accommodate individuals of different skill levels and physical capabilities. Whether young or old, athletic or not, BJJ can be adapted to suit the individual’s needs and abilities.

How long does it take to become proficient in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

The time it takes to become proficient in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu varies from person to person. Progression in BJJ is typically measured by belt ranks, with each rank requiring a certain level of skill and knowledge. On average, it may take several years of consistent training to achieve a black belt, but this timeline can vary depending on factors such as frequency of training, natural ability, and dedication to learning.

Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu safe?

While Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a contact sport, injuries can be minimized through proper training, technique, and adherence to safety guidelines. BJJ practitioners are taught to respect their training partners and exercise control during sparring sessions to ensure a safe training environment. However, like any physical activity, there is always a risk of injury, and it is essential to train under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Can Brazilian Jiu Jitsu be used for competition?

Absolutely. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a thriving competitive scene, with tournaments held worldwide at various skill levels and age categories. Competing in BJJ allows practitioners to test their skills against other skilled opponents and gain valuable experience in a controlled environment.

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