Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training has become very popular over the last couple of decades. The first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), back in 1993, turned the martial arts world upside down. Royce Gracie won easily. There was something very interesting about his win: he was the lightest of all the competitors. Weighing only 176 pounds, he easily dominated bigger and stronger opponents. He simply avoided the strikes, took the opponents down, and used various submission holds (chokes and joint locks) to put them away. He demonstrated to the world that the martial arts was a matter of science over size. What was this guy doing? The answer: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Since then, mixed martial arts (MMA), has taken off and is more and more mainstream everyday. However, since that day, Brazilian Jiu jitsu has also grown. As a result, people learned that it was extremely necessary to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). All mixed martial arts fighters need to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to be successful.

Leverage: the Key Factor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training

So what’s the fuss with BJJ? What makes this art so special? The best way to sum it up: leverage. The way the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu embraces the concept of leverage is what makes it so unique. A good analogy is to think of all techniques working like a car jack. All the moves use the “jack principle”. This is what enabled Royce to beat larger opponents in the UFC.

Helio Gracie

How did leverage become a key opponent in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? The answer lies with one of the founders: Helio Gracie, Royce’s father. Helio and his brothers learned Jiu Jitsu from the Japanese. Helio had a tough time applying the moves on his training partners because he was a weaker man, around 135 pounds. Therefore, he started to modify the techniques, applying the “jack principle” to the fundamental positions. This was a crucial point in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Now the art could easily be applicable for any smaller or weaker person.

The leverage concept is important in all Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. A strong or athletic practitioner can easily overlook this concept. In BJJ, there are many details to a given technique. All these details give the student an element of leverage towards the easy execution of that move. All details must be remembered for the techniques to have full leverage. Strong individuals can succeed without learning all the details. This is because they use strength to make up for the leverage. The whole time that person may not even realize this and think they have perfect technique.  They will fall short when they meet someone much stronger than them.

Live Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training

A typical BJJ class, is composed of a warmup, drilling techniques, and live training. Although, learning the techniques and details is critical for development, the live training aspect is what makes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training unique. Live training gives the practitioner a realistic sense of whether the technique is working or not. Live training, or rolling, is like the lab. Students get to test their techniques. They get to see if their movements are perfect or if they are missing details. This method is what increases the skill level in all students.

The best part about training live in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is they can do it every day. In other arts with live training, such as boxing or Muay Thai, this is not always the case. There’s a greater chance of getting bruised or hurt. This is because there are a lot of explosive and powerful techniques. In BJJ, the movements are much more smooth. A student can go full speed without ever getting hurt. So, this capacity to do more live training can help a student get better faster.

BJJ Applications

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a versatile martial art. It can be used in self defense situations and in tournaments. For self defense, BJJ is very efficient. A small child can even use BJJ to defend themselves. First of all, the leverage involved gives a practitioner the ability to survive against a bigger and stronger attacker. Also, brazilian jiu jitsu training provides the students with techniques to control the distance and to avoid punches. From there, they will take them down, and apply a submission hold on the ground. Another important aspect of BJJ is fighting off your back. This is through the use of the guard position, which is an offensive position on the bottom. Helio Gracie popularized the use of this position and won various fights there. Consequently, the guard will greatly help a smaller person to defend themselves in a real situation.

Gi and No Gi Training

Another unique aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that it can be applied with or without the martial arts uniform (gi).  In BJJ, this is called Gi or No Gi training. In gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, the students train all positions but with the grip provided by the uniform. The grips allow more more security of control in their techniques. Also, through the use of the grips, the gi allows many more techniques to be utilized. However, in no gi, the same positions are being used, without the use of gi uniform grips. The students will typically wear a rash guard and shorts for this type of training.

Getting to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt

The ultimate achievement in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the black belt.  For some this can be a long journey. However, for others it is quicker. Regardless, the key thing to remember is that everyone is on their own path in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Getting a black belt has everything to do with consistency and dedication in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Therefore, constant training and improvement in one’s skills is what leads to a student getting to a higher level. Along the way, one acquires many great benefits from brazilian jiu jitsu, and becomes a better individual. What’s interesting is that when a student reaches the black belt, the actual belt is more of a symbol. It is a symbol of the hard work and progression that student has achieved over the years. The student is left with a true appreciation for the martial arts.

Here is an old school clip of one of Helio Gracie’s fights.  In the fight, he uses the guard position.


About Spartan Mixed Martial Arts

Spartan Mixed Martial Arts was established in 2010 and is located at 11 Cindy Ln #3, Ocean Township NJ 07712  –  732-531-5145.

Spartan specializes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and Kids Martial Arts for adults and children 4 -12.