Jiu-Jitsu is a Japanese martial art and a method of close combat for defeating an armed and armoured opponent in which one uses no weapon.
“Jiu” can be translated to mean “gentle, soft, supple, flexible, pliable, or yielding.” “Jitsu” can be translated to mean “art” or “technique” and represents manipulating the opponent’s force against himself rather than confronting it with one’s own force. Striking against an armoured opponent proved ineffective, practitioners learned that the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker’s energy against him, rather than directly opposing it.
There are many variations of the art, which leads to a diversity of approaches. Jiu-Jitsu schools (ryū) may utilize all forms of grappling techniques to some degree (i.e. throwing, trapping, joint locks, holds, gouging, biting, disengagements, striking, and kicking).
Today, Jiu-Jitsu is practiced in both traditional and modern sport forms. Derived sport forms include the Olympic sport and martial art of Judo, which was developed by Kanō Jigorō in the late 19th century from several traditional styles of Jiu-Jitsu , and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which was inturn derived from earlier versions of Kodokan Judo. Jiu-Jitsu techniques have been the basis for many military unarmed combat techniques (including British/US/Russian Special Forces and SO1 police units) for many years.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) was developed after Mitsuyo Maeda brought Judo to Brazil in 1914. Maeda agreed to teach the art to Carlos Gracie, son of his friend, Gastão Gracie. After Carlos learned the art from Maeda, he passed his knowledge to his brothers Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., and George. Meanwhile, Hélio Gracie would peek in and practice the techniques, although he was told he was too young to practice. Hélio’s emphasis shifted to ground grappling because the Gracie family thought it was more efficient and much more practical. Carlos and Helio helped the development by promoting fights, competitions and experimenting throughout decades of intense training. BJJ dominated the first large modern arts competitions, causing the emerging field to adopt many of its practices. Less-practiced stand-up techniques in Gracie JiuJitsu remain from its judo and jujutsu heritage (knife defence, gun defence, throws, blocking, striking etc.).