The gentle art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu

You don’t have to be the strongest person to win in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


Forget boxing or breaking boards, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the sport of the moment. A martial art designed for a smaller person to subdue a much larger and stronger opponent using technique and leverage, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all about taking your opponent to the ground and keeping them there. Using jointlocks and holds, technique trumps strength in this exciting sport!

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grew out of the introduction of Judo to Brazil in about 1914. When Carlos Gracie saw it being demonstrated, he and his brothers became students. According to the Gracie family history, his brother Hélio found some of the strength-based Judo techniques hard to pull off and he adapted Judo to a more ground-based version, where being strong was less important than being clever. This is why you may also see it called Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Since its evolution from Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has become popular all around the world, thanks to the combination of skills and emotional intelligence it teaches you.


Often called ‘the gentle art’, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also known as human chess because of the strategy involved in each match-up. Every sparring session is made up of moves and countermoves, strategy, and techniques. When sparring, or ‘rolling’ as it’s called in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the goal is to subdue your opponent by using Jiu-Jitsu techniques – they’ll tap out to show that you’ve won. Well done!

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also teaches mental and physical resilience because you won’t always win. In fact, you’ll probably tap out a lot! There’s no better way to learn than to train with someone more experienced than you, and each time you spar together, you’ll have a chance to work on your skills.

As you spend time training and your technique improves, you’ll work your way through the coloured belt system. Starting with a white belt, students progress through a series of colours – this takes time, skill, and patience.

You won’t reach black belt overnight, but when you do, you’ll feel ready for the strength and challenges it represents. It’s said, however, that no one ever truly becomes a master of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, because there’s always something new to learn. You take your journey one step at a time, one day at a time, building on what you know. And in doing so, you’ll also learn mindfulness, grace, patience, grit, and focus – skills that you’ll use every day of your life.

Visit for information on how you can start your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey.


Don’t do this at home! Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is super fun but you should only practise it when your teacher is present so they can guide you and your sparring partner safely.

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