What does BJJ stand for?

What does BJJ stand for?

BJJ Stands for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Brazilian – Because it originated from Brazil in the 1920’s

Jiu-Jitsu – Because it has been derived from the Japanese family of unarmed combat that includes Judo, Sumo and Aikido.

The History

Commonly known as BJJ which originated from Brazil in the 1920’s by the Gracie Family. The original founders of the martial art were the brothers Carlos, Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., George and Hélio Gracie, after Carlos Gracie was taught traditional Kodokan Judo by a travelling Japanese judoka, Mitsuyo Maeda, in 1917.

The Gracie family developed this training over time into their own self-defence system named Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The catalyst for this was young Helio Gracie. Due to his small size and lack of upper body strength, he tended to focus his training on the Newaza or ground fighting component. This system was honed and evolved until the 1990s, when it started to become popular outside of Brazil thanks Royce Gracie’s dominant performance in the original UFC 1 tournament.

Since then BJJ has become popular all over the world as people have seen just how effective BJJ is as a martial art. It’s no surprise that just like the Gracie Family have adapted Judo into BJJ, others have taken Gracie Jiu Jitsu and turned this into Brazillian Jiu Jitsu.

You can find out more about the differences between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Brazillian Jiu Jitsu here

What is the difference between BJJ and Judo - fightgearmarketcom-25455a.ingress-comporellon.easywp.com

What is the difference between BJJ and Judo?


Originally the two martial arts were very similar in rulesets. Both followed the same basic principles of starting standing on the feet to begin a fight. Then you wrestle, throw or pull your opponent to the ground and finish them with a joint lock or a blood choke, forcing them to ‘tap out’ or admit defeat.

Over time, the ruleset for Judo has changed. This was due to the popularisation of Judo as a sport and not a martial art. Key differences changed were to implement a time limit for the ground fighting aspect (Newaza), and changing how opponents can take each other to the ground by banning wrestling style techniques. This are all areas in BJJ where the sport shines. These changes to Judo emphasised the stand-up game through the act of throwing your opponent to the ground known as an Ippon. Some see this as being a watering down of the original martial art.

These ruleset changes have made for a very strong stand-up game with lightning-fast submissions on the ground. It’s always fun to spar with a Judo player because you know you are in for a tough match. When a Judoka says they are going to hit you with the ground, they mean it!


BJJ matches still start standing, just like Judo, however in BJJ you are allowed to use any style of takedown. Wrestling, Judo, Sambo and Sumo style takedowns are all fair game.

BJJ places a strong emphasis on ground fighting, securing a position and finishing your opponent with chokes and joint manipulation. This means that BJJ matches will continue for the bout duration when the fighters reach the ground, as opposed to Judo which only provides the players with 20 seconds to score a pin (BJJ doesn’t count a pin) or a submission.

Originally in Gracie Jiu Jitsu you are also allowed to strike and kick your opponent. Making it the first true Mixed Martial Art of its era.

Final Thoughts

BJJ is a wonderful sport to get into and finding out more about it’s history has only made me want to train more. From it’s story of a travelling Judoka to Brazil in the 1920’s, to it’s explosion in the modern martial arts world. I encourage anyone who is interested to give it a try at a school near you. And don’t forget, if you have every wondered What does BJJ stand for, It stands for Brazillian Jiu Jitsu 🙂

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