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Jiu Jitsu - The Basics 

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What Is Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu is a Japanese form of martial art styles which consist of grappling, holds and striking techniques. Historically, it is said that it was first introduced around or before 750 AD and this reached its peak when Japan was united in the early 1600ís. The reason why Jiu Jitsu flourished was because no one was allowed to carry weapons anymore. This meant that the only way to protect yourself was through hand to hand combat. This meant that even a smaller person gain advantage over a bigger and heavier opponent. Later on in a re-armed Japan, this hand to hand combat are art was taught to both the police and the army. 

Jiu Jitsu in English translates to the practice of gentleness. Don't be fooled though, as extreme violence can be used through various techniques. Nonetheless, the limited striking and weaponless form garners respect and gentleness compared to ninjutsu, which was a fatal martial art practice in Japan during the same periods. To perfect and preserve a balance between fighting and gentleness, proper timing and leverage are necessary so you are able to grab hold to your opponent and then execute a few strikes or holds, so this person is no longer a threat. 

Aside from learning how to defend yourself, it changes you as a person since you become more calm and focused. Students will also be able to learn other values such as efficiency, patience, surrender and yielding. 

Jiu Jitsu gave rise to other martial arts forms. First is judo which is often compared to freestyle wrestling and while the two shares many techniques, Judo focuses on self defense maneuvers so you are able to throw your opponent off balance and then execute a throw. 

The other is Aikido as it uses hand techniques redirect the force used by the opponent. Once the threat is on the ground, you may now use various painful hold techniques until he or she surrenders. If they donít, their elbow joint will be dislocated or rendered unconscious. 

Traditionally, Jiu Jitsu is not a sport which is why unlike karate or tae kwon do, there are no competitions. However, the Brazilian form of Jiu Jitsu which was adapted from Judo is. The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is a major governing body for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) which hosts several of the biggest tournaments in the world, including the European Championships, Mundials and Pan American.

This was founded by Carlos Gracie, Jr., head of Gracie Barra and son of Carlos Gracie, the founder of this form of martial art. The IBJJF is closely tied to the Confederacao Brasileira de Jiu-Jitsu, sharing its rules and regulations.

Although Jiu Jitsu is quite old, its technique is visible in other martial arts. You will see this used by some fighters during mixed martial arts competitions like the Ultimate Fighting Championship which has become popular ever since this was first introduced in the early 1990ís.

In fact, Royce Gracie used the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu technique and was the first, second, third and fourth champion of this tournament. 

Anyone can learn Jiu Jitsu. This is the reason that it is often taught in self-defense classes so anyone who is under threat will be able to neutralize the attacker, escape and get help. All you have to do is find a gym which offers it to students. 

Finding a Jiu Jitsu Gym

Jiu Jitsu is offered in a lot of gyms across the United States, Canada and the UK because it is an effective self-defense technique that anyone can use when faced with a threat. 

One thing you should know when looking for a Jiu Jitsu gym is that each one is different and there are various styles of the art, mainly Japanese and Brazilian, however, there are many sub styles. It is only in doing some research and asking the instructor some questions will you be able to find the right one for you. 

Most students start out as white belts. In order to move up, a good question to ask will be what is their testing policy and what are the fees. In general, test fees should not exceed $60-$100 and the cost should be the same regardless of the color. 

Three Defensive Moves in Jiu Jitsu to Subdue an Attacker

Jiu Jitsu is an effective martial art technique that is very useful in close quarter combat. To give you an idea, here are three moves which you can use when there is a threat. 

The first is called The Clinch. Most people attack by punching or kicking when they know there are in range to do so. The best way to avoid getting hit is to stay out of the hitting range or go close enough to limit his or her punching or kicking ability, by narrowing the range of their motion. 

To make this happen, you have to get your head against your opponentís chest then get your hands up to your forehead with your forearms so you avoid getting punched in the face. At the same time, you close the gap by leading with a leg check or a distracting kick to his leg. 

You now sweep your hands out to block his biceps on each arm, trap his arms by hooking your hands over his triceps and use your forearms to control his arms. With your forehead still on his chest and by pulling his arms, you create isometric tension limiting his punch and movement. 

This move is completed when you reach around his back with one arm and move to that side. Make sure that you his other arm tightly under your armpit so you can still protect your face by burying it in the biceps of the trap arm. Donít forget to pinch your thighs on the leg closest t you so he wonít be able to turn and knee you to the groin. 

You can still fight if the attacker has overpowered you and taken you down. For that, you employ the second move called the Closed Guard. For this to work, you have to be on the ground on your back facing your attacker. You wrap both of your legs around him so his body is in between your thighs. Your legs are far stronger than your arms so it will be easier to grasp him.

With your lower body having a tight grip, try to get one of his arms by trapping it under your arm and grabbing behind his elbow. Ideally, the arm you should catch is the one he uses to punch you with. 

Using your other hand, hold his head down as this will limit his ability to sit upright and protect you from a head butt. You can do this by holding the back of his head or by the back of the neck. 

Unlike the first move, the attacker will still be able to hit you so protect yourself from these attacks using your elbow and knee. 

The Closed Guard will not work if the attacker is too large or too strong. When this happens, try the third move called the Open Guard instead. This is similar to the Closed Guard, but varies. It is  achieved by thrusting both of your knees (or feet) into the chest or pelvis or thighs.

With your head back on the ground and your hands covering your face, arch your back and push this person as far back as possible. Should he stand up, put your back on the floor and use your feet on his at hips to keep him away.

If the attacker decide to lunge forward and choke you, put your feet on his hips and pull him forward until his head is even with yours then use your legs to pick him up and flip him over your head or kick him as he moves in. Try to strike him in the nose so his eyes water and you can get up and flee.

These three Jiu Jitsu moves should be practiced regularly so your reflexes will kick in when you are in danger. The best way of course is to enroll in a gym and work with a sparring partner. Hint: Make sure to cover your chin, nose and temples as much as possible during moments of close combat, these are the areas where people getting knocked out or incapacitated from strikes. 

Best Defense a Good Offense? Why Locks Are Sometimes Ineffective in Jiu Jitsu

There are different ways to make a person submit in Jiu Jitsu. One technique is the joint lock which involves manipulating the opponentís joint in such a way that it reaches their maximal degree of motion. There are 6 types namely chokes, arm locks, leg locks, small joint manipulation, spinal locks and wristlocks. Unfortunately, some people donít do this right rendering what they are doing futile and here are the reasons why.

Poor mechanics is very common. To prevent this from happening, you have to learn the mechanics of this technique so you know precisely where to put your strength specifically most of your body weight into one joint. 

Your joint lock will also be unsuccessful if your opponent is very flexible. Although rare, some people are able to bend their arms backward to almost a 90 degree angle or bend their wrist backward and touch the palm of their hands using their forearms. 

Another possible reason is that your opponent has a high tolerance for pain or they are way bigger than you. This means that even if you are able to do it correctly, that person is still able to withstand it or even reverse it!

If the person does not seem to have a high tolerance for pain, it is possible that your opponent is mentally deranged or high on a drug.

Lastly, it might not work because you are simply too slow and your technique is not good enough. 

When these happen, keep it simple, you have to try another submission technique like a chokehold or a basic arm lock. 

A lot of times Jui Jitsu artist get cocky and try complicated techniques. It can end up back firing, as they rarely work in the real world unless your against a totally outmatched opponent. Keep things simple. The best example is the Rear Naked Choke. Now pay close attention (and I am not talking about the photo) This is done by reaching behind your opponents neck toward his their throat and molding your biceps like a vice grip. You then bend your elbow and latch your arm into it, like a locking device. 

Pull your head tight towards theirs closing the gap. Your biceps and the inside of your forearm should press on the sides of the neck. With your free hand behind his head, use it to push the back of his head forward while pushing with the elbow that encircles his neck into his chest as though you are squeezing it towards his spine. Shrug his shoulders up like you are hanging him (or her) and hold it for a few seconds until his body goes limp or taps.

The simplest form of an arm lock is the modern submission grappling arm lock seen in the photo to the right. You can use your arms as a leveraged pry bar to crank out a submission no matter how strong your opponent is. 

Of the different reasons mentioned as to why your joint lock does not work, poor mechanics and technique happens to be the only thing that is under your control. The rest really depends on your opponent and if you canít handle the situation, the best thing to do will be to not fight run and get help. 

If you want to get this right, you have to practice this regularly this technique regularly so it can be used when a threat presents itself. 

Why You Should Learn Jiu Jitsu

Sure there are many forms of martial arts. However, Jiu Jitsu happens to an ancient Japanese martial art that will help build balance and coordination, increase your self-confidence and self-discipline, improve mental focus as well as reduce stress. Since there is generally no striking especially at lower levels, you can start training as a child, with friends and it is safe and effective.

It is also a great form of exercise that will significantly improve your endurance, flexibility, muscle tone, speed and strength since you are doing this repeatedly to get the technique right. 

Anyone can learn Jiu Jitsu. If you enroll your child in a program, you will notice that their confidence levels will improve thanks to the help of experienced instructors and students who will all be helping in a non-competitive environment. In fact, two of the most important values that will be instilled in them is patience and self-control because it teaches them to yield rather than resist. 

For adults, this will reduce your stress levels and enable you to develop conflict resolution skills since sound decisions can only be made when you are relaxed and your mind is at ease. Regardless of age, people who learn Jiu Jitsu or any other martial art are actually less likely to get involved in violent situations, because they start to gain a keener sense of real danger and now when and when not to (really important) engage.

Many gyms offer the first class for free so you should take advantage of it. 

There are certain rules which you have to follow in order to learn Jiu Jitsu. This includes wearing the proper attire, how to address the instructor and proper behavior in class which is to show respect and for the safety of everyone present. 

Jiu Jitsu which means the gentle art is not designed as an offensive weapon but rather a defensive one. This will be very useful during the unlikely event of an attack because you will be able to subdue your opponent without causing any injury. However bodily harm may be necessary if you have no other choice and you'll know how. Nevertheless, mainly Jiu Jitsu is used to keep fit and strong and disciplined. It is easier to have fun fights with your friends because no gets hurt, you simply "tap out". In striking arts its much more difficult to spare without getting violent, losing your temper and getting injured. Georges St-Pierre the best pound for pound fighter in the world start out as a karate kid, however, he became the best overall fighter after he mastered Brazilian Jiu Jitsu...

Here is a photo (right) of GSP and I... I only took Jiu Jitsu until orange belt (that's only above white and yellow) because I started and manage my own soccer team. Nevertheless, I kept studying the art and occasionally recreationally trained. I recommend Jiu Jitsu if you are thinking of getting into a martial art. Happy grappling!

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