What is Jiu Jitsu: The Complete Guide

If you’re on the smaller side, learning to defend yourself may seem like a pointless endeavor. Attempting to strike an attacker that is much larger and stronger may not be the most sensible solution.

However, there is a martial art that will teach you to defend yourself against an attacker regardless of their size and strength.

Jiu jitsu can help you to take down even the largest and strongest opponents. But what is jiu jitsu, you ask? Read on to learn more about this martial art and the benefits it can offer.

What Is Jiu Jitsu?

Jiu jitsu is a martial art that focuses on the use of technique and leverage. Jiu jitsu will teach you how to use an opponent’s weight and strength against them.

Jiu jitsu is mostly designed for closed quarters combat, with one of the first goals being to wrestle your opponent to the ground. From there, you can pin them and hold them in a harmless position until they submit. Since it doesn’t rely on size or strength, it makes a great choice for smaller athletes. 

History of the Sport

You may often hear jiu jitsu referred to as Brazilian jiu jitsu, since it got its start in Brazil. Just twenty years after Kano Jigoro invented judo, a student of his, Mitsuyo Maeda brought the art to Brazil. Maeda had one particular student in Brazil that would change martial arts forever – his name was Carlos Gracie.

By 1925, the Gracie brothers had perfected their art and opened the first jiu jitsu academy in the world. In the last century, jiu jitsu has spread across the world, quickly becoming one of the most popular martial arts. 

Physical Workout

One of the biggest benefits of learning jiu jitsu is that it provides a fantastic physical workout. Although the sport doesn’t involve hitting or kicking, it still takes a lot of strength and agility. Students have to build up the endurance to out-maneuver opponents and hold them down until they’re forced to submit.

Most jiu jitsu classes start with an intense warmup designed to build strength and endurance. Instructors then demonstrate new techniques and practice the moves with their students. Once the lesson portion of the workout is over, the students break out into pairs to practice wrestling with the new moves they just learned.

Mental Workout

You might be surprised to learn that, in addition to being a fantastic physical workout, jiu jitsu provides a great mental workout. This martial art is much more about fighting smart than relying on physical force. As you’re wrestling, you have to use your wits and strategy to figure out the best way to pin your opponent.

Throughout a workout or fight, you might spend time in both offensive and defensive positions. You have to know the best moves to handle either situation, as well as figure out how to turn your opponent’s strengths into an advantage for you. And throughout all of this, you’re learning new skills and techniques that keep your mind as toned as your body.

Self-Defense Capabilities

Many people choose to learn jiu jitsu as a form of self-defense. The art’s focus on leverage, strategy, and grappling means that even smaller, weaker fighters can take down opponents who are far bigger and stronger than them. It doesn’t matter if someone can out-punch you if you can pin them down so they can’t move until help arrives.

Jiu jitsu is popular with smaller men, women, and children who might struggle to hold their own in a straight fight. If you live in a dangerous area or worry you might be attacked, jiu jitsu can be a powerful tool to help you feel safer every day. It can also be a good tool for children who deal with bullies or who respond to fear with destructive aggression. 


Perhaps the biggest benefit of learning jiu jitsu is that your self-confidence will go through the roof. For one thing, since it’s such great exercise, you can tone those areas of your body you’re not as confident in. You’ll feel better in your clothes and look forward to rocking your beach body this summer.

But even more importantly than that, jiu jitsu can give you an incredible feeling of power. Knowing how to defend yourself can help you to feel safer in your daily routine and give you the confidence you need to hold your head high. You may speak up more at work or at school and stand up to injustice when you see it, confident in the knowledge that you can defend yourself.

Learn More About Jiu Jitsu

Jiu jitsu has gained a devoted following in the last century, and it’s easy to see why. The martial art teaches you how to turn an opponent’s strength and size against them and pin them in a harmless position. You’ll get a great mental and physical workout, as well as a huge boost to your self-confidence.

If you’d like to answer the question “What is jiu jitsu?” check out the rest of our site at Hassett’s Jiu Jitsu Club. We are proudly training all ages and abilities and helping South Jersey to get fit, stay safe, and have fun. Schedule a free intro class with us today and start your martial arts journey.