Friday, May 21, 2010

Japanese Jiu Jitsu vs. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


Type in a search on google for Jiu Jitsu and the majority of hits will come back for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Much of this is due to the popularity of the UFC and the Gracie family of Jiu Jitsu. The Gracies were intimately involved in the birth and evolution of mixed martial arts as a mainstream sporting event.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu burst into the scene in the early nineties. Royce Gracie beat everyone he came up against, forcing martial artists to re-examine their training and the martial arts they studied. This was a good thing. Now ground fighting is at least a component of most martial arts styles.

For some time, BJJ was touted as being the ultimate martial art, essentially unbeatable. We now know that it has its flaws, or perhaps more accurately, its strengths and weaknesses.
In combat, deliberately going to the ground can be extremely dangerous. Without rules, rings, time limits and referees, choosing to fight on the ground is foolhardy.

I have read that 80, 85, 90 or 95% of fights end up on the ground. Those are pretty alarming statistics. You know what they say about stats? There are lies, dirty lies and statistics. You can pretty much find statistics to support any position you take, positive or negative.

Where are these numbers taken from? What is classified as a fight? You need to know this information to make any sort of conclusion.

The majority of these stats are taken from security, law enforcement and the military. After all, what other groups actually record altercations? Knowing this, does a fight going to the ground mean both combatants go to the ground? In policing, when there is a struggle or fight, officers are trained to take the person to the ground in order to control them and handcuff them safely. The officer isn't fighting on the ground, but the bad guy (or girl) ends up there. In this case, would this be one of the stats saying that the fight went to the ground? That could be quite misleading. If you perform a throwing technique, is this now classified as a fight that went to the ground? A wrist throw, a trip, a choke? As with so many things, it's important to source information. If 95% of fights happened on the ground, there wouldn't be the need for other martial arts.

I train not to go to the ground. If I'm taken down, I train to get back up as quickly as possible. If I can't get up quickly, then I fight on the ground. I never choose to fight on the ground but I realize the necessity to learning how to if I find myself there. It is because of this that I believe we all owe a debt to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It has made martial artists more complete.

Many people outside of or new to the martial arts don't realize that there is a far older form of Jiu Jitsu out there, one that stemmed from feudal Japan.

Japanese Jiu Jitsu goes back generations. While BJJ is essentially a new style, JJJ has lived and evolved for hundreds of years.

Japanese Jiu Jitsu is what I consider to be a complete martial art. It has weapons training, long range fighting, close quarter combat and ground fighting. Always has. It focuses on all ranges of combat. It takes longer to learn than some other styles, but in the end, it churns out more complete fighters, comfortable in all ranges.

Now I'm the first to admit that someone who trains exclusively in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu would have the edge in ground fighting. After all, it's their speciality. I'll also admit I wouldn't want to trade punches with an experienced boxer. What I do have is options. This is a strength of Japanese Jiu Jitsu. It teaches you to adapt to your opponents.

JJJ continues to evolve. It changes with the times. It's rooted in time tested techniques that kept people alive in the battlefield and when confronted with armed opponents. It's flexible and adapts to changing circumstances and environments.

All martial arts are good. As mentioned in a previous post, the best martial art is the one you like to study. I have the utmost respect for different martial arts and martial artists. I have seen fierce and dangerous warriors in dozens of different styles.

It's important to note that no martial is limited to only one area of study. BJJ players don't only train on the ground. Tae Kwon Do practitioners don't only kick. Judo folks don't just throw etc.

Japanese Jiu Jitsu is sometimes referred to as traditional Jiu Jitsu, stand up Jiu Jitsu, small circle Jiu Jitsu, or just Jiu Jitsu. While JJJ and BJJ share many techniques, there are significant differences between the styles. It is important to know this when considering studying either one.

I study JJJ as a reality based martial art. If reality is what you're training for, make sure the style you take focuses on real combat. If you're training for the ring, you may find yourself in a rough spot if you find yourself on the street.

Ask questions, research and learn. Above all, enjoy your training.

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