Although both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and modern Japanese Ju Jitsu have the same origins, both Martial Arts have grown in different directions. This has resulted in both styles of Jiu Jitsu being useful for different purposes. Even with those differences in mind, many look for the “better” of the two styles of Jiu Jitsu.
The Best Grappling Jiu Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has seen a huge surge in popularity since the inception and success of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In an environment in which one person is facing off against a single other person (as is the case in the UFC) having a strong grappling ability can make a huge difference. On the ground, being aware of balance and having a library of submissions to draw upon provides a myriad of options to utilize on the way to a victory.
Ground submission wrestling is where Brazilian Jiu Jitsu excels. In a match against other Martial Artists, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert can use his or her knowledge of throws to take their opponent to the ground and then work their position for a submission and a win. For that reason, more than any other, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the best martial arts one can learn if interested in competitive combat.
In addition, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a strong Martial Art because of its connection to the Gracie family. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is sometimes referred to as Gracie Jiu Jitsu as the Gracie Family were those that adapted Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Judo into what is currently known as Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. The Gracie family continues to keep their control of the Martial Art which ensures a high level of quality in its instructors and practioners.
The Best Self Defense Jiu Jitsu
Although Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does have some techniques and skills that are useful for self-defense, it is not the focus. Japanese Jiu Jitsu (or Ju Jitsu), however, spends quite a lot of its focus on techniques that were designed to defeat opponents swiftly and brutally. This means that from a self-defense point of view, Japanese Jiu Jitsu is far stronger than Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There are a great many Japanese Jiu Jitsu techniques that are very useful for defense, but the real use of Jiu Jitsu from a self-defense point of view is the use of pressure points and dangerous parts.
Being a battlefield Martial Art, Japanese Jiu Jitsu needs to be able to dispatch enemies with as much speed as possible. Quite often, the best way to accomplish this is through the use of pressure points. An attack to the head, neck or one of the other key areas of the body can more quickly end a confrontation than grappling. For example, the eyes are an incredibly vulnerable part of the body – a fact that a lot of Jiu Jitsu schools emphasize in their self-defense teachings. Attacks to the eyes are illegal in many competitive grappling, meaning Japanese Jiu Jitsu is a better choice for self-defense.
One final fact to consider is that a self-defense Martial Art should allow for multiple attackers. Techniques in Japanese Jiu Jitsu do allow for this, and instructors will often train their students with multiple attacker-type situations.
Is Ju-Jitsu Making a Comeback?
When Bruce Lee popularized martial arts with his famous movies Enter the Dragon, Way of the Dragon and Fist of Fury, little did he realize the massive growth in popularity martial arts would receive. From a few practitioners (practicing discretely in private dojo’s) in the 70s, to today where almost every city and town has a dojo offering a martial art.
When the early practitioners decided to use some of the techniques in a competition environment (primarily Judo), the art was changed for ever; from an unarmed combat fighting system that trained troops to kill (or they would be killed), to a points scoring sport.
But with the popularity of the martial arts has come the inevitable commercialization. From dojo’s that all look the same (offering the same limited syllabus), to dojo’s giving out black belts when the senior instructor feels like it, the growth of martial arts is not without it’s problems.
Commercialization is inevitable to a certain extent; even martial art masters have to pay their bills! But for the serious student who wants to learn the traditional techniques and ways, none of the styles can match Ju-Jitsu.
The first thing that new to Ju-Jitsu students will notice is the extensive syllabus. The vast majority of Ju-Jitsu styles have at least seven belts, including the black. Each belt will have a separate distinct set of techniques that must be performed to a suitable level before the student can progress to the next belt. Typically, each belt will require a minimum of three to four months of training before grading. Because of the extensive syllabus, it can take up to four years before a proficient student will achieve their black belt grade.
In recent years Brazilian Ju-Jitsu has become very popular – particularly in the United States. The Brazilian style differs from the more traditional Japanese style in that the majority of the techniques are ground based. That is not to say that practitioners of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu don’t do any throws or locking techniques, for instance, but majority of their techniques are designed around ground work.
To find a suitable dojo, prospective students should research their national association or federation. In Canada the Canadian Jui-Jitsu organization web site lists all of the major Ju-Jitsu associations. In the UK, the World Ju-Jitsu Federation is the largest federation of Ju-Jitsu practitioners with over 60,000 members (world-wide), and in the US the American Federation of Jujitsu or the American Jujitsu Association have member clubs throughout the states.