What Makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu an Effective Martial Art?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that has become increasingly popular due to the success of its practitioners in mixed martial arts (MMA) tournaments. It has been demonstrated time and again that BJJ is an amazingly effective way to dominate an opponent in a grappling-style self-defence situation or in a sporting contest. Here, we take a closer look at BJJ, exploring what it is and why it is so effective.

What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of martial art based around grappling and ground fighting. It utilizes takedowns, holds, locks, and chokes to put an opponent in a disadvantageous position and finish them off with a submission. It is the most effective self-defence system for close-quarters combat, as the clinching and ground fighting techniques it adopts are designed to turn an opponent’s strength and aggression against them.

BJJ incorporates techniques from a variety of traditional martial arts styles, such as Judo, wrestling, and Sambo. It was developed by the Gracie family of Brazil in the early 20th century, which is why it is sometimes referred to as ‘Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.’ It is one of the core components of modern MMA, and a lot of mainstream brawlers must have a sophisticated understanding of it to compete effectively.

Why Is BJJ So Effective?

While most martial arts focus more on strikes and kicks, BJJ focuses on the power of leverage and positioning. A BJJ practitioner will rarely need to outmuscle their opponent to win, as the techniques use the opponent’s strength and movement against them. In this way, even a relatively small person can put a larger opponent in a difficult spot.

Lessons in Leverage

The core of BJJ is combining joint locks and holds with body positioning so that a practitioner can achieve the most advantageous position. This is achieved through a great deal of training in which practitioners learn the ‘sweet spots’ of joint locks and holds. By combining the two, a practitioner can, for example, force an opponent’s arm into an uncomfortable position and use his body to keep it there despite the person’s thrashing.

Know Thyself

Any BJJ practitioner must have an understanding of their own body, as well as a familiarity with the basics of other martial arts. They must know their strengths, weaknesses, and limits to make the most of their training and the more time they spend training, the more familiar they will become with the limits of their body and the best ways to move it.

Know Thy Enemy

Besides familiarity with their own body and the principles of martial arts, a BJJ practitioner should also possess knowledge of their opponent’s bodies. This is vital in a competitive situation, as one must be able to quickly read the situation and adapt as needed. It is also important to become familiar with the opponent’s style of play so that one can use the most effective technique to overcome them.

A Never-Ending Journey

Finally, a true BJJ practitioner needs to have an appreciation for the journey that is BJJ. As it is based on leverage and positioning, there is always the possibility to use a clever technique or combination of techniques that one has never used before. As such, BJJ is seen as a never-ending exploration of techniques and new ideas, which means that one should always be learning and adjusting their game to suit their opponent.


The effectiveness of BJJ comes from its philosophy of understanding the body and the principles of martial arts and combining them into a system of give-and-take and positioning. It is a continuously evolving martial art as practitioners are always discovering new techniques, developing new strategies, and refining their game. It is this process of constant experimentation and adaptation that gives BJJ its effectiveness and is why practitioners can count on it to deliver victory in any situation.

If you want to learn the art of BJJ, it’s best to learn only from the best. Marcus Soares Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a BJJ training academy that offers classes for all levels, from beginner to professional. With the highest quality instruction and a focus on self-development, you can be sure that you will gain the skills needed to become a successful BJJ practitioner. Enroll today and join the Marcus Soares Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu family!