It is usual to associate fighting sports with violence, blood or brute force. However, contradictorily, jiu-jitsu is a practice that arose from Buddhism, carried by the philosophy of Zen, which in few words arose in the pursuit of self-defense.
There is a lot of history behind this sport. Studies report that jiu-jitsu comes from India and arose for the need of Buddhist monks, the peace advocates, to protect themselves from attacks by Mongolian barbarians in a non-aggressive way, developing self-defense techniques based on balance principles, system of body articulation and levers to knock down and dominate the opponent. This martial art is the well-known jiu-jitsu, that was named thus, because it comes from the spellings jujutsu or ju-jitsu. (Jū – softness; jutsu – art, technique).
As the Buddhism was expanding, the sport traveled through Asia and arrived in Japan, where samurai warriors used jiu-jitsu techniques on battlefields, in case they lose their swords. Such defensive techniques were so fundamental as to become secret in Japan. Secret, of course, until the use of firearms become part of the war scenario. Still, martial arts were appreciated over time, becoming for a long time the most practiced sport in the country.
In Brazil, jiu-jitsu began in the early twentieth century, which according to theories was from Judo, starting out when the Japanese specialist of this sport and defender of jiu-jitsu techniques Mitsuyo Maeda, known as Count Koma, was sent to the country with the goal to spread the martial arts. In his visit to Brazil, he met the businessman Gastão Gracie with whom he had great affinity and in virtue started coaching Judo to his eldest son Carlos Gracie, who in turn passed the teachings to his brothers.
The judo, thus taught, underwent through adaptations by the Gracie family, who developed the Brazilian jiu-jitsu, known abroad by BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). Such adaptations emphasize techniques of fights on the ground, which were developed through practices and experiments, once they realized that those with smaller physical size were at a disadvantage against the larger ones. Therefore, during the fight on the ground, the most efficient technique became the lever which allowed athletes to use their opponent’s strength against themselves. In other words, the advantage was with those who used those techniques effectively, regardless of physical size.
However, over time, other techniques have been improved and emerged, such as immobilizations, key lock and finalizations. Therewith, jiu-jitsu practiced today by the Brazilians ended up differing somewhat from the traditional one, but the concept that the sport is practicable for all type of physical size is maintained until today.
Jiu-jitsu then, like all sports can cause certain injuries, however it can be affirmed that the martial arts besides being a safe sport and coming from a Zen philosophy, helps in self-defense, loss of calories, socialization, self-confidence, relief of stress, among other benefits.