Everyone knows that jiu-jitsu is part of the foundation of mixed martial arts. Without jiu-jitsu, the UFC would not even exist. It was Rorion Gracie that originally started the UFC as a platform to prove jiu-jitsu’s efficiency against other martial arts. His brother Royce Gracie was successful in proving this and the UFC began its ascent. Overtime, as athletes became more educated about the techniques that were useful or not, wrestling and muay thai were added essentials to a fighter’s arsenal.
Nowadays jiu-jitsu has evolved according to the required task at hand. For example, cops have been using jiu-jitsu training for many years now to fine-tune their skills so that they can subdue any suspects with the least amount of damage. Although this is not always possible, jiu jitsu does allow for it.
Next, there is sport jiu-jitsu. Let’s face it, jumping guard and playing 50/50 until sliding into a berimbolo isn’t going to help you in a street fight. In the case of sport jiu-jitsu, the game has evolved to achieve the goal of the sport athlete: win a match according to the rules (be it by a submission, points, or advantage). Depending on the athlete’s style, they may prioritize one method over the other. Some athletes adapt their game to gain position with little focus on a submission, where as some have a game where their priority is to get a submission as quickly as possible from anywhere.
Another “school” of jiu-jitsu is self-defense, which is the original intent of the jiu-jitsu that Helio Gracie preached. However, it should be noted that Japanese jiu-jitsu (where BJJ and judo all stem from) was originally the form of combat that the samurais used in war, which ranged from self-defense all the way to the mastery of several different weapons. All these different skills branched out over time into their own specialized disciplines. In a way, the jiu-jitsu we know today is the ground specialization branch of the samurais’ original art. They had to know how to defend themselves properly should a fight had gone to the ground. They had never developed their technique into things like the berimbolo or pulling guard, as they would have never needed something so impractical for their intent.
The self-defense form of jiu-jitsu is probably the purest to its original intent. Most good schools implement the importance of self-defense in jiu-jitsu right from the beginning of white belt level. Practitioners would do well to remember the base of the sport. You could be winning all the tournaments in the black belt division in your town, but if you can’t escape a headlock or bear hug from behind, you’re training will have a glaring hole. Self-defense jiu-jitsu has become very popular and it is a strong attraction for children who are bullied at school and those who want to upgrade their personal safety.