What is Jiu Jitsu…. to me? Part 1

19 Nov , 2021 philosophy

What is Jiu Jitsu…. to me? Part 1



Simple answer – Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that utilises joint locks, holds, throws and striking to vulnerable areas to defeat aggression with an aim to use the attackers energy against them.

Although my favourite short answer I have seen is:

1. The gentle art of folding clothes while people are still in them

2. Involuntary yoga

Made me chuckle.

But what is Jiu Jitsu… to me? That is a much bigger question.

We always talk about the physical bit, the stuff you can see on You Tube. This is the core, the bit people want to come and try as well as being something I love. How I see Jui jitsu is greater than that though. I am proud to say that I have never had to fully use my physical skills to defend myself (a follow up post on this is to come) but I actually use the greater skills, the attitude and mind set daily.

It makes me consider the difference between Budo and Bujutsu. Budō is a compound of bu (武:ぶ), meaning “war” or “martial”; and dō (道:どう;, meaning “path” or “way”. Dō signifies a “way of life”. Bujutsu is a compound of the roots bu (武), and jutsu (術:じゅつ), meaning technique. Thus, budō is translated as “martial way”, or “the way of war” while bujutsu is translated as “science of war” or “martial craft.” Budo and bujutsu have quite a delicate difference; whereas bujutsu only gives attention to the physical part of fighting (how to best defeat an enemy), budo also gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself.

Attitude is critical to the ability to train and use Jiu Jitsu (and will be expanded in a future post). Jiu jitsu has challenged me to expand and develop key attitudes such as resilience, creativity, dealing with pressure and incredibly both confidence and humility. Having the best technique in the world will mean nothing if you collapse at the first sign of stress because in a fight there will be the most incredible pressure. Building these attitudes is pivotal to the effectiveness of any martial art

To me Jiu Jitsu is all about balance, not just physical balance but balancing advantage and disadvantage. I have been quoted many times saying that I don’t want to fight a fair fight, this is to look to place yourself with as many possible advantages as possible whilst placing the attacker(s) at the greatest disadvantage. To win a war with the minimum battles. As the maxim of Judo states, “minimum effort, maximum effect”. We take that into different contexts and remove all fair play!

To me Jiu Jitsu is a beautiful physical art taught by a fantastic community of people who I can trust to push me to learn, pressure me to grow and smile as they reach to pick me back up again. It is an art that can teach me “if, when and how” to deal with the challenges life presents me in self-defence situations and beyond.

Why is this “What is Jiu Jitsu to me? Part 1?” Well it’s a huge question but also that as I keep learning I really hope my understanding keeps evolving. I love learning this stuff.


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