Evolution of Jiu Jitsu, Sport or Self-Defense?

Is Jiu Jitsu evolving or is it simply something that occurs with growth? Evolution spans from growth and in our opinion Jiu Jitsu is definitely growing because its popularity has exploded with the evolution of the internet, online academies, social media, youtube, and more. Jiu Jitsu and competitive Sport Jiu Jitsu have been going on for over a decade, it has just grown more popular recently, for example, many great competitors and people that have impacted the sport grappled in the 90′s. Some of these include Royler Gracie, Robson Moura, Marcelo Pereira, and many more. Robson Moura is in the IBJJF hall of fame for 5 gi world titles which he won in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002. Robson agree’s Jiu Jitsu is evolving, and that people are changing how they train. In a documentary with All Things BJJ titled “Evolution of Jiu Jitsu,” (you can find the link here)Robson stated “Jiu Jitsu is evolving and people are playing the rule book and becoming point fighters.” We agree but believe this is because Jiu Jitsu has grown with online academies, youtube videos of competition, social media, and more. The sport has become more competitive, there are so many world class black belts, some including the Mendes Bro’s, the Miyao Bro’s, Keenan Cornelius, Andre Galvao, Braulio Estima, Gianni Grippo, Bernardo Faria, and we could go on for days. That being said more people are competing, and they have access to the knowledge many of these top tier competitors hold with the internet, so they utilize it and train competition specific Jiu Jitsu.

Since Jiu Jitsu is growing, you could almost say its transitioning from holding the perception of being a self-defense method to becoming a competitive sport. Yes, Jiu Jitsu will always be an art, a martial art to add, but it can also be a sport. A sport as defined by the Oxford dictionary is “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” We believe Jiu Jitsu 100% constitutes as a sport, especially with the internet these days. So many videos of BJJ matches can be found with over hundreds of thousand of views. Individuals are constantly competing, so now people often do train by the rule book and play points, they’re athletes trying to win. The rules in IBJJF have changed and continue to change in order to accommodate the mass growth of Jiu Jitsu. In our eyes, all of this is great in the long run and we’re glad so many people love the art. Many people say things such as “people don’t hunt for submissions,” “double guard is boring,” or “50/50 is lame,” but all of these things are trends and as Jiu Jitsu evolves so does the technique. The Berimbolo was and remains so popular, and there are now people who can effectively counter it and also people who are amazing at it. People don’t realize the growth of Jiu Jitsu, the “real berimbolo” video by the Mendes Bro’s is at over 180,000 views on youtube, thats INSANE! Awesome to know that many people are inspired to learn the art and such a good technique for competition. All that said, Jiu Jitsu is still a martial art, how you choose to use the art is your decision. If you want to go to a bjj class once a week, or train 6 hrs a day you choose your life. Like anything else, Boxing is a martial art, like Muay Thai, some train for fun, and others to compete!

So yes Jiu Jitsu is evolving, well we think its just part of the growth. To classify it as a sport is good because it is, but it is also a martial art, so in the end we believe its all just JIU JITSU. If you practice as a hobby just a few times a week, or if you train 6 hrs a day and compete full time, we all train the same art that has been trained for decades. Some people say that people who compete in sport Jiu Jitsu or train stuff like berimbolo’s can’t make their bjj street applicable. We here at The Jiu Jitsu laugh at these statements. In our opinion, if you can compete or can do complex techniques like these, you can defend your self and make your fundamentals street applicable! If you compete and it is your life, or just take a class once a week, everyone is a Jiu Jitsu Martial Artist contributing to the growth of what we love.

-Written by- Aaron Benzrihem- Editor @TheJiuJitsu