BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) is a martial art that combines grappling techniques with striking.
The sport has become very popular over the last decade, especially due to its high level of competition, and a competitive element has naturally arisen over the course of its lifetime.
Part of this involves a ranking system of colors, both in terms of belts, and in terms of gi – this refers to the type of clothing worn by competitors during matches.
The color scheme used in BJJ is quite different from most other forms of MMA, as well as some other combat sports such as boxing or wrestling, and we will take a closer look at the significance of color – particularly when used in relation to the Gi.
What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
BJJ as we now know it was founded in the 1920s by Carlos Gracie Jr., who adapted the ethos, practices, and techniques from a known judo master, Matsuo Maeda, who traveled to Brazil after spending time training and fighting in Japan.
Upon arriving in Brazil, Maeda focused on a blend of judo and jiu-jitsu; a practice that would soon be taken up and adapted by the Gracie family, who would go on to form the sport as we now recognize it in the modern world.
BJJ is a stand-up grappling style, where two opponents fight one another using various holds and throws while trying to submit their opponent.
It is also a highly technical sport, involving many small details that can make or break an encounter. In addition to the submission holds and throws, there are also several joint locks and chokes, which are often used to force your opponent to tap out.
In order to compete in BJJ tournaments, you must wear a gi. This is a loose-fitting top, usually made of cotton, and is designed to help protect the wearer from injury.
While wearing a gi may seem like a minor detail, it actually plays a large role in the success of a BJJ match.
What Are The Basic Principles Of BJJ?
The basic principles of BJJ are very simple and are essentially just variations on the same theme. There are five major principles that form the foundation of the art:
- Control – You need to control your opponent’s movement, and prevent them from escaping.
- Defense – Your goal is to defend yourself against attacks, and to avoid getting hit.
- Submission – When you get close enough to your opponent, you want to use techniques such as chokes and joint locks to force submission.
- Movement – You should move constantly, using footwork, sweeps, and transitions to keep your opponents off-balance.
- Balance – You have to maintain good posture throughout a fight and make sure that you don’t fall over.
These principles are often referred to as “the pillars of BJJ” because they form the foundation upon which all other techniques and positions are built upon.
Essentially, these five pillars provide the base for everything else, and without them, there would be no BJJ.
What Are The Basic Moves In BJJ?
In order to understand the different moves in BJJ, we will first need to cover a few terms.
- Guard Pass – An attack where an attacker uses his weight to push you into a position where he can initiate a takedown attempt.
- Mount – When you mount your opponent, you take him down to the ground.
- Pinning Position – When you pin your opponent to the mat, you cause him to lose balance, and put him at risk of being submitted.
- Takedown – When you successfully submit your opponent.
In the simplest terms, there are two types of techniques in BJJ, defenses, and offenses.
These are techniques that you use to protect yourself from an incoming attack; the sole purpose of a defense is to prevent your opponent from attacking you.
There are several different ways that you can defend against an attack, and these include:
- Blocks – These are defensive maneuvers that involve blocking an attack with your arm or leg.
- Chops – These are defensive maneuvers where you block an attack with your forearm.
- Sweeps – These are defensive maneuvers in which you sweep your opponent’s legs out from underneath him.
These are techniques that allow you to attack your opponent. They are generally categorized into two groups:
- Attacks – Attacks are techniques that aim to inflict damage on your opponent. Examples of attacks include:
- Kicks – Kicking techniques involve kicking your opponent.
- Leglocks – Leg locks involve locking your opponent’s limbs together so that he cannot move.
- Grappling – Grappling involves using your hands and feet to control your opponent.
- Submissions – Submissions are techniques that force your opponent to tap out.
Should I Wear A Gi In BJJ?
There are pros and cons to wearing a gi in BJJ. On the positive side, if you train regularly, then wearing a gi will help improve your performance.
It also helps you feel comfortable while training and gives you a sense of unity with other students.
However, wearing a gi may make it harder to roll, depending on how tight it fits. Some people also find it annoying to wear a gi all the time, especially during warm-ups, as they feel that it restricts their movement.
Ultimately, the decision to wear a gi is a personal one, and may also be dictated by the club that you train at, or any competitions that you enter.
Gi Colors: What Does They Represent?
BJJ clubs accept three main colors for your gi: white, black, and royal blue, and these are the colors that will be considered acceptable during competition.
Gi colors can be used to reflect the training style, club, or academy that you are representing, but the majority of fighters will opt for white thanks to the connections to purity and truth unless specifically directed otherwise.
Essentially, the color of the gi is less important than your belt; the rules and messages around colored gis will depend largely on the context and environment that you are fighting in, and the significance tends to come in a competitive environment, or if specified by your club.
How To Wear A Gi In BJJ
When it comes to wearing a gi in BJJ, there are two main options:
This is the traditional look for a BJJ gi. It consists of a white top with a blue stripe down the middle and a red bottom. The top has a collar, sleeves, and shoulder straps, while the bottom has a hemmed skirt.
This style of gi is worn by many people today and is still used by some high-ranking competitors. However, it does tend to lack practicality, since it is difficult to wear under clothing, and it makes it hard to perform certain movements (such as rolling).
A modern gi looks similar to a typical sportswear outfit, but it lacks the collar and sleeve design. Instead, it has a more relaxed fit and is usually made of cotton or polyester.
As a result, this style of gi tends to be much easier to wear under clothing than the traditional one.
Although the modern gi is becoming increasingly popular among new practitioners, it is not widely accepted by most high-level competitors.
This is because it doesn’t offer the protection that the traditional gi provides, and it can be uncomfortable when you are rolling.
BJJ Belt Colors
As mentioned above, the color of a gi is important in BJJ competitions – although this is less crucial when you are simply training on the mat. A colored belt, on the other hand, can represent a number of things, but the most common ones include:
- White Belt – White Belts are awarded to beginners, and are typically given out by instructors. These are not official BJJ titles, so they do not have any special meaning beyond being a symbol of beginner status.
- Blue Belt – Blue Belts are awarded to students who have completed their first year of study. These are the lowest ranking belts available and are generally only awarded to those who have demonstrated excellent progress in their studies.
- Purple Belt – Purple Belts are awarded to advanced students, and are considered to be the amongst highest-ranking belt available. These are typically awarded to students who have shown exceptional progress in their studies and are recognized as having mastered the basics of the art.
- Black Belt – Black Belts are awarded to instructors, and are considered to have reached the pinnacle of mastery within the art.
There are also black belts that are awarded based on specific criteria, including longevity in teaching, winning championships, etc.
Things To Remember In BJJ
BJJ is a fast-paced, exciting sport that can offer participants a number of benefits, including:
- Increased strength and flexibility
BJJ will offer incredible benefits for your overall strength and flexibility, as well as general fitness. Many people report feeling stronger after just a few months of training, and this effect continues to grow over time.
- Improved self-confidence
The confidence boost provided by BJJ is often underestimated, but it is an incredibly powerful tool for improving your life.
Training with others, and learning how to control your opponents, will help you develop a sense of pride and respect for yourself.
- Enhanced mental health
BJJ offers a great deal of mental stimulation, which may benefit your overall emotional state.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of competition, and the adrenaline rush produced during sparring sessions can provide a welcome distraction from everyday stressors.
- Improved social skills
Training in BJJ will give you the opportunity to meet new friends and make valuable connections with like-minded individuals.
You will learn about different cultures and lifestyles, and may even find yourself traveling abroad to train or compete; this is a hobby that could quickly have a significant impact on your life.
How Do I Get Started With BJJ?
If you’re interested in getting started with BJJ, there are many ways to go about it. The best way to determine what approach would work best for you is to contact local schools and ask them if they offer classes.
If they don’t, then consider contacting gyms that specialize in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
They should be able to point you towards someone who does teach BJJ, and this will ensure that you have access to a qualified, experienced coach – this is important for staying safe while you train.
If you decide to take private lessons, you’ll need to choose between one-on-one instruction or group classes.
One-on-one classes tend to cost more than group classes, but they allow you to focus on individual attention and personal development. Group classes are ideal for beginners, since everyone has access to the same instructor, and they are generally less expensive.
When choosing a school, look for one that provides a good balance of both styles.
This means that you will be working out alongside other students at all times, so you won’t feel isolated or alone, but still have the individual attention that you need to improve.
BJJ is an exciting sport that has the potential to offer amazing benefits to your life – and all you have to do is head to your first class!
You will be grading, competing, and training with the best in no time, and the advantages will see your life totally transformed.
About The Author: Ahmed Mir
Ahmed Mir is the founder of MMA Boxx. After a weightlifting injury redirected his athletic journey, Ahmed discovered a passion for mixed martial arts (MMA), immersing himself in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.
Beyond the mat, Ahmed lives in Thailand and is a seasoned entrepreneur, earning recognition in notable publications such as Entrepreneur, Legal Zoom, and The Washington Post.
As the visionary behind MMA Boxx, he’s dedicated to fostering a community where enthusiasts can explore the world of MMA.