Jujutsu is a Japanese martial art and a method of close combat for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon or only a short weapon. The word jujutsu is often spelled as jujitsu, ju-jitsu or jiu-jitsu. This is due to the difficulties in translating the Japanese writing system, which uses ideograms, to languages which use an alphabet. When the martial art spread to foreign countries the word jujutsu was adopted to describe it, although in many cases the romanization wasn’t known at the time of adoption so it was written down phonetically.
“Jū” can be translated to mean “gentle, supple, flexible, pliable, or yielding.” “Jutsu” can be translated to mean “art” or “technique” and represents manipulating the opponent’s force against himself rather than confronting it with one’s own force. Jujutsu developed among the samurai of feudal Japan as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon, or only a short weapon. Because striking against an armored opponent proved ineffective, practitioners learned that the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker’s energy against him, rather than directly opposing it.
There are many variations of the art, which leads to a diversity of approaches. Jujutsu schools may utilize all forms of grappling techniques to some degree (i.e. throwing, trapping, joint locks, holds, gouging, biting, disengagements, striking, and kicking). In addition to jujutsu, many schools teach the use of weapons.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art, combat sport, and a self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. The art was brought to Brazil by Mitsuyo Maeda. Maeda originally practiced classical styles of Jiu Jitsu, eventually entering the Kodokan to study Judo.
Maeda was living in Brazil to help establish a Japanese Immigration colony. At this time Brazil held the largest population of Japanese people outside Japan. He was aided in this effort to establish the colony in Brazil by Gastao Gracie. The introduction to Jiu Jitsu to the Gracie family was a key turning point to its popularity.
Brazillian Jiu-jitsu promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique – most notably by applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person.