Jiu-Jitsu and Yoga

If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere – Frank A. Clark

The same path

Although yoga and jiu-jitsu seem to be two completely different disciplines, they have some similarities. There are speculations that the so-called gentle martial arts (that is to say the ancestors of Jiu-Jitsu) come from the Vedic culture, from which they then entered Buddhism and proceeded to be expanded there. Buddhist monks brought these martial arts together with the principles of yoga to Japan.

The principle of “not harming”

One of the basic moral principles of a yogi is ahimsa, which means non-violence. However, it would be a mistake, to assume that this is equivalent to “not fighting”. It simply means not being the aggressor. All so-called gentle martial arts have the claim of directing the power of the opponent against himself. In jiu-jitsu, the opponent is first given the opportunity to recognize his position and give up the resistance – which could be compared to a negotiated armistice. If the opponent tries to continue the fight, the pressure is further applied, which generally leads to his temporary or permanent combat inability.

Modern jiu-jitsu (better known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) is, in our opinion, primarily self-defense, after which comes the sporting aspect.

Just like yoga, jiu-jitsu is also concerned about pragmatism. Both arts do not have the claim of absolute, that is, immutable truth, but are interpreted differently by the performers, adapted to their respective physique and motor skills, and thus evolve constantly. What is no longer sufficient for individual requirements is rejected.

In yoga as well as in jiu-jitsu, one can sometimes see a tendency to make a cult out of an art based on pragmatism – but this is another topic.

The synthesis of yoga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The asanas (physical exercises) of yoga promote both attention and relaxation and correct a unilateral musculature. Together with the pranayamas, they help the jiu-jitsu practitioner develop flexibility and core stability as well fight energy-saving. This is unclear, do you want to say “increase stamina”

On the other hand, the complex movements of jiu-jitsu are also interesting for the yoga practitioner because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not a solo performance, but interacts with space itself, with the floor, the mats, and not least with a partner or opponent. Close contact with different types of opponents and temperaments can lead to a feeling of connectedness, regardless of the social and cultural background of the person.

From a mental point of view, yoga helps the jiu-jitsu practitioners prepare themselves for a long and hard journey, never losing focus. With meditation, physical and mental stress can be better managed.

Jiu-Jitsu, on the other hand, literally gives the Yogi a sense of grounding, since dealing with an opponent does not allow room for fantasies. Every wrong decision has inevitable consequences and you pay a price for it. A Yogi who engages in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu learns to deal with reality as it is.

The union of yoga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can considerably expand its own horizon. We focus our attention on the immediate present, on what we are doing. We will make better decisions in the future and, last but not least, we learn to listen to our bodies and thus avoid injuries or give them the time to heal.

A special thanks to Michael and Eike for improving this content