The synthesis of Jiu-Jitsu and Yoga

Different paths, same goal

Although yoga and jiu-jitsu seem to be two completely different disciplines, they have similarities. Speculations that the so-called gentle martial arts (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 fundamental 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 claim to direct the opponent’s power against himself. In jiu-jitsu, the opponent is first allowed to recognize his position and give up the resistance – which could be compared to a negotiated armistice. Suppose the opponent tries to continue the fight. In that case, the pressure is further applied, leading to his temporary or permanent combat inability.

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

Just like yoga, jiu-jitsu is also concerned with pragmatism. Both arts do not claim absolute, immutable truth but are interpreted differently by the performers and thus evolve constantly. What is no longer sufficient for individual requirements is rejected.

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

The synthesis of yoga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The asanas (physical exercises) of yoga promote attention, relaxation, and correct posture. Together with the pranayamas, they help the jiu-jitsu practitioner develop flexibility and core stability and fight energy-saving. 

On the other hand, the complex movements of jiu-jitsu are also interesting for the yoga practitioner. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not a solo performance but interacts with space itself, with the floor, the mats, and, not least, with an 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 jiu-jitsu practitioners prepare themselves for a long and complicated journey, never losing focus. In addition, with meditation, physical and mental stress can be better managed.

On the other hand, Jiu-Jitsu 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 the 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 on the immediate present and 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 time to heal.

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