The art of Jiu-Jitsu


The Mirror reporter

Want to learn self-defense? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might be the answer. Jiu-Jitsu was developed over 400 years ago in Japan. It first was used for disarming opponents in close combat fights. To learn more about the art I spoke with Paul Higgins, a practitioner of Jiu-Jitsu for over five years.


What is Jiu-Jitsu and how did it develop?

Jiu-jitsu is a self-defense system that developed originally in Japan. Jiu-Jitsu became Judo then it went around the world and ended up in Brazil. A gentleman named Helio Gracie kept getting beat by his older brothers, couldn’t win the Judo game, so he focused on the ground grappling aspect of it. Then he developed his own system which became Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Why do you do Jiu-Jitsu?

I do Jiu-Jitsu for practical reasons, self-defense and exercise, it’s a fun way to stay in shape. It’s like playing a video game where you have to solve the puzzle, but like you’re actually doing it. From a philosophical perspective it keeps you humble, keeps you focused, and always gives you something hard on a daily basis to remind you how to do things that are difficult.

What are the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu?

Physical fitness, little mental relaxation, stress relief. The big thing is as you get older it’s really easy to become cocky about your situation, but Jiu-Jitsu will humble you every day. Every day you think you’re good, think you got something figured out, someone’s going to go in there and show you that you don’t. I think that’s very important.

Do you think others should learn Jiu-Jitsu?

I think everyone should learn Jiu-Jitsu. I think being able to protect yourself is very important. I think the confidence it gives you is very important. Again, a lot of these people that I’ve found in my life that are a problem have uncontrolled arrogance. Getting it checked in a safe manner is very beneficial. You know they used to just crack you upside the head, you shouldn’t do that anymore. But this is a relatively safe way of imparting rough lessons on people.

Do you do any other martial arts? Do those help you with Jiu-Jitsu?

I do Mauy Thai and wrestling. The wrestling does a lot and just the general coordination helps very much.