The Gentle Art – Understanding the Philosophy of BJJ

Article by: Finn Coleman

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, often referred to as ‘the gentle art’, is one of the most popular martial arts today, and a foundational combat sport in Mixed Martial Arts. For the uninitiated, labelling a martial art as ‘gentle’ may seem contradictory – how can a discipline involving combat be non-violent, right? At its core, however, BJJ is not just about combat; it’s a philosophy as well. Let’s take more of a look at ‘the gentle art’, exploring the history and philosophy beyond one of the most effective martial arts in the world.


The History of BJJ

BJJ has its origins in Japanese Judo, which was brought to Brazil by Mitsuyo Maeda. The Gracie family, a name synonymous with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, played a pivotal role in developing the sport, adapting and refining Japanese Judo into BJJ. The techniques in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu emphasise leverage, technique, and efficiency over brute strength, and does not involve striking of any kind – another reason the art is considered more ‘gentle’ than other combative disciplines. Today, BJJ is one of the most recognisable and respected martial arts worldwide.


BJJ: A Mindset

At the heart of BJJ is the idea that a smaller, weaker person can overcome a larger, stronger opponent through technique and strategy. This concept extends beyond the mat also, teaching practitioners that success is not solely determined by physical attributes, but also by one’s mindset and determination. Practising BJJ at The Ironfist Gym Brisbane instils the belief that every problem has a solution, and that persistence and patience are key.



One of the cornerstones of BJJ philosophy is respect. Ironfist prides itself on fostering an atmosphere of respect for everyone who steps through the door. Practising BJJ, you will quickly realise that there is always going to be someone better, stronger, or more skilled than you – which is a good thing! This means that there is always room for improvement, and always reason to be humble.


Problem Solving

BJJ is often referred to as “human chess” because of the highly technical nature of the martial art, which requires the ability to think several moves ahead. The philosophy of BJJ encourages problem solving and adaptability; just as in life, situations on the mat can change rapidly. BJJ practitioners learn to assess and adapt to these changes, a skill that has real-world applications. Much like in a BJJ match, there is always a solution to any problem.



Beyond the host of benefits that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu offers to the individual, BJJ is universally known for the strength of its community. Those that stick with BJJ at The Ironfist Gym will find themselves at home in a tight-knit community that works together to build each other up. The journey from White Belt to Black Belt is an endeavour that will take upwards of a decade, and the bonds formed through shared training experiences can last a lifetime. This support system extends beyond the gym, creating a network of like-minded individuals and friends for life.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is more than just a martial art; it’s a philosophy that promotes respect, humility, problem solving and community. It teaches us that physical size and strength are not the only factors that determine success. The gentle art of BJJ extends its principles to everyday life, helping practitioners face challenges with confidence. Whether you’re on or off the mat, engaging in the philosophy of BJJ can be a life-changing experience.


If you are ready to see what BJJ is all about for yourself, Get in touch. There is no experience required – our expert coaches will welcome you whether you have never rolled in your life, or are a lifelong BJJ practitioner.


Thinking about trying out BJJ? Get in touch – Book your free trial here today.

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Phone: (+07) 0431 685 085

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