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JIU JITSU GI
apanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
"What is the difference between Japanese (classical) Jiu-Jitsu (jujutsu) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?"
The first and most important reason can be found in the art's history and is primary to all others discussed afterward. When you research the history of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, you will understand that it came from "Judo" in its time of renaissance. In the early 1900's, Judo was being developed from a variety of Jiu-jitsu styles in order to make it the most complete and effective martial art in the world.
Some older Jiu-jitsu schools only focused on one area of fighting (some practiced primarily standing techniques) and had been left without a realistic battlefield testing ground for hundreds of years. If you recall the history of Judo's beginning, you know that it was made up of mostly standing techniques at first, from Kito Ryu Jiu-jitsu and a few other styles. This alone was not enough, so the groundwork of Fusen Ryu was added, making it more complete.
When you say "traditional" or "Japanese" Jiu-jitsu, you are referring to only one of these Jiu-jitsu styles, which is incomplete alone. When you say Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, you are referring to the best techniques from a wide variety of styles.
Our Jiu-Jitsu in the United States was underdeveloped compared to the Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil. Only now are we beginning to catch up, and we are still suffering from the inadequacies of the 'older' and more traditional schools of Jiu-Jitsu in this country. To give you an idea of what I mean, I'll tell you a little about my training. I earned a black belt in a classical style of Jiu-Jitsu,
which taught all the Judo throws of the Kodokan and Aikijitsu (the grandfather of Aikido). It was a great art, but one that could not be used on anyone with skill effectively before complete mastery. I was subsequently defeated by a student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who was only at blue belt level, while I was a black belt in traditional Jiu-Jitsu. Why? Lack of realistic practice is the reason. There was too much of: "you stay perfectly still while I try an extravagant technique on you and you play along."
There are many techniques which is where Judo is great, and some traditional schools teach techniques that were designed thousands of years ago whose applications have not been modified or thought about since. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is simple to learn, so simple that a dedicated student of one year can easily beat martial artists of other styles who have many years of experience.