Despite the growing popularity of BJJ worldwide, it is still far from a mainstream sport in many places in the world. This means of course that many people; if they find out you do BJJ will still ask you the question “What is BJJ training?” which will usually be followed up by something like “Is it like karate?”.

How to Answer the What is BJJ Training Question

So when someone asks you “What is BJJ training?” or “What is it you do in BJJ training?”, what’s the best way to answer that question. And what if you are trying to answer the question in a way that will help convince the other person to join you in your BJJ journey?

This can be a confusing question to answer, and more than a few practitioners just avoid the “What is BJJ training?” question entirely and try to change the subject. And while this is a valid strategy against some people, like the office gossip, we fervently believe that the more people are exposed to the wonderful art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Fortunately we have a lot of experience answering these types of questions so the next time someone asks you “What is it you do in BJJ training?”, here are our top ways to answer.

The 4 Best Answers

#1 It’s like Judo or wrestling with chokes and joint locks

This is a great informative answer. Whether you decide to compare it with judo or wrestling depends on where you are in the world; some places might be more familiar with wrestling while in others they only think of wrestling as the WWE kind. You can then expand on the objective of BJJ compared to Judo or wrestling, saying that instead of a throw or pin, the objective is submission. As John Danaher so eloquently put it “Jiu-Jitsu is the art and science of control leading to submission”

what is jiu jitsu #2 It’s the ground wrestling portion that you see in MMA, without the strikes

If you know that whoever is asking watches MMA, then you can simply explain that BJJ generally refers to the ground grappling portion, without the strikes. Of course, you may train at a BJJ academy that does incorporate strikes, at least sometimes, so tailor your answer accordingly.

#3 We try our hardest to choke and twist each other’s joints the wrong way

A more direct but humorous response to someone who instead of wanting to know what is BJJ, wants to know specifically “What is it you do in BJJ training?” The casual nature of this reply is great for eliciting further interest in the topic and if whoever is asking has a positive response to this answer, you’ve got yourself a potential convert!

#4 It’s a self-defense art that focuses on using leverage to allow a smaller person to subdue a larger one

This is an eloquent response that is quite effective at getting more interest from the questioner, particularly if it’s a woman. By selling the self-defense aspect and the leverage focus, this answer is a great way to interest women in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.