Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a submission grappling combat sport. It is not only a sport but also embeds a complete lifestyle in the practitioner’s life. It teaches self-defense techniques that can be applied in real-life situations. The masters of BJJ, Helio, and Carlos Gracie saw Jiu-Jitsu as sacred art and dedicated their lives to it.
Triangle is among the most stable and strong shapes. Helio and Carlos Gracie chose this symbol to represent Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. It defines BJJ as a gentle art that instills stability, strength, and flexibility in the lives of its practitioners.
The triangle lays emphasis on the wholeness of techniques. It shows that the techniques are complete in their nature which can not only subdue your opponent but also builds muscle strength and an athletic physique.
Table of Contents
- 1. Gracie Family & BJJ
- 2. The Triangle Symbol
- 3. Why is a Triangle Shape used as a Symbol In BJJ?
- 4. Philosophy Behind The Triangle
- 5. Components of The BJJ Triangle
- 6. Triangle Itself as a Portrait of Dominant Position in BJJ
- 7. Rickson Gracie About The Triangle Symbol
- 8. Why is a Triangle Shape Used as a Logo?
- 9. Another BJJ Symbol - The BJJ Shaka
- 10. FAQs
- 10.1. Why is The Triangle Shape so Important In BJJ?
- 10.2. Can’t BJJ be Represented with the Symbol of a Square?
- 11. Conclusion
1. Gracie Family & BJJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu originated in Japan. Jigoro Kano is known as the forefather of BJJ. This gentle art came to Brazil and then reached every corner of the world. Mitsuyo Maeda began training with Kano in 1897. Maeda went to Brazil and taught this art to the Gracies. Gracie's family learned this martial art from Japanese masters and devoted their lives to mastering, fighting, and propagating Jiu-Jitsu in the world. They are famous for the creation of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (GJJ), which is also called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
2. The Triangle Symbol
The symbol used to represent BJJ is a triangle. This symbol is found on the logos of many BJJ academies in the World. It represents the solid base from which every BJJ practitioner trains and masters the gentle art. It is used to help practitioners understand the meaning of BJJ.
As we all know symbols are used to display and show the meaning of something. The same is the case with BJJ. The triangle tells us about the philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu which was laid by the Gracie Family. It is a classic symbol first used by the Gracie Family in Brazil. It is also called “The Gracie Triangle”.
2.1. Who Started Using Triangle Symbols in BJJ?
It was primarily used by the Gracie Family. Helio Gracie and Carlos Gracie, pioneers of BJJ and the first Gracies to learn BJJ, chose this symbol to represent BJJ.
3. Why is a Triangle Shape used as a Symbol In BJJ?
A Triangle is one of the most stable shapes. In BJJ, this shape represents stability, flexibility, perfection, and power. This bold symbol explains the essence of BJJ. It tells that BJJ is not only a sport rather it is a way of life.
A way of life that teaches stability and perfection. It balances the life of the practitioner. The Gracie family never saw BJJ as only a self-defense system. They rather invested their lives and curated a philosophy of life.
It is used as a symbol to represent how the mind, body, and spirit of a practitioner are enlightened. The symbol of the triangle exhibits the stable and firm base which every practitioner must exhibit.
4. Philosophy Behind The Triangle
The Gracie Triangle was not just a random shape chosen by Helio and Carlos Gracie. Gracie's Philosophy is deeply embedded in it. The triangle is the essence of this philosophy.
The Gracie triangle not only represents efficiency in the BJJ game but rather it advocates it as a purpose of life. Of course, efficiency is important in the game as a practitioner has to be fast enough to overcome the larger and more skilled opponent. A BJJ fighter needs to be efficient and fast in his move so that he can gain victory over his opponent.
The BJJ triangle is not only in sync with the philosophy of BJJ, but also it teaches how to incorporate that philosophy into everyday life. The BJJ practitioners learn how to exhaust their opponents through the fast and efficient application of techniques and saving their own energy.
The essence of Gracie’s ideology includes: eating healthy, being honest, and having a hardworking approach toward one’s life, relations and profession.
The fighter applying patient and articulate moves will mostly win the BJJ fight since remaining calm and precise execution of techniques are essential. BJJ is about control over your bigger opponent. The size of the opponent does not matter as long as your moves are well-calculated and on the exact spot. The BJJ triangle explains that the move must be complete and accurate.
Patience is essential to the execution of BJJ techniques, it is taught and applied in the daily mundane and domestic lives of every person's life.
The most important element in a BJJ fight is to impose your game plan on your opponent. To achieve that, your moves and techniques must be well-deciphered and in a controlled manner.
To control your opponent, you need to dominate him physically after which he will submit to your technique. The closed shape of the triangle emphasizes control. When a BJJ practitioner learns and exercises control in all areas of life, he will surely start putting his money where his mouth is, in terms of learning and progress.
5. Components of The BJJ Triangle
The three corners of the triangle personify the three components of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Mind is personified by one of the corners of the BJJ triangle. BJJ sharpens the mind of the practitioner. It increases the focusing ability of the fighter. The practitioner who is more calm and patient will have a lasting and dominant impression on his opponent. It also teaches discipline to its practitioners.
A strong and calm mind is able to function greatly in life as well as in combat sports.
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu enables the fighter to be aware of his body. BJJ is all about knowing the body movement, joint location, and manipulation of body joints to submit the opponent. It builds the muscles of the fighter as well as helps to shred the extra fat.
Techniques involved in Jiu-Jitsu emphasize increasing grip and muscle strength in the fighter.
The Gracie Triangle is itself a whole philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu. Every BJJ practitioner must know about the components as well as the philosophy behind this triangle.
It is personified by the last corner of the triangle. BJJ is mostly about the mental game. But it also acts as a bridge between the mind and the body of the fighter which directly affects his spirit. Jiu-Jitsu teaches its practitioners about the minute details of moderate to complex techniques, the mindset behind each submission application, and the right and wrong timing which enables practitioners to dive deep into their souls and discover themselves.
It can be seen that many BJJ fighters started BJJ just to lose weight or get out of depression. It was later that they realized how their spirits got connected with BJJ and then they pursued BJJ for their whole lives.
The triangle is not just a shape. It represents the whole essence of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
6. Triangle Itself as a Portrait of Dominant Position in BJJ
Triangle is not just a shape that symbolizes BJJ, it is also a position in which the fighter is in the dominant position and has full control over his opponent. It represents a firm and stable base that the fighter has so that his opponent can not subdue him.
The use of a triangle started when Master Carlos Gracie and Helio Gracie demonstrated it during Jiu-Jitsu teachings. It is also the cover of the first instructional Jiu-Jitsu book written by Master Carlos Gracie. This position is the perfect triangle in which the fighter controls the movements of his opponent.
6.1. Triangle Choke
A Choke is named Triangle Choke due to the shape of the fighter's legs and body. The fighter makes a triangle around the neck of his opponent which is hard for the opponent to escape and subsequently he submits.
It is BJJ’s signature submission. This choke is comparatively easy to apply and the chances of the opponent's submission are high. This is how Triangle Choke is approached:
- The fighter gains control of his opponent’s wrists.
- After gaining wrist control, the fighter presses one arm of the fighter into his torso, so that the opponent is in one arm in and one arm out position.
- The fighter explodes his hips upward in a way that limits the space between the fighter and his opponent's neck.
- The fighter then controls the head of his opponent and restricts his breathing process and eventually the opponent taps out.
7. Rickson Gracie About The Triangle Symbol
Master Rickson Gracie asked BJJ practitioners to visualize the BJJ triangle as a pyramid. It means that it does not matter which side of the pyramid is pushed, it will always land in a strong and firm state. It will be steady and this is what fighting techniques are in BJJ.
According to Rickson Gracie, the fighting techniques are centered around three points of contact. It means that in whatever position the fighter is, he will be able to attack his opponent even if his opponent tries to put him in a different position.
“If you imagine a perfect triangle in three dimensions - in pyramid form - you can see how you can push it to either side, and it will always be stable. It regains its solid position every time. The application of this concept works that way. When you are mounted on your opponent and have three points of contact, he can move you around and you will easily find your third point again. No matter how or where he moves you, you will be able to find his third point of support”.
Master Rickson Gracie is a 9th-Degree Red Belt in BJJ. He devoted his life to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
“In Jiu-Jitsu, the triangle has a deep meaning. It comes from my father, Helio Gracie, and my uncles, and from my own efforts to develop the art. For example, if you mount your opponent, his body will be one point and your knees will be the other points. There are always three points of contact. This does not mean you can not be moved, rather it means that the ways you can move are predictable. The fact that they are predictable means you can find an extra element to create a new third point whenever you need to”.
8. Why is a Triangle Shape Used as a Logo?
The Gracie Triangle represents a solid and stable base that all BJJ practitioners must have in order to build a well-rounded BJJ game. That is why the BJJ triangle is used as a logo. It acts as an identification symbol for BJJ. It is because the triangle is a strong shape.
The triangle is now part of almost every logo of a BJJ gym, school, or academy. For example, Gracie Barra.
9. Another BJJ Symbol - The BJJ Shaka
Shaka is an old symbol that is mostly used by the native people of Hawaii. It means “take it easy” or “things are great”. This symbol is mostly used in surfing culture in Hawaii. It came into BJJ through Rolls Gracie. He was a surfer and an excellent grappler.
Renzo Gracie is also credited for the inculcation of the Shaka symbol in BJJ.
10.1. Why is The Triangle Shape so Important In BJJ?
The Triangle shape is important because it depicts stability and strength. It displays three points of contact which a fighter can change and submit to his opponent even if his opponent tries to stop him.
10.2. Can’t BJJ be Represented with the Symbol of a Square?
BJJ is represented with a triangle because it is a stable shape. In a square, there are four points of contact which always keep the fighter in a locked position. Whereas, in a triangle, a fighter can easily subdue his opponent.
The Gracie triangle is used to represent the philosophy and components of the philosophy of BJJ. It depicts the stability, strength, and flexibility needed for a fighter to gain victory over his opponent. It is also used as a logo in almost all BJJ institutions to describe the philosophy of BJJ. Its components include the mind, body, and spirit of the BJJ fighter. It shows how the mind, body, and spirit of a fighter are affected when a fighter incorporates BJJ into his life.