Are you a Jiu Jitsu “fighter”?

When speaking with jiu jitsu guys who compete regularly you will often hear them refer to “fights” they’ve had in competition. I prefer to call those
“fights” matches, only because I believe that a fight must involve strikes.

When someone asks me how many fights I’ve had, my answer usually depends on how well I know them. If I don’t know the person well or they are a higher rank than me I usually tell them “two or three” or say how many matches I’ve had. But, if I know the person well my answer is usually: “Fights? No fights, three matches”. (So there you have it, the more I know you the more of an asshole I am!)

Then there is the term jiu jitsu fighter. Judo guys are called players, wrestlers don’t have fights, they wrestle. You may disagree but I think both judokas and wrestlers are tougher than your average jiu jitsu “fighter”.

The thing is, most jiu jitsu guys call their matches “fights” and a lot of old school legends call them fights too, so who am I to disagree with our Brazilian ancestors? So to settle it let’s get out the dictionary, that’ll prove me right!

The Oxford English Dictionary lists the meaning of fight as the following:

verb (past and past participle fought /fɔːt/)

1 take part in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons

I knew it! “Involving the exchange of physical blows”. There are no blows in jiu jitsu! But wait, “or the use of weapons”. Shit, is the gi a weapon? Nah! The gi is a uniform, the word gi comes from the word judogi which is a uniform. Ok cool, we don’t fight as per the Oxford Dictionary, but wait………

….the next paragraph of the dictionary reads:

2 struggle to overcome, eliminate, or prevent

Damn straight! In competition you need to overcome your opponent, you are trying to eliminate him from the competition and you’re trying to prevent him from beating you.

So there you have it, I was wrong and everyone else was right!

What do you think? Are they fights? Are you a jiu jitsu “fighter”? Or will you be like me and call them matches or contests and just be a regular old jiu jitsu guy?

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One thought on “Are you a Jiu Jitsu “fighter”?

  1. Thanks for this. I’ve also fumbled at times when speaking about jiu-jitsu tournaments. To fellow jiu-jiteiros I use the terms interchangeably, fight, match, competition. To people who know me but don’t know jiu-jitsu that well, I tend to say match more b/c they associate fight with boxing or striking, per se.

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