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BJJ: The Smooth Art vs. The Gentle Art

Maybe this is just me, but I have heard jiu jitsu, but I have heard jiu jitsu referred to as both “The Gentle Art” and  Arte Suave, or “The Smooth Art”. The most prominent example that comes to mind is Meerkatsu’s Jiu Jitsu Pirate shirt:

arrte suave

You wouldn’t think these terms would cause much confusion, except as a judoka (trust me, I’m using that term pretty loosely here) I’ve also heard the phrase ” The Gentle Art” used in reference to judo.

And if you’ve been thrown enough times in judo, you find the phrase to be pretty ironic.

So which is which?

Well, according to our friend Wikipedia, essentially the term judo is broken down into ju meaning “gentle” and do, meaning “way”. At one point judo was called jujutsu but the founder of Kodokan Judo, Jigoro Kano, decided to change the name:

“… he changed the second character to , meaning way, road or path, which implies a more philosophical context than jutsu and has a common origin with the Chinese concept of tao. Thus Kano renamed it judo…”

Jutsu (which can also be spelled jitsu) can be defined as “means”, “method” or “art”.

…Can I just mention that I’ve sort of had my fill of quotation marks at this point?

So where does the Smooth Art come in? That’s not a rhetorical question, I really want to know. Who decided jiu jitsu would be called “Arte Suave”- do people still use that term, or is that sort of like “fetch” from Mean Girls– someone tried to make it a thing and it never really took off?

fetch

Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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