Art is a big part of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Apart from the sports aspect, BJJ is first and foremost a martial art. If you believe the literal translation, “A gentle art”, though many who practice it would disagree. The beauty of BJJ (besides choking people out) is the opportunity to experiment and develop a unique style. The style a grappler develops is a true expression of themselves, which is a trait that Jiu Jitsu encourages. However, technical knowledge isn’t the only manner of expression at the disposal of grapplers. Some like to customize GIs, some go for wacky rashguards, some tie their belts in fancy ways. And some, go out and get Jiu Jitsu tattoos. Those are the cool ones.
In art that places emphasis on individual growth and development, the presence of tattoos is a certainty. People nowadays express their desires through a tattoo (or ten) since it’s a very popular way to do so. The creativity of the Jiu-Jitsu community offers a very entertaining collection of BJJ tattoos. Some are artistic and impressive, while others, well, not as impressive. In any case, it is a great way to demonstrate one’s appreciation and dedication to the art.
A Brief History Of Tattoo Culture
The name “tattoo” stands for “to mark something” in Tahitian. Historically, tattoos go as far back as 1200 BC. There were as many different meanings of tattoos, as they were cultures using them. They marked social status, practical skills, tribal affiliation or even “paranormal abilities”.
Egypt is considered the cradle of tattoo culture, using the spread of the empire to disseminate this custom. Japan was another empire with a rich history regarding tattoos. Form marking criminals, to a full body aesthetic art form Japan contributed greatly to the “needle and ink” culture.
In a warrior culture, nomadic Viking warriors are amongst the fiercest warriors with heavily decorated skins. The tattoos of Celtic warriors were called “meridian lines’ signifying their performance in battle. The famous samurai had complete torso tattoos depicting their armor patterns, so that can be identified if they died in battle. Even in modern times, special forces operators are heavy on the tattoo culture. Jiu-Jitsu Tattoos displayed by grapplers can certainly be considered in the “warrior ink” category.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tattoos
BJJ tattoos, just like BJJ styles, come in all shapes and sizes. In terms of meaning, Jiu-Jitsu tattoos mark everything, from belt rank, through brand logos to team affiliation. No matter the meaning they play a significant role in the spread of grappling culture. Jiu-Jitsu has spread so wide and far, that tattoos related to the gentle art are too many to track.
Below we present a wide selection of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tattoos. Although this modest collection doesn’t do the BJJ tattoo culture justice, it may give you some ideas. So browse through and make sure you share your BJJ ink!