Jiu Jitsu promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and technique, most notably by applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person movements. Training can be used for sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition or self defense. Sparring and live drilling play a major role in training.

The essence of Jiu-Jitsu is the ability to move or flow from one technique to another in order to defend oneself efficiently and effectively. The ability for an exponent of Jiu-Jitsu to adapt in any situation, to fight empty handed, grapple, or use any type of weapon against an opponent, helps define Jiu-Jitsu as the ultimate self-defense art the literal translation of Jiu-Jitsu is the art of gentleness or pliancy. Jiu-Jitsu is not a contest of muscular skill and strength; rather it relies on natural biomechanics, balance, leverage and timing. Because of this, Jiu-Jitsu is the perfect art for self-defense and does not rely on any one advantage such as size, weight, height and reach between opponents. Jiu-Jitsu is equally accessible to men and women and is an extremely practical and effective form of self-defense.

Emphasis on striking techniques, balance displacement techniques, throws and takedowns, joint manipulation, restraints and immobilizations, ground grappling, and weapons defense makes Jiu-Jitsu a very complete art of self-defense. It differs from modern arts, such as Judo and Karate, in that the main goal is self-preservation.