While most people think of chokes and armbars when they
hear of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the martial art of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is much more
than simple grappling. In addition to defensive counters to a variety
of kicks and punches, a genuine Jiu Jitsu course-of-study includes strikes from
a variety of positions and ranges.
Because all of these strikes are illegal in
modern, sport Jiu Jitsu competitions, many practitioners overlook them in their
training or are completely unaware that they are part of the full-spectrum of
Jiu Jitsu techniques.
One of the most effective and versatile strikes of Gracie
Jiu Jitsu is the “pisao”. This is a
quick, thrusting kick to the opponents lead leg with very little “telegraphing”
movements to maintain the element of surprise.
The “pisao” from Jiu Jitsu may appear at first glance similar to the
side-kick from other martial arts (the Brazilian art of Capoeira has a Pisao
kick) but its particular “stomping” motion is meant not only as a percussive attack
but also as a vehicle to facilitate a quick entry to the clinch range.
The Pisao is used primarily for two purposes:
Defensive: as a harrying attack to
maintain the opponent at a manageable distance and to intercept or thwart the
Offensive: to break the opponent’s fighting rhythm
and enable the defender to close the distance safely.
When trying to stop an opponent from advancing, the
kick can be used defensively to undermine any incoming attack (punches, kicks, clinch
attempts). When the opponent’s attack
is interrupted mid-action, the defender can use the break in rhythm to close
the gap and clinch.
Pisao can be used repeatedly to arrest the opponent’s attempts to attack and can cause
enough frustration to force an error from the attacker.
However, the most common and effective use of the
Pisao kick is to utilize it proactively to cover the distance between two
fighters. In countless MMA,
No-Holds-Barred and “challenge matches”, members of the Gracie family and their
representatives can be seen using this kick to cover distance, clinch and takedown their
As the kick is executed at the knee or legs, the
opponent responds to the threat by either retreating, stopping his forward
momentum or pulling back on the lead leg.
The opponent’s reaction pauses his attack and compromises his base which
allows the half-beat necessary to close the distance and develop a full-control clinch.
Jiu Jitsu's function is self-defense. There are many ways to train and develop the
attributes and techniques to increase their effectiveness, including sportive
competition, but never lose sight of the original intent of Jiu Jitsu!