Jiu Jitsu Tattoo: Exploring Designs & Meaning in BJJ Culture

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By Sumit Pradhan

Did you know that over 40% of jiu jitsu practitioners, including fighters and grapplers, sport a jiu jitsu tattoo? It’s a popular choice among those who appreciate the art and style of this martial art.

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Jiu Jitsu Tattoo: Exploring Designs & Meaning in BJJ Culture

These inked masterpieces have gained immense popularity among jiu jitsu practitioners, serving as powerful symbols of dedication and passion.

Jiu jitsu brands have also embraced this trend, offering tattoo designs that resonate with grapplers. Beyond being mere body art, jiu jitsu tattoos encapsulate the journey, resilience, and camaraderie that define this combat sport for grapplers.

Each stroke of ink tells a story in the world of jiu jitsu, reflecting the wearer’s unwavering commitment to the discipline and their personal growth on and off the mat.

These tattoos are a powerful expression of the bond between practitioners and their favorite jiu jitsu brands.

Exploring Jiu Jitsu Tattoo Designs

Symbolism and Meaning

Jiu jitsu tattoos are more than just ink on skin; they carry deep symbolism and meaning. These tattoos often represent strength, resilience, and discipline – qualities that are essential in the practice of jiu jitsu. Different symbols such as animals, kanji characters, and warrior motifs hold specific meanings in jiu jitsu tattoos. Each tattoo can have personal significance to the individual wearing it, serving as a constant reminder of their journey in the martial art.

Animal Motifs

Animal motifs play a significant role in jiu jitsu tattoos. Lions, snakes, and dragons are commonly used to represent various qualities associated with the sport. Lions symbolize power and leadership, while snakes embody agility and adaptability. Dragons are often seen as wise creatures that possess both strength and intelligence. These animal motifs can be incorporated into larger tattoo designs or stand alone as individual pieces, allowing practitioners to express their connection with these powerful attributes.

The Art of Script and Lettering

BJJ Kanji Tattoos

Kanji characters are often used in jiu jitsu tattoos to represent important concepts or values. These characters hold deep meaning and add a touch of authenticity and cultural significance to the design. For example, the kanji character “道” (dō) translates to “way” or “path,” symbolizing the journey of self-improvement that practitioners undertake in jiu jitsu. Another common kanji character is “勇気” (yūki), which means “courage.” This character represents the bravery required to face challenges on and off the mat.

OSS Element

In the world of jiu jitsu, you may often hear the term “OSS.” It is a word used to show respect, acknowledgment, or agreement within the community. Incorporating this element into a tattoo design can be a powerful way to pay tribute to the camaraderie and spirit shared among practitioners.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tattoo Examples

Black Belt Significance

Black belts hold great significance in jiu jitsu, symbolizing mastery and expertise. These tattoos are a proud display of accomplishment, dedication, and years of training. Many practitioners choose to get black belt tattoos as a way to commemorate their hard-earned rank and showcase their commitment to the martial art.

School Crests Variations

Jiu jitsu schools often have unique crests or logos that represent their identity. Incorporating these school crests into tattoo designs is a popular choice among practitioners. These tattoos not only show loyalty and belonging to a specific training institution but also reflect pride in one’s affiliation with the school. By wearing these tattoos, individuals can proudly display their connection to their chosen academy.

Chess Piece Symbolism

Chess pieces are sometimes used in jiu jitsu tattoos to symbolize strategy and tactical thinking. Each chess piece holds its own symbolic value, representing different aspects of the martial art.

Unique BJJ Tattoo Ideas

Spiritual Elements

Jiu jitsu is more than just a physical martial art; it also encompasses spiritual elements deeply rooted in Eastern philosophies like Zen Buddhism. Many practitioners find that their jiu jitsu journey goes beyond the mat and becomes a way of life. Incorporating spiritual symbols into a tattoo can further enhance this connection. For example, tattoos featuring lotus flowers or yin-yang symbols represent balance and inner peace, reflecting the holistic nature of jiu jitsu. These tattoos serve as constant reminders to seek harmony within oneself and strive for personal growth.

Artistic Expression

One of the great things about getting a jiu jitsu tattoo is the opportunity for artistic expression. Tattoos provide a canvas where artists can unleash their creativity and create unique designs that reflect the individual’s personality and style. Whether it’s incorporating different styles like traditional, watercolor, or geometric, or using vibrant colors or intricate linework, each tattoo becomes an original work of art.

Significance in BJJ Culture

Influence on Tattoos

The influence of jiu jitsu extends beyond the mat and has made a significant impact on the tattoo industry. More and more people are choosing to get jiu jitsu-themed tattoos as a way to showcase their love for the sport. Tattoo artists have honed their skills in creating intricate designs specific to jiu jitsu, incorporating elements such as belts, submissions, and iconic images like the Brazilian flag or the Gracie family emblem. These tattoos not only serve as permanent reminders of their dedication to the art but also symbolize personal growth, resilience, and perseverance.

Athletes with Notable Tattoos

Professional jiu jitsu athletes often have notable tattoos that reflect their passion for the sport. These tattoos go beyond mere decorations; they tell stories of personal triumphs, cultural heritage, or meaningful experiences. For example, an athlete might choose to ink a belt promotion date or a memorable competition victory on their skin.

Placement and Training Considerations

Guide for Training

Jiu jitsu tattoos are a meaningful way for practitioners to showcase their passion for the sport. While these tattoos do not directly affect training, they may require some adjustments during the healing process. It is crucial to protect fresh tattoos from excessive friction or contact during training sessions. This can be done by wearing appropriate clothing that covers the tattooed area or using protective gear like rash guards or compression sleeves. Following proper aftercare instructions, such as keeping the tattoo clean and moisturized, will ensure minimal disruption to training routines.

No-Training Period

Freshly tattooed areas need time to heal properly before resuming intense physical activity. The length of the no-training period may vary depending on the size and location of the tattoo. Some individuals may only need a few days while others may require a few weeks of rest from training. It is important to prioritize healing and avoid compromising the quality of the tattoo by rushing back into intense workouts too soon.

Tattoo Care and Maintenance

Fresh Tattoo Care Tips

Proper care is essential for ensuring optimal healing of a fresh jiu jitsu tattoo. Following the artist’s aftercare instructions is crucial, such as keeping the tattoo clean and moisturized. It is important to avoid direct sunlight, excessive sweating, and submerging the tattoo in water during the healing process.

Healing Advice

During the healing process, it is normal for a jiu jitsu tattoo to go through stages of scabbing, peeling, and itching. Patience is key, as it may take several weeks for the tattoo to fully heal. It is crucial to avoid picking at scabs or scratching the tattooed area to prevent complications or damage to the design.

Cleanliness of Tattooed Area

Maintaining cleanliness is crucial to prevent infections or complications with a fresh jiu jitsu tattoo. Regularly washing the tattooed area with mild soap and warm water helps keep it clean.

Getting a Meaningful BJJ Tattoo

Considerations Before Inking

Before getting a jiu jitsu tattoo, it’s essential to carefully consider your commitment to the sport. Reflect on your personal motivations, long-term goals, and potential changes in lifestyle or interests. Jiu jitsu is more than just a hobby; it becomes a part of your identity. Therefore, ensure that the design you choose holds significant meaning over time.

Tips for Meaningful Designs

Researching different symbols and elements associated with jiu jitsu can help you create a meaningful tattoo design. Look into traditional Japanese motifs like dragons or cherry blossoms that represent strength and beauty. You can also incorporate personal experiences, achievements, or favorite techniques into the design to add a unique touch that resonates with you.

Consulting with a skilled tattoo artist who understands jiu jitsu can provide valuable insights and suggestions. They can help bring your vision to life while ensuring the design translates well onto your skin.

Animal Motifs in Jiu Jitsu Tattoos

Symbolism and Meaning

Animal motifs are a popular choice for jiu jitsu tattoos, as they embody different qualities and characteristics that resonate with practitioners. These tattoos often symbolize strength, agility, resilience, and adaptability. For example, a tiger tattoo may represent power and fearlessness, while an eagle tattoo can signify freedom and sharp focus. By incorporating these animal motifs into their tattoos, jiu jitsu enthusiasts aim to draw inspiration from the traits associated with these creatures.

Connection to Martial Arts

Jiu jitsu itself has deep connections to nature and animal movements. The art form emphasizes leveraging an opponent’s strength against them through technique rather than relying solely on brute force. This fluidity of movement is often compared to the gracefulness of animals in their natural habitats. Incorporating animal motifs into jiu jitsu tattoos further reinforces this connection between martial arts and nature.

Meaning Behind Jiu Jitsu Kanji Tattoos

Symbolism and Representation

Jiu Jitsu kanji tattoos hold deep meaning and symbolism for practitioners of this martial art. The kanji characters used in these tattoos represent the essence and philosophy of Jiu Jitsu. The intricate strokes and lines of the characters add an artistic touch, making these tattoos visually appealing.

Strength and Resilience

One of the key meanings behind Jiu Jitsu kanji tattoos is strength and resilience. Jiu Jitsu is known for its focus on leverage and technique, allowing smaller individuals to overcome larger opponents. This concept is captured in the tattoo designs, symbolizing inner strength, determination, and the ability to overcome challenges.

Martial Arts Philosophy

Jiu Jitsu kanji tattoos also reflect the philosophical aspects of this martial art. The characters often convey concepts such as discipline, respect, honor, and perseverance.

Artistic Expression in BJJ Tattoos

Unique Ways to Showcase Your Love for Martial Arts

Expressing your passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) through body art has become increasingly popular. Many practitioners choose to get tattoos that symbolize their dedication and love for this martial art. These tattoos serve as a permanent reminder of the values, discipline, and personal growth that BJJ brings into their lives.

Personalized Designs Reflecting Individuality

One of the most exciting aspects of getting a BJJ tattoo is the opportunity to create a design that is unique to you. Whether it’s incorporating elements from traditional Japanese art or using symbolism related to BJJ techniques, there are endless possibilities for creating a personalized design that reflects your individuality.

Symbolism and Meaning Behind Designs

Each element of a BJJ tattoo can hold significant meaning. For example, some people choose to include the belt system in their tattoo design to represent their progression and growth within the martial art.

Significance of Warrior Tattoos in BJJ

Symbolizing Strength and Resilience

Warrior tattoos hold great significance in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). These tattoos symbolize strength, resilience, and the warrior spirit that is essential in this martial art. Just as warriors face challenges on the battlefield, BJJ practitioners face challenges on the mat. The tattoo serves as a constant reminder of their ability to overcome obstacles and keep pushing forward.

Representing Personal Journey

Each warrior tattoo tells a unique story. It represents the personal journey of the individual who wears it. Whether it’s a depiction of a samurai, gladiator, or any other warrior figure, these tattoos often reflect the values and experiences that have shaped the BJJ practitioner’s life. They serve as a visual representation of their growth, dedication, and commitment to their craft.

Creating a Sense of Identity

Warrior tattoos also play a significant role in creating a sense of identity within the BJJ community.

Jiu Jitsu Tattoo: Exploring Designs & Meaning in BJJ Culture

Religious and Spiritual Elements in BJJ Tattoos

Symbolism of Jiu Jitsu Tattoos

Jiu Jitsu tattoos often incorporate religious and spiritual elements, adding a deeper meaning to the artwork. These symbols can represent personal beliefs, values, or serve as a reminder of one’s journey in the martial art.

Crosses and Crucifixes

Many practitioners choose to include crosses or crucifixes in their BJJ tattoos. These symbols are often associated with Christianity and can signify faith, sacrifice, and protection. The cross can also represent the intersection between physical and mental strength, reflecting the balance required in Jiu Jitsu.

Om Symbol

The Om symbol is another popular choice among BJJ enthusiasts. It holds significant importance in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. This sacred sound represents the essence of ultimate reality, consciousness, and spiritual awakening. Including the Om symbol in a jiu jitsu tattoo can convey a connection between mind, body, and spirit.

Portraits of Famous Grapplers in Tattoos

Iconic Tribute to Jiu Jitsu Legends

Jiu jitsu enthusiasts often express their love and admiration for the sport through tattoos. One popular trend is getting portraits of famous grapplers inked on their bodies. These tattoos serve as a permanent tribute to the legends who have made significant contributions to the world of jiu jitsu.

Immortalizing Heroes on Skin

By immortalizing these heroes on their skin, practitioners can carry their inspiration and legacy with them wherever they go. Whether it’s Helio Gracie, Carlos Gracie Sr., or Rickson Gracie, these tattoos depict the faces of those who have paved the way for future generations.

Symbolizing Dedication and Passion

These portraits not only showcase the individual’s dedication to jiu jitsu but also serve as a reminder of the passion they have for the sport. Each tattoo tells a unique story and represents a personal connection between the practitioner and their chosen hero.

Guide for Training with Jiu Jitsu Tattoos

Proper Care for Fresh Tattoos

After getting a new jiu jitsu tattoo, it’s crucial to take proper care of it. Keep the area clean and moisturized to promote healing and prevent infections. Avoid exposing the tattoo to excessive sunlight, chlorine, or saltwater until it’s fully healed.

Protecting Your Tattoo During Training

During training sessions, it’s essential to protect your jiu jitsu tattoo from any potential damage. Consider using a rash guard or compression sleeve to cover the tattooed area. This will help prevent friction and irritation that can occur during grappling or rolling.

Managing Sweat and Moisture

Sweat can be problematic for fresh tattoos as it may cause fading or smudging. To manage sweat during training, consider using absorbent materials like cotton bandages or athletic tape to protect your tattoo from excess moisture.

Communicating with Training Partners

It’s important to communicate with your training partners about your newly acquired jiu jitsu tattoo.

Considerations Before Getting a Jiu Jitsu Tattoo

Placement and Size

Choosing the right placement and size for your jiu jitsu tattoo is crucial. Think about how visible you want it to be and whether you want it to be easily covered up if needed. Consider the size of the design details you have in mind. A smaller tattoo may not allow for intricate artwork, while a larger one might take up more space than you initially thought.

Design and Style

The design and style of your jiu jitsu tattoo should reflect your connection to the martial art. Take some time to research different designs and styles that resonate with you. Some popular choices include the Brazilian flag, belts, or specific jiu jitsu techniques. Remember that this tattoo will be a permanent part of your body, so choose something that holds meaning for you.

Artist Selection

Finding a skilled tattoo artist who specializes in jiu jitsu tattoos is essential.

Training After Getting a Jiu Jitsu Tattoo

Finding the Right Gym

Finding the right gym is crucial. Look for a gym that aligns with your goals and values, and offers a supportive and inclusive environment. Take the time to visit different gyms, talk to instructors, and observe classes before making a decision.

Communicating with Your Instructor

Once you’ve found the right gym, it’s important to communicate with your instructor about your new tattoo. Let them know if you have any concerns or limitations due to the healing process. They can guide how to modify certain techniques or movements to avoid irritation or damage to your tattoo.

Proper Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance of your tattoo are essential during training. Follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions diligently, including keeping it clean, moisturized, and protected from excessive friction or sweat.

Impact of Black Belts and BJJ Ranks on Tattoos

Symbolism and Pride

Black belts and BJJ ranks hold significant meaning in the world of Jiu Jitsu. They represent years of dedication, hard work, and mastery of the art. For many practitioners, receiving a black belt or advancing to a higher rank is a momentous achievement that deserves recognition. This is where tattoos come into play.

Permanently Marking Milestones

Jiu Jitsu tattoos serve as permanent reminders of the milestones achieved in one’s martial arts journey. They can be designed to incorporate elements such as the black belt, rank stripes, or specific symbols associated with Jiu Jitsu. These tattoos not only showcase the wearer’s dedication to the sport but also serve as a source of inspiration and motivation.

Sense of Community

The Jiu Jitsu community is known for its tight-knit nature and camaraderie. Tattoos can help foster this sense of community by creating a visual bond among practitioners. When someone sees another person with a Jiu Jitsu tattoo, it can spark conversations and connections based on shared experiences and mutual respect for the art.

Personal Expression

Beyond the symbolism and community aspect, Jiu Jitsu tattoos also allow individuals to express their style and creativity. Each tattoo can be unique, reflecting the wearer’s personality and journey through the ranks. Whether it’s a minimalist design or an intricate composition, these tattoos become a form of self-expression that goes beyond words.

Inspiration for Others

Jiu Jitsu tattoos not only hold personal significance but can also inspire others who are on their own martial arts journey. Seeing someone proudly displaying their black belt or rank tattoo can serve as a reminder that hard work pays off and motivate others to persevere in their training.

In conclusion, Jiu Jitsu tattoos have a profound impact on both individuals and the wider community. They symbolize achievements, foster a sense of community, allow for personal expression, and inspire others.


In conclusion, the world of Jiu Jitsu tattoos is a fascinating one, deeply rooted in the culture and values of BJJ. From intricate designs depicting various techniques to meaningful symbols representing strength and perseverance, these tattoos are not just body art, but a way for practitioners to express their passion and dedication to the sport. Whether you are considering getting a Jiu Jitsu tattoo yourself or simply appreciate the artistry behind them, exploring the designs and meanings in BJJ culture is sure to provide insight and inspiration. So, embrace the power of Jiu Jitsu tattoos and let them serve as a constant reminder of the lessons learned on and off the mat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a tattoo with jiu jitsu lettering even if I don’t train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Yes, absolutely! While many people who get jiu jitsu tattoos are practitioners themselves, anyone can appreciate the art and symbolism behind these tattoos. Whether you’re a fan of the sport or simply drawn to the designs, getting a jiu jitsu tattoo is a personal choice that doesn’t require training in BJJ.

Will getting a jiu jitsu tattoo affect my ability to train or compete in the sports of tattooing and grappling for many fighters?

In most cases, getting a jiu jitsu tattoo won’t have any impact on your ability to train or compete. However, it’s important to consider the placement of your tattoo and any potential discomfort during the healing process. It’s always best to consult with your tattoo artist and listen to your body while training after getting inked.

What are some unique ideas for tattoo designs that incorporate words related to jiu jitsu?

There are endless possibilities for unique BJJ tattoo designs.

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