BJJ and Brazinglish: The Language of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The jiu jitsu we all love and enjoy is Brazilian and there is no hiding from that fact. It’s evident in the relaxed atmosphere on the mat and in the close relationship between the subcultures of BJJ and surfing. However, there is no place where the Brazilian flavours are as inescapable as in Brazinglish: The official language of BJJ instructional media. Here are my favourite expressions, I know you have yours:

1. Momento

Momento is not an English word. In Portugese, the word “Momento” actually means time, a moment or an instant. Anyone who’s ever watched BJJ instructionals will tell you that in Brazinglish it’s used to mean “timing”.

Example: Planning to attend a BJJ seminar on your anniversary weekend is terrible Momento

2. Piv

There is lazy then there is lazy and then there is: I’m too lazy to pronounce the second syllable in a 2-syllable word. Piv is Brazinglish for “pivot”, as in when you spin around an axis (then try to rip that axis in two).

Example: “PIV…PIV…PIV…” Ross Geller in “The One With The Cop”

3. Strench

This one was a humdinger for me, because the “n” is pronounced very softly and I wasn’t sure how to use less “stretch”! For years I tried to understand what the hell it meant and the closest I got was in the Urban Dictionary: Strench is an odour even worse than stench. Call me weird by I didn’t think that’s what the Brazinglish term actually stands for.

It was after much analysis and consultation with other viewers that I understood that it meant “strength”, “explosiveness” or “power”.

Example: BJJ is not one of Steven Seagal’s strenches. Neither is acting.

4. Way

Weigh? Way? You want me to do what exactly? To be honest, for a long time I thought “force your way on him” meant “push your way/game on him”, which is not bad advice but I know now, in Brazinglish, that means “let them carry your weight

Example: The bes technih mean you wiin weigh and absoluh.

5. Pression

This is some straight-up Brazinglish black belt voodoo. It’s not so much the confusion this term may cause but rather the beauty of it. Such slick linguistic balance. Such innovation. What other language can produce a term that expresses “pressure”, “compression” and the state of “depression” you will find yourself in when you are the subject of all that “pressure” and “compression”?! “Pression” is probably one of my favourite Brazinglish terms ever. In fact, it’s one of my favourite words, period!

 Example: You have to choose the right Momento to apply the Pression, but don’t use too much your Strench. Focus on use your Weigh to control he before you Piv for the ahmelock!


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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