Ever since humans started driving cars, there have been competitions involving automobiles. While most of these have involved racing or improving the vehicles themselves, one of the latest crazes out of Russia combines the confined space of a car with Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
I’ve been involved in various martial arts since I was about ten years old. My son started Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) when he was nine and I decided to get on the mats myself. While it is not the easiest sport to take up when you are over 40, it is incredibly rewarding. For those of you who are not familiar with BJJ, it is a grappling art, similar to wrestling, where the objective is to control your opponent on the ground; then use positioning and leverage to apply a submission via choke or joint lock. You win an engagement when your opponent “taps” which is their way of recognizing you have won without you taking the submission hold to its absolute endpoint which would result in either the other person going unconscious from a choke or their joint breaking.
It is one of the most realistic martial arts because you can grapple at a high level of intensity and really understand what works and what doesn’t under pressure. But, unlike striking arts like boxing, karate, muay Thai, etc, you don’t have to worry about taking blows to the head.
Of course, Russians are known for doing some pretty whacky and entertaining things with cars and they have taken all the challenges of a jiu-jitsu match and exponentially increased the difficulty by putting it inside a car.
BlackBelt Magazine reports that Car-Jitsu was invented by Russian martial arts enthusiast Vik Mikheev. He has black belts in both BJJ and judo, is an MMA fighter, and even holds a Ph.D. in Math. He started holding Car-Jitsu competitions in 2020 and wanted to test the applications of BJJ in a confined space and turn it into its own sport.
As a white belt myself I am now just starting to figure things out on the mat and not get totally demolished by colored belts. But I can tell you that removing the ability to roll around on a soft surface, have chairs and a steering wheel in the way, and worry about being choked out by a seatbelt totally changes the game.
However, unlike some “internet personalities” that make outlandish claims on how you can survive a carjacking, Car-Jitsu is actually very good training if you are ever caught in a worst-case scenario of someone trying to assault you inside your vehicle.