Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stress Matters

As a newbie to the submission grappling world, I am still educating my friends on the correct pronunciation of the initials “BJJ.” Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a mouthful. Most friends and family are grateful for the more easily-pronounced acronym. “Are you doing BJJ tonight?” they ask. Here’s the problem. They stress the B. They say “BEE-jay-jay” instead of “bee-jay-JAY.” There is a big difference.
            When we say bee-jay-JAY and emphasize the final J, we bring up images of birds, people crossing the street at undesignated spots, and marijuana cigarettes. The imagery is about freedom, breaking the rules, and being independent and unconstrained by society’s norms. Say it with me: bee-jay-JAY.
However, stressing the B links the B and J: BEE-jay-jay. This brings up sexual imagery much too undignified for this blog and its refined readers. The final J is left dangling—hanging alone—no bird or illegal contraband, but maybe now a name? When people say BEE-jay-jay, I am left with an image of someone whose nickname is BJ for whatever reason best not explained: “Have you met BJ Jay? You really should!” While poor Jay may seem the life of the party, we all know at the end of the night BJ Jay is like that final, unstressed J: hanging alone, lonely and forlorn. “Are you doing BEE-jay-jay tonight?” “Frankly, it’s none of your business!”
So, please, say “no” to final dangling Jays. If you can’t get the stress right, I implore you to use the full name: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It may be a mouthful, but certainly a respectable one. Stressing the right letter will give me much less stress, as well as lift the reputations of Jays everywhere. When I go to class tomorrow night, I will not be “doing BJ Jay.” I’m certain my husband wouldn’t let me go if I were.


  1. You could just call it jits, like I do. Or get all Brazilian and call it "djzhoo DJZHIT-su"... Or refer to it by the place ("I'm going to the academy") or the generic ("I'm training tonight.")

    But eventually if you keep it up, they won't have to ask any more. Of course you're training tonight. You train every night. :)

  2. After a while, anyone who wants to be my friend will have to be on the mat with me, so pretty much problem solved! I like the way you think! : )

  3. "jits" over here too. It's easier. ;)
    So, um, what's the latest "end date" on the bee-jay-JAY?


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