We get it – Brazilian jiu jitsu is addicting, so as someone who has way too many tattoos, I can definitely understand why you’d want to get a jiu jitsu tattoo. I mean I’ve even considered it myself (even though I’m only a purple belt now).
I’ve created this guide to give you as many jiu jitsu tattoo ideas as possible and provide design inspiration for you or your tattoo artist.
While I never recommend copying someone’s tattoo, you can these jiu jitsu tattoos and designs in this post as inspiration for your own.
My goal with this post is to be the ultimate guide for jiu jitsu tattoos and provide as many ideas as possible plus tattoo care tips.
So hopefully if you do finally get that jiu jitsu tattoo, you walk out of the shop knowing that its exactly what you wanted and will last as long as your frayed, unwashed bjj belt.
Jiu Jitsu Tattoo Ideas – Key Takeaways
- Use the ideas in this post as design inspiration for your own jiu jitsu tattoo
- Do not copy someone’s tattoo directly
- Be sure use proper care after your tattoo (this means not going back to training too soon)
- As a general rule, we recommend waiting atleast a week until the tattoo scabs and heals (this time can change depending size of the tattoo and whether you train go or no gi and can properly cover it)
- Finally, if you have an idea for a tattoo wait 3 months, if you still want to get it after that then go for it
Note: While I have attempted to give creditto tattoo artist and person who posted the tattoo, it is not always possible – so if you see your tattoo posted on here or if you know the artist please feel free to email me at email@example.com, and I will update it or remove it from this list at your request.
Jiu Jitsu Tattoo Ideas
BJJ School Crests
Paying homage to your BJJ school or lineage with a traditional crest tattoo is a popular choice. These designs often include elements like the school’s logo, founder’s name, or a symbol representing the team’s philosophy.
If you’re looking for something more contemporary, consider a modern interpretation of your school’s crest. This could involve incorporating geometric shapes, minimalist designs, or abstract elements to create a unique tattoo.
For a truly personal touch, work with your tattoo artist to create a custom crest that incorporates elements of your BJJ journey, such as your favorite techniques, achievements, or memorable moments.
Traditional tattoos are dones in the classic style with bold colors and thick lines – think older sailor tattoos:
BJJ Gi and belt motifs
The gi and belt are iconic symbols of BJJ. Consider a tattoo design that features your belt color, a gi collar, or even a stylized knot to represent your dedication to the sport.
If you’re looking for something more artistic, consider an abstract design that captures the essence of BJJ. This could include fluid lines that represent movement, geometric shapes symbolizing balance, or a collage of elements that evoke the spirit of the gentle art.
BJJ-related kanji symbols
Kanji tattoos are popular among martial artists, and BJJ practitioners are no exception. Some BJJ-related kanji symbols include “ju” (gentleness), “jutsu” (technique), and “do” (way).
Inspirational words or phrases
Incorporate kanji characters representing words or phrases that inspire you in your BJJ journey. Examples include “perseverance,” “strength,” or “discipline.”
Combining kanji with other design elements
To create a unique jiu-jitsu
tatoo, consider combining kanji characters with other design elements like BJJ techniques, your gym’s logo, or an animal that symbolizes your BJJ style.
The meaning of “Oss”
“Oss” is a term used in BJJ and other martial arts as a sign of respect and camaraderie. It’s often used as a greeting, to acknowledge a good technique, or to show determination during training.
Oss in various lettering styles
A tattoo featuring “Oss” can be done in various lettering styles, such as traditional calligraphy, modern typography, or even graffiti-style text. Choose a font that resonates with your personal style and BJJ journey.
Incorporating Oss with other design elements
An “Oss” tattoo can be combined with other design elements like BJJ positions, a gi collar, or even your gym’s logo to create a unique and meaningful piece.
Animals representing BJJ styles
Many BJJ practitioners choose animal tattoos to represent their personal style or approach to the sport. Examples include the lion (strength and courage), the snake (fluidity and adaptability), or the eagle (precision and focus).
Mythical creatures and BJJ
If you’re looking for something more imaginative, consider mythical creatures like dragons or phoenixes that embody the spirit of BJJ. These tattoos can symbolize personal growth, rebirth, or the pursuit of greatness in the sport.
Animal and BJJ position combinations
For a creative twist, incorporate animals and BJJ positions or techniques into a single tattoo design. For example, a gorilla performing a kimura or a tiger executing a triangle choke.
Historical samurai figures
Samurais are revered for their discipline, loyalty, and martial arts prowess. A tattoo featuring a historical samurai figure, such as Miyamoto Musashi or Hattori Hanzo, can represent your dedication to the martial arts and the warrior mindset.
Stylized samurai images
For a more artistic take, consider a stylized samurai tattoo that incorporates elements like flowing robes, intricate armor, or a striking pose.
Samurais performing BJJ techniques
Combine your love for BJJ and samurais by getting a tattoo of a samurai executing a jiu-jitsu technique. This unique design can symbolize the connection between traditional martial arts and modern BJJ.
Religious Jiu Jitsu Tattoos
Patron saints of BJJ and martial arts
Some practitioners choose to honor their faith and BJJ passion by getting a tattoo of a patron saint associated with martial arts. St. Michael the Archangel and St. Ignatius of Loyola are two examples of patron saints revered by martial artists.
Religious symbols and imagery
Incorporate religious symbols, like a cross or a Star of David, into your BJJ tattoo design. You can also consider integrating elements from your faith, such as scripture or religious icons, with BJJ symbols.
Combining faith and BJJ in a design
For a truly personal tattoo, work with your tattoo artist to create a design that combines elements of your faith and BJJ journey. This could include incorporating a religious symbol into a BJJ technique or depicting a religious figure performing a jiu-jitsu move.
BJJ as a physical chess match
BJJ is often referred to as a physical game of chess, requiring strategy, foresight, and adaptability. A tattoo featuring chess pieces can symbolize the mental aspects of the sport and your love for the strategic side of BJJ.
Chess piece motifs
Consider a tattoo design that includes chess pieces like the king, queen, or knight. These pieces can represent your BJJ journey, such as the
progression from a beginner (pawn) to a more advanced practitioner (queen or king) or the strategic approach you take in your game (knight).
Creative combinations with BJJ positions
For a unique jiu-jitsu tattoo, combine chess pieces with BJJ positions or techniques. For example, a pawn transitioning into a king while executing a triangle choke, or a knight performing a sweep.
Famous BJJ Figure Portraits
BJJ masters and legends
Pay tribute to the legends of BJJ with a portrait tattoo of a famous BJJ figure, such as Helio Gracie, Carlos Gracie, or Rickson Gracie. These tattoos can be a reminder of the sport’s rich history and the pioneers who laid the groundwork for modern BJJ.
Iconic moments in BJJ history
Capture an iconic moment in BJJ history with a tattoo that depicts a famous match or event, like the epic battle between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock or Roger Gracie’s 10th World Championship title.
Tribute tattoos to influential figures
If there’s a BJJ practitioner or coach who has significantly impacted your journey, consider a tribute tattoo that honors their contribution to your growth in the sport.
BJJ Positions and Techniques
Popular BJJ techniques
Celebrate your favorite BJJ techniques with a tattoo that depicts them in action, such as an armbar, triangle choke, or guillotine.
Personal favorite positions or techniques
If you have a signature move or position that you excel in, consider getting a tattoo that showcases your unique skillset. This could be anything from a deep half-guard to a slick De La Riva sweep.
BJJ positions as artistic representations
Transform a BJJ position or technique into a piece of art with an abstract or stylized design. This could involve using bold lines, geometric shapes, or intricate patterns to depict your favorite move.
The Shaka and Hands/Grips
The meaning of the shaka
The shaka is a hand gesture that symbolizes the laid-back and friendly spirit of the BJJ community. It’s often used to show respect, encouragement, or simply to say “hello” among practitioners.
Hand and grip designs
Consider a tattoo design that features hands or grips, such as two hands locked in a collar grip or a wrist control grip. These designs can represent the importance of grip strength and control in BJJ.
Combining the shaka with BJJ elements
Create a unique tattoo by combining the shaka gesture with other BJJ elements, like incorporating a gi sleeve, a belt, or even a chess piece.
Your Belt Journey
Personal achievements and milestones
Commemorate your BJJ milestones and achievements with a tattoo that represents significant moments in your journey, such as winning a major competition, earning a black belt, or overcoming a personal obstacle.
Create a visual representation of your BJJ journey with a timeline tattoo. This design can include elements like belt promotions, competition victories, or memorable training experiences.
representations of progress
For a more artistic approach, consider an abstract tattoo design that symbolizes your BJJ journey. This could include elements like fluid lines, geometric shapes, or a collage of images that represent your growth and achievements in the sport.
Inspirational quotes and phrases
Incorporate your favorite BJJ-related quotes or phrases into a tattoo design. These could be famous sayings from BJJ legends, motivational mottos, or even personal mantras that inspire you during your training.
Choose a BJJ motto that resonates with you and turn it into a tattoo design. Some popular BJJ mottos include “Technique conquers all” and “Flow with the go.”
Personal mantras related to BJJ
If you have a personal mantra that you use to stay focused and motivated in your BJJ journey, consider turning it into a tattoo. This could be a phrase that helps you push through tough training sessions or a reminder to stay disciplined in your practice.
Popular Cartoon Characters and Other Themes
Cartoon characters performing BJJ techniques
Combine your love for BJJ and your favorite cartoon characters by getting a tattoo of a character executing a jiu-jitsu technique. This could be anything from a classic Disney character performing an armbar to an anime hero executing a flying triangle.
Combining BJJ with popular culture references
Incorporate BJJ elements into a tattoo design that features popular culture references, such as movie or TV show characters, video game icons, or even comic book heroes.
Creative and unique BJJ tattoo designs
For a truly one-of-a-kind jiu-jitsu tattoo, work with your tattoo artist to create a design that combines your passion for BJJ with your personal interests, hobbies, or favorite themes. The possibilities are endless, so let your creativity flow and design a tattoo that captures your unique BJJ journey.
Famous Jiu Jitsu Tattoos
Gordon Ryan jiu-jitsu tattoo
Gordon Ryan has quite a bit of tattoo. Perhaps one of the most notable is his “jiu-jitsu” tattoo on his forearm.
Above that he has several kanji related to jiu jitsu and stregnth:
Georges St. Pierre – GSP tattoo “jiu-jitsu kanji”
GSP has a timelie jiu jitsu tattoo on his chest which is the kanji that means jiu jitsu:
the kanji symbols represent the words: “ju” (gentleness), “jutsu” (technique),
Worst jiu-jitsu tattoo (examples of what to avoid)
A bad tattoo can be characterized by a number of different factors, such as
- poor design
- incorrect placement
- subpar execution (choppy lines, lack of detail, lack of shades)
For example, a poorly designed tattoo may lack symmetry or balance, be too small or too large, or not have enough detail or shading.
Incorrect placement of the tattoo, such as in an area that stretches or distorts the design, can also contribute to a bad tattoo.
In addition, subpar execution of the tattoo by the artist, such as shaky or uneven lines, inconsistent color or shading, or improper healing, can also result in a less-than-ideal final product.
Some of the worst tattoos that I would avoid looking to for inspiration are:
When can you return to bjj training after getting a tattoo?
Immediate aftercare for a new tattoo
Tattoo aftercare is essential to ensure proper healing and prevent infection. Follow your tattoo artist’s instructions, which usually include keeping the tattoo clean, avoiding direct sunlight, and applying a healing ointment. I’ve used aquafor in the past which has never failed me.
Remember that a fresh tattoo is an open wound, so treat it with care.
Factors affecting healing time
Healing times vary depending on factors such as the tattoo’s size, location, and your body’s ability to heal. On average, a tattoo takes about two weeks to heal. However, consult with your tattoo artist and listen to your body to determine when you’re ready to return to the mats.
Signs that you’re ready to return to training
Once your tattoo has scabbed, flaked, and the skin has returned to its normal texture, you’re likely ready to resume training. Make sure there’s no redness, swelling, or signs of infection before getting back on the mats.
Precautions to take when training with a new tattoo
When returning to training, take precautions to protect your new tattoo. Cover it with a breathable bandage or rash guard to prevent friction and avoid any high-contact areas.
Keep it clean and continue applying ointment as needed.
How to Find a Tattoo Artist who Can Do Your Jiu Jitsu Tattoo Right?
Finding a good tattoo artist can be a challenging task, but there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of finding the right one for you:
- Do your research: Look online and read reviews and ratings for tattoo artists in your area. You can also ask friends or family members who have tattoos for recommendations.
- Check out their portfolio: A good tattoo artist will have a portfolio of their work, either on their website or on social media platforms such as Instagram. Take a look at their past work to see if their style matches what you’re looking for.
- Visit the studio: Before getting a tattoo, visit the studio and check out the environment. Make sure it’s clean and sanitary, and that the artist uses new needles and equipment for each client.
- Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the artist’s experience, their training, and their process. A good tattoo artist will be happy to answer any questions you have and put you at ease.
- Trust your instincts: Ultimately, you should choose a tattoo artist who you feel comfortable with and who you trust to do a good job. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your instincts and keep looking for the right artist. Don’t feel swayed or forced to get a tattoo that you don’t want!