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100+ Best Jiu Jitsu Tattoos: Ideas, Inspiration, and Care Guide

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.

While I never recommend copying someone’s tattoo, you can use these jiu jitsu tattoos and designs in this post as inspiration for your own.

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 at least 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 2 months, if you still want to get it after that then go for it!

Note: While I have attempted to give credit to 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 info@heavybjj.com, and I will update it or remove it from this list at your request.

Jiu Jitsu Tattoo Ideas

1. BJJ School Crests

1.2 Traditional 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.

posted by Boyd Cochennic

Modern designs

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 standout tattoo.

posted by u/cmartin616

1.2 Customized crests

Another option is to create a custom crest that incorporates elements of your BJJ journey, such as your favorite techniques, achievements, or memorable moments.

Posted by Trevor Cutter Sr.
posted by Christopher Corbett

2. Different Styles of Tattoos

2.2 Traditional Tattoos

Traditional tattoos are done in the classic style with bold colors and thick lines – think older sailor tattoos:

posted by Craig Hamilton.
done by kindalikekerwin
done by darren_mccrellis

2.3 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.

2.4 Abstract representations

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.

posted by Kaleb Kingsbury
Posted by u/PettyHoe

3. Kanji

3.1 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).

tattoo by Gakkin on UFC fighter “KID” yamamoto

3.2 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 tattoo, you can also consider combining kanji characters with other design elements like BJJ techniques, your gym’s logo, or an animal that symbolizes your BJJ style.

4. Oss

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.

4.1 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.

posted by jaredjitsu

4.2 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.

posted by Simone Kostenzer

5. Animals

5.1 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).

posted by u/rubberguardian
done by Steve Roberts
Gorilla based on design from meerkatsu
Tattoo on David Porter based on design from meerkatsu

5.2 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.

chinese lion tattoo based on design from meerkatsu
tattoo based on meerkatsu design

5.3 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.

posted by: attilasaska
posted on reddit

6. Samurais

6.1 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.

posted by Jay Dennis

6.2 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.

tattoo based on design from meerkatsu
tattoo based on design from meerkatsu

6.3 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.

tattoo based on design from meerkatsu

7. Religious Jiu Jitsu Tattoos

7.1 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.

7.2 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.

Tattoo based on design from meerkatsu
posted on dapigeon.tumblr.com

7.3 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.

done by Carlos Cuadra

8. Chess Pieces

8.1 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.

posted Easter Robinson

8.2 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).

posted by Kevin Harris.

8.3 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.

tatto based on design from meerkatsu

9. Famous BJJ Figure Portraits

9.1 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.

Posted by John Hickman
posted by Jeffery Donovan
posted by David Porter

9.2 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.

9.3 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.

10. BJJ Positions and Techniques

10.1 Popular BJJ techniques

Celebrate your favorite BJJ techniques with a tattoo that depicts them in action, such as an arm bar, triangle choke, or guillotine.

Posted by u/JiuJitsuMagic

10.2 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 skill set. This could be anything from a deep half-guard to a slick De La Riva sweep.

posted by u/Vedattack
Posted by u/Mr_Jadien

10.3 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.

11. 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.

11.1 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.

posted by oldworkers

11.2 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.

posted by Austin Burns
done by matiencina47tattoo

12. Your Belt Journey

12.1 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.

posted by Josafat Gonzalez

12.2 Timeline designs

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.

posted by u/leobaby1

12.3 Abstract

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.

posted by be_strong_pt

13. Jiu-Jitsu Text

13.1 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.

posted by: donfat33

13.2 BJJ mottos

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.”

posted by Matt Howell 
done by huevotats

13.3 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.

14. Popular Cartoon Characters and Other Themes

14.1 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 arm bar to an anime hero executing a flying triangle.

posted by Tabatha Besnier
by Eddie Stacey
Adventure Time bjj tattoo based on design from meerkatsu

14.2 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.

posted by Michael Shaw

14.3 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.

posted by Christine Kramer

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 strength:

Georges St. Pierre – GSP tattoo “jiu-jitsu kanji”

GSP has a timeline 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!