Often, the first thing someone asks when they see our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu logo is, “Why is it a fish?” As Shihan Jason Nishime is quick to point out, it’s not just a fish; it’s a koi.
Koi fish are symbols of strength, perseverance, and fulfilled destiny. Their association with integrity and high character make them popular choices for tattoos in Asia and America.
How did koi get this reputation?
Legend has it that a school of golden koi were swimming upstream in the Yellow River in China. When they encountered a waterfall, many of them gave up and let the stream carry them away. However, a group of them kept trying and leaped out of the water to try get over the waterfall.
A group of demons watched their efforts and made the waterfall taller to mock their efforts.
After 100 years of jumping, one koi finally made it over the waterfall. The gods noticed the koi’s determination and rewarded it by turning into a golden dragon. The legend is called, “The Dragon Gate” and explains how koi became the symbol of perseverance through adversity.
Shihan Jason chose the koi for his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu patch because he feels like this legend illustrates the challenge of learning BJJ. The training is tough and, compared to many other systems, takes a long time, but if one perseveres, they will eventually reach the level of Black Belt.