BJJ Frequently Asked Questions

What does “Jiu-Jitsu” mean?

Jiu-Jitsu translates to “the gentle art” and it is referred to as such because the art utilizes leverage and balance rather than force and strength. Also, submissions are viewed as a more humane alternative to striking.

What is the difference between Classical or Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)?

There are numerous differences. The main one being that BJJ focuses more on ground grappling while Classical Jiu-Jitsu places a greater emphasis on standing grappling and striking. All types of Jiu-Jitsu are based on submitting your opponent; however, BJJ is the only form of Jiu-Jitsu that heavily emphasis on strategy and control to do so, which will allow you to be in a completely dominant position, safe and calm to apply a finishing hold.

What is the difference between Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)?

There is no fundamental difference between Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; however, a school named Gracie either belongs or has strong roots to the Gracie Family, creators of this style.

Is Jiu-Jitsu all grappling and wrestling?

Jiu-Jitsu includes takedowns, grappling and ground fighting techniques. It is a fact though; that nearly all fights will end up in the ground and BJJ always prepares its practitioners for a physically superior opponent, someone much bigger and stronger.

Some schools will focus only on the ground, mainly for targeting Jiu-Jitsu competitions. We teach all facets of Jiu-Jitsu including defense against stand up aggression and ground fighting, so you will be learning how to deal with an individual from beginning (establishing base, closing the distance, taking the fight to the ground) to end (achieving a dominant position and submit your opponent)

I’m not in the best shape. Can I still start at Jiu-Jitsu?

Yes! Our beginner classes are an excellent way to get into shape. Not only will you learn the essential skills of self-defense, but you will also focus on muscle strengthening and endurance, cardio, and flexibility.

What is the belt system in Jiu-Jitsu?

Belts in BJJ include white, yellow (child), orange (child), green (child), blue, purple, brown, and black. You will also be granted belt degrees in between to track your own development.

How long does it take to obtain a black belt?

This varies for each individual. On three/four times week schedule you should expect the following development: one year to achieve Blue Belt, 3-4 years to achieve Purple Belt, 5-6 to achieve Brown Belt and 8-12 years to achieve Black Belt.

I don’t have a lot of time, what is the commitment required to progress at a normal pace?

60 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week will produce exceptional results. We want to make sure you don’t have to give up all your free time to benefit from our programs. Individual lessons are always an excellent alternative to speed up your learning process, in case class schedule conflicts with work hours.

Is Jiu-Jitsu effective against other styles of martial arts?

In MMA (mixed martial arts) competitions, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has consistently proved its supremacy. Evidence of this can be found in the videos Gracies in Action I & II, a documentary in which the Gracie Family took on and defeated all comers for over 70 years.

What are some of the physical benefits of training Jiu-Jitsu?

BJJ will improve conditioning, strength, coordination, flexibility and overall reflexes.

Is Jiu-Jitsu beneficial for women?

Yes! In addition to improving conditioning, strength, coordination, flexibility and overall reflexes, Jiu-Jitsu is also an excellent form of self-defense. Women could use to prevent attacks and rape, since most occur on the ground. Strategic grips and proper application of leverage and body weight distribution will allow women to escape from attackers standing or on the ground.

How are classes structured?

Classes include several plyometric exercises and movements to help improve conditioning, coordination, flexibility and strength. This period will be followed by the technique of the week, demonstrated by the instructor. A live sparring session for the intermediate and advanced students concludes the class.

I have a very busy schedule, how many classes per week do you offer?

All of our programs include a wide variety of class times to provide you with maximum flexibility in scheduling. Private and semi-privates are also available to suit those who can’t train as often as they like.

I have never done martial arts before and I feel a little apprehensive. How easy is it to get started?

Most people feel some anxiety about starting a martial arts program, and that is why we provide individual attention in each and every class, allowing all students to progress quickly and confidently towards the more advanced programs. This system will make sure you familiarize yourself with the school, the instructors and also help you feel comfortable with the material you will be learning.

Do I have to enter competitions?

Competition is always completely optional. Our school has produced many local, national and international champions. However many of our clients simply enjoy the training and all its benefits without ever participating in any competition. We understand the difference between training for a competition and the self-defense aspect of Jiu-Jitsu. Our school provides a positive environment for students with great approach to personal excellence pursuit and realistic self-defense.

What’s the average calorie loss per class?

This will vary according to how hard you want to push yourself. It can range anywhere from 400 to 700 calories per class (55 minutes)

What should I expect my first class?

The first part of class consists of a quick warm-up, which includes stretching, core work, and movement drills (In the “Beginners Only” class, the warm-up is limited to quick movement and basic technique drills). After the warm-up, the instructor(s) will show the technique of the day (usually following a specific topic for the week), but in your first day, you will be put to the side to learn 2-3 basic techniques, different from what the rest of the class will be practicing. The last part of class is the “rolling”, which is the grappling equivalent to sparring. You DO NOT have to roll on your very first weeks, but you are welcome to. The instructor will typically pair you up with someone who is more experienced so that they can work with you and guide you through the rolling process.

Will there be other beginners there beside me?

Yes, we have new members every week and about 90% of them have never trained before, and they are probably nervous too.

What is the basic etiquette while in class?

A: These are some general rules to follow during training:

  • – Keep your uniform clean
  • – Avoid foul language
  • – Respect everyone. The instructors are your friends, but you must still maintain good conduct. Show respect to get respect
  • – Check your attitude and ego at the door. Bad attitudes will not be tolerated. Your first offense will get you sent home. Your second offense will get you dismissed from the school, permanently
  • – Be on time for class (If late, ask the instructor for permission to enter class)
  • – Let the instructor know ahead of time if you need to leave class early
  • – Call us if you will be absent for a longer length of time
  • – Always bow or shake hands before rolling
  • – NEVER get too aggressive while rolling. You should pace yourself – don’t grind or crank away in order to get the submission
  • – No shoes on the mat
  • – Refrain from horseplay, talking, and interrupting while your instructor is teaching
  • – Keep yourself properly groomed
  • – All students must line up at the end of all Gi classes to be excused by the instructor

FAQ’s of Children’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

How old does my child have to be to start training?

We recommend that children start at 5 years old. However, since no two kids are the same, and there can be significant differences in coordination and maturity, we are willing to evaluate children younger than 5.

What is the difference between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and other forms of martial arts for kids?

Jiu-Jitsu will teach your children that they don’t need to learn how to punch and kick in order to control someone and protect themselves from bullying.

Instead of learning moves through katas or prearranged set of movements carried out on a cooperative training partner, they will learn how to apply grappling techniques on a resisting training partner who’s counteracting with his own moves. And most important it will build the required self-confidence to walk away from any physical encounter.

How large are your class sizes?

Class sizes range between 10 – 35 students in each class.

What is the ratio of Instructor to Kid?

Each time our class sizes increase, we accommodate with an increase in instructors per class as well. We attempt to maintain a 1 to 10/12 ratio of Instructor to kids.

My child is already very energetic. I’m afraid martial arts training will encourage aggression, is this true?

Training at our academy will provide an outlet for children in which to channel aggression and excess energy. Our children’s programs focus on developing behavioral and attitudinal aspects inherent with martial arts such as respect, confidence, discipline and control. Through providing a fun and safe atmosphere for kids, we can foster a healthy environment in which they can learn and develop not only self-defense skills, but life skills as well.

Are there ever any tournaments in the area where my kids can compete in?

Even though competing is not a must, we indeed encourage children to do so, as it will help them develop focus, team spirit, hard work and will teach them how to deal with success and disappointment.

Teaching kids is not easy – what qualifications do your instructors have to teach my child?

All of our instructors have been certified to teach through the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Belt System. Our goal is to provide an environment where the kids will improve their social, behavioral and self-defense skills.

We also place a great importance in a safe environment therefore we require all our instructors to be CPR certified to teach classes.

Is the curriculum safe for my child?

The curriculum is very safe for your child. The attention to safety and the student’s well being always comes first. Martial art training is a sport, just like baseball, soccer, football or basketball. Injuries will occur. Collisions will happen. Proper martial arts training include contact. If it doesn’t, how can it possibly be called self-defense? We use the proper safety equipment, instructor supervision and rules in order to be sure your child is as safe as possible while learning a very real and practical self-defense system.

Why Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy?

Besides learning directly from a member of the Gracie Family, you will notice that unlike most martial arts schools, our classes are technique based. Not all games. Sure, a little fun is always rewarding, but in our program, the kids will learn self-defense, respect, discipline, honor and discover that hard work and effort always pay off and bring positive results. All while having a blast.