“Jiu-Jitsu puts you completely in the moment where you must have complete focus on finding a solution to the problem. This trains the mind to build that focus, to increase your awareness, your capacity to solve problems.” ~ Rickson Gracie
Jiu-Jitsu is a Japanese word which translates into English as, “Gentle Technique.” It’s a martial art from Japan that utilizes empty hand techniques such as throws, evasions, pins, locks, and chokes using leverage to subdue an opponent. In the early 20th century, a Jiu-Jitsu representative from the famous Kodokan in Japan named Mitsuyo Maeda and his troupe were traveling around Brazil putting on performances of their martial arts and taking on challenge matches with the locals to showcase their skills. Maeda also taught a few Brazilians his art. Carlos Gracie learned this Jiu-Jitsu and taught his brothers. The Gracies were men of small stature and were wrestled and thrown to their backs by stronger and more aggressive opponents. To solve the problem they utilized a position they called “the guard” while they were on their back and were able to survive and control bigger stronger opponents. This position sets Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu apart from other grappling styles where one is considered defeated once their shoulders touch the floor. This position uses the legs to control the space in the fight. The guard was developed to be as a survival position then one can be offensive by applying reversals (sweeps), chokes and arm locks. Over the 20th century the Brazilian form of jiu-jitsu developed a heavy emphasis on controlling positions on the ground and using submission holds to finish an altercation. To this day, practitioners still wear the traditional uniform from Japan.
Todays’ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is practiced as a self-defense method, a sport and an art form. It is a main staple in the international mixed martial arts competition and practiced as an international sport. Our school practices all aspects.
In most street fights the combatants end up grappling with each other and can end up on the ground. This can be from a simple tackle, getting hit with a big punch and falling or just tripping over an unexpected curb. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training focuses on techniques and tactics in this close quarter range. Students learn how to control the space between themselves and the attacker. Simple body mechanics are trained to maneuver on the ground to get up and escape or restrain an aggressor.
It is especially dangerous if it is you that is on your back and your attacker is on top of you. This is a nightmare for most people who are untrained. Training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu makes you step out of your comfort zone and allows you to understand the science of these positions and develop techniques that will allow you to survive and escape. The longer you train in Jiu-Jitsu the more ability you will gain to recognize, avoid and/or escape these nightmares. If you have already trained in Martial arts, it can only improves your abilities and chances of survival by increasing your technical tool belt as a martial artist.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has an emphasis on live training. This is how students are able to develop their skills in real time. This is the sport of BJJ and can be a lot of fun and an addicting practice. We use joint locks and choke holds to leave the other player no other option but to surrender or “tap out”. This is done in a safe manner so that we can continue to train daily without injury. In the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community, sparring is called “rolling” and is a game played with the goal of submitting the other with a technical submission hold.
It takes longer to gain the skill to be promoted in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu versus other belt ranked systems. The ranking system awards a practitioner different colored belts to signify increasing levels of technical knowledge, skill and ability. The belt ranks are as followed; for juveniles, white, grey, yellow, orange and green; for adults it’s white, blue, purple, brown and black. Each belt taking anywhere from 1 to 3 years of regular training to move up in rank, taking up to 10+ years of consistent training to achieve a black belt.
At Charlottesville Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we offer an on-going 8-week basics course where we walk students through the positional hierarchy strategy with each class preparing them for entering our level 1 class. This is an excellent place to start for beginners. But you can also jump right into the level 1 class. For those completely new to martial arts, we usually recommend taking the basics course twice and then adding the level 1 class along with your second time through.
Level 1 classes students will wear a traditional uniform that is called a Gi. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi is made of thick material and tailored a specific way that is different than other martial arts uniforms. The Gi is a training device used in the sport to enhance the ability to grip the other player. It is used in the formal aspects of BJJ, Judo and other Japanese martial arts with a colored belt of rank tied around the waist. Students learn how to control another using a variety of grips as well as removing grips from their own. This can be very helpful in a self-defense situation where grabbing on to clothing happens.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is our passion here. We want our programs to be available to the entire community of Charlottesville. We have worked hard on developing our curriculum, training methods, instructors and staff to make it accessible as possible to everyone willing. We love to have visitors from other academies and encourage anyone to respectfully come in roll with us.
See you on the mats!