Start your BJJ journey with insights from our FAQs and Videos.
What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the fastest growing martial art in the world. It is a sport, self-defense system, and a fitness program. It has proven to be the most practical and effective self-defense system in the world.
It relies on leverage and technique, rather than strength and size so you can defend yourself against much bigger, stronger attackers. As a result, BJJ is a great sport for everyone – including women and kids.
BJJ focuses on grappling and ground fighting with the goal of getting into a position to force an attacker or opponent to submit or give up.
It is also an intense aerobic and anaerobic workout so your overall health and fitness will improve, including your flexibility, strength, cardiovascular fitness, ability to burn fat, and muscular endurance.
Joe Rogan (BJJ Black belt, UFC commentator, podcaster, & comedian) says “Brazilian jiu jitsu is a vehicle for developing your whole life.” Check out the videos below to see him, Sam Harris and other celebrities (explicit language warning) talking about jiu jitsu – along with some great training and competition footage.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu originated in feudal Japan for samurai to use when they lost their sword. Its objective was to get an armor-clad opponent on the ground in order to kill him with a knife. After war subsided, it became less useful and a variety of styles emerged.
In the late 1800s, Jagoro Kano consolidated the styles prioritizing practicality and efficiency. He renamed the art Judo.
Kano’s student, Count Maeda, immigrated to Brazil and began teaching judo. Two students, Carlos and Helio Gracie, excelled and further expanded the art with an increased emphasis on street fighting and self defense. What emerged is called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).
Helio’s eldest son, Rorion Gracie, moved to the US in 1978 and formed the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to showcase BJJ’s effectiveness. Royce Gracie dominated the early UFCs despite having a size and athleticism disadvantage. This accelerated the expansion of the sport, and BJJ has become an essential skill in Mixed Martial Arts.
Many people start jiu jitsu to learn self defense or get in shape, but they quickly learn that it is an addictive sport that can have a profound effect on many aspects of your life.
- Practical Self-Defense
- Rapid Weight/Fat Loss
- Improved Confidence
- Enhanced Athleticism (strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, condition, muscle tone)
- Improve Mental Strength and Discipline
- More Energy
- Less Stress
- Better Focus at Work/School
- Deeper Sleep
- Better Attitude & Overall Happiness
- Healthier Lifestyle
- Meet Lifelong Friends
Do I need to be in good shape?
No. You do not need to be strong, flexible, or in particularly good shape to start jiu jitsu. By practicing jiu jitsu, you will most certainly improve your strength, flexibility, and conditioning (plus balance, coordination, and more), but you do not need to have those traits to begin with. Of course, it’s always smart to ensure your doctor agrees your health can handle any strenuous activity, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu safe?
Yes. BJJ is generally a very safe sport, and safety is a central principle at Diego Saraiva BJJ. Our curriculum, practice methods, and instruction prioritize a safety-first environment.
What are the belt rankings in BJJ?
The belt order for adults is: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, & Black. After someone has been a black belt for 30 years, there are special recognition belts of Red/Black, Red/White, & Red that can be attained.
The belt order for kids, until 16 years of age, is: White, Grey, Yellow, Orange, and Green.
This chart depicts the IBJJF belt ranking system that is generally followed by Diego Saraiva BJJ.
How do I get started?
Getting started is the most difficult step. But it’s as easy as filling out this form, and coming in for a completely FREE trial. Do it today. It will change your life!
Why is BJJ considered more effective than other arts?
Jiu jitsu has proven itself in actual 1-on-1 combat situations: (1) challenge matches, (2) the Ultimate Fighting Championship (Mixed Martial Arts), and (3) the military/law enforcement:
- One of the primary methods of advancing the sport during its early development was to issue or accept challenge matches to test the art against other martial artists, fighters, and/or tough guys. Jiu Jitsu practitioners consistently won those confrontations, and losses or weaknesses that were exposed resulted in adjustments to the sport (less useful moves/positions were changed or eliminated and more effective techniques added). Here is one example of such challenge match.
- Inspired by the challenge matches and subsequent videos, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was created in 1993 by Rorion Gracie, Art Davie, and John Milius to showcase the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Royce Gracie (Rorion’s younger brother) entered the first four UFCs. Despite being the lightest competitor in all 4 events, he won 3 of them (UFC 1, UFC 2, & UFC 4). He withdrew from the finals of UFC 3 due to dehydration. He didn’t lose a match and won 11 consecutive victories by submission, a record that still stands today. Perhaps the only more meaningful attribution to jiu jitsu is that every Mixed Martial Artist and nearly all serious martial artists now incorporate Brazilian jiu jitsu as a core part of their training program.
- The US Army’s Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) is based largely on brazilian jiu jitsu, and its founder, Matt Larsen, is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
These are evidence of jiu jitsu’s effectiveness, and they are also an explanation for its effectiveness. Most martial arts are based on philosophy or form but Brazilian jiu jitsu has always stressed reality as the ultimate arbiter of effectiveness. By testing the art against others, the sport evolved into one that works in real life situations. This is furthered by the fact that one can practice BJJ in class at nearly 100% – basically in exactly the same way you might do it in real life. Most martial arts are based on powerful, fancy punches or kicks, but you can’t really practice those kinds of strikes at 100%, lest you render your partner unconscious or hospitalized. As a consequence, most martial arts practice in the air (forms), or they hit pads/bags/boards, or it is done at partial speed/power. Neither the air, boards, nor bags hit back. It is almost impossible to know whether or not the kicks would work in a real life encounter, and history has shown us that they often don’t — especially if the attacker/opponent is bigger or stronger. Since BJJ can be practiced at full speed, you constantly get feedback on what works and what doesn’t which allows you to adjust your technique to improve effectiveness.
Am I too young to start jiu jitsu? Or too old?
While kids mature and are ready for jiu jitsu at different ages, generally 5 years old is a good target age to start. Before that age, kids often lack interest or the ability to concentrate for 30-45+ minutes at a time.
The upper age limit is only confined by ones ability to exercise strenously. There are many participants who start late in life (famously, Anthony Bourdain started jiu jitsu at age 56) and many others who participate well into their 80s.
Can women or kids do jiu jitsu?
Yes! Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for everyone – regardless of sex or age. It was developed to allow smaller, weaker people to defend themselves against larger, stronger attackers. It relies on technique and leverage rather than strength and athleticism. This is one of the most empowering aspects of jiu jitsu as you will discover, in live sparring with 100% resistance, that you can overcome larger (stronger, faster, more powerful) opponents by using knowledge (technique). As such, jiu jitsu is perfectly suited for women, kids, young and old. Anyone and everyone can participate!
How long does it take to get your black belt?
The journey in jiu jitsu is much more rigorous that most other martial arts but when you see a black belt, you know it was earned. Although each person is unique, it generally takes between 8-15 years to reach black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. It takes 9 months – 18 months to go from white to blue belt and then 2-5 years each for the subsequent belts, up to black.
What do I wear for practice?
For your trial, we will lend you everything you need! For all beginner classes, we wear a gi (sometimes called a kimono). For your trial, you’ll just want to wear something comfortable to class.
A gi consists of a cotton jacket, reinforced cotton pants, and a belt. It was adapted from the uniforms used in traditional martial arts like karate.
After you’ve gained some experience, you may also decide to practice without the gi. This is called “nogi” jiu jitsu or “submission grappling”. The “nogi” attire consists of fight/board shorts and a rash guard.
*Female participants will want to bring/wear an athletic top underneath the gi top.