What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art & combat sport largely built on the ground fighting techniques found in early Kodokan Judo. Initially developed by the Gracie family of Brazil, it teaches the proper use of leverage and body mechanics to neutralize a larger, stronger attacker. A wide variety of effective takedowns, sweeps, chokes, strangles and joint locks are trained. (There is no striking taught or practiced in class). BJJ differs from many older styles of Japanese Jiu Jitsu in that practitioners spar or “roll” against a resisting opponent in order to hone their skills. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also well known as one of the core disciplines which comprise modern mixed martial arts (MMA).
What kind of students do you have in class?
Currently, we have men and women ranging from 14-65 years of age in our class. They include professionals, teachers, students, skilled tradespeople… you name it. Some who come to us are are already experienced martial artists, while others have never trained in anything before walking in the door. Both are equally welcome! ABSOLUTELY NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY TO LEARN BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU.
What is a typical class like?
We start with a group warm-up, then learn techniques and drill them with a partner for most of the class. The last part of class is reserved for free rolling. While newer students often wait a while before they participate in rolling, it all depends on the individual. During every portion of class you will be guided, hands-on, by the instructors.
What do I wear?
For your first day, wear sweats or any other athletic clothes you feel comfortable moving around in. If you own a gi from any previous martial arts training, feel free to wear that. If you decide Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is something you want to pursue, then you would purchase a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi (“uniform”), which cost anywhere between $50 and $150. –Don’t worry; we can help you with all that.
Who teaches the classes?
All classes are taught by highly experienced –and very friendly– black belt instructors John Ouano and Perry Hauck. (For more information on John & Perry, just click on “Instructors”.)
Is there a lot of bowing and stuff like that?
Compared to most martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is quite informal. However, we do a quick group bow, both at the beginning and at the end of class, as a way to show respect for one another.
Can I change clothes there?
Sure, we have a bathroom and two separate changing areas. We also offer cubby holes for storage or, if you prefer, you can rent your very own locker.
Do you have to be in-shape to take classes?
Nope. People of all shapes and sizes do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But be warned: regular practice will improve your strength, stamina and coordination, whether you want it to or not. ☺
What if I have an old injury or physical limitation?
Since we teach mostly adults, many of our students already come to us with some sort of pre-existing injury, problem area or physical limitation they are concerned about. The beauty of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that there is usually a variation or modification possible that will allow a student to work around their issue, whatever it may be. Plenty of people with significant physical limitations regularly practice and enjoy training in BJJ.
Am I going to be matched up against someone and have to “fight” them?
Certainly not. New students are carefully guided step-by-step in training. However, after a while, you will almost certainly want to practice the very fun –some say addictive– form of sparring we do, called “rolling”. This is where you get to practice applying the techniques you’ve learned against a similarly matched student who is trying to do the same thing to you.
Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu good for self-defense?
While a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class is not a self-defense class per se, BJJ is an art with many very practical self-defense applications. The confidence, physicality, conditioning and decision making under stress which Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fosters are invaluable in any real-life self-defense situation. That’s why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training is a cornerstone of Modern Army Combatives and many, many different self-defense programs.
Are there Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions I could enter?
Absolutely. Southern California is a major center in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition scene. While most students don’t choose to compete, others enjoy it greatly. As an official school of the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), you would have the option to compete in IBJJF sanctioned tournaments where you would be matched up against others your same sex, age, weight and rank.
There is never pressure put on anyone to compete.
Can I try a class free?
Sure –In fact, you can try one free trial class. No commitment. Just hop on the mat and have fun training with us!