FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS • Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu | Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Below are some frequently asked questions about Brazilian jiu jitsu. If your question isn’t answered, or you have a suggestion, please email us at [email protected], call us at 704-937-1606, or fill out our online contact form.


What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)?

Brazilian jiu jitsu 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. This allows you to defend yourself against much bigger, stronger attackers. As a result, BJJ is a great sport for everyone – including women and kids.

It is one of the fastest growing martial arts, due (in part) to its great success in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and Mixed Martial Arts in general. 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.

BJJ 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.

Who can/should do BJJ?

BJJ is for everyone – regardless of sex or age. Brazilian jiu jitsu was originally formulated for use by smaller, weaker people to allow them to defend themselves against larger, stronger attackers. In that way, jiu jitsu is perfectly suited for women, kids, young and old. Anyone and everyone can participate!

Do I need to be strong, flexible, and 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. Disclaimer: Doctors’ recommend anyone who starts any strenuous activity, including Brazilian jiu jitsu, receive a physical examination to ensure they can safely participate in the program’s activities.

Am I too old to do BJJ?

NO. Anyone, at any age, can do jiu jitsu.  Alliance has students ranging in age from 3 to 80. Check out a few of these links for more proof that age is no limit.

What do I wear for practice or to train?

You generally wear either a gi (sometimes called a kimono) or nogi attire to practice/train. If you are in your trial classes, you can wear any comfortable clothing and we will loan you the appropriate attire. When you sign up, you will receive a gi as part of registration.

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.  When using the gi, you and your opponent have more “things” to hold onto and use against each other.

We also practice and compete (for those who want to compete) without the gi. This is called “nogi” jiu jitsu or “submission grappling”. The “nogi” attire consists of fight/board shorts and a rash guard.

*Both Males and females should wear a rash guard and a spandex shorts under the gi.

How should I prepare for my first class?

No preparation is required. Just bring your attire (gi or nogi), flip flops, and come ready to learn and have fun! If you don’t have a gi, you can borrow one of ours for your introductory classes. Once you sign up, you will get a gi. If you already have a gi, ensure is without any other academy patch.

Do I have to compete?

No. The majority of people who learn and train jiu jitsu do not compete. Of course, competition can be a reason to set goals and a great way to challenge and test yourself. We encourage anyone who wants to compete to do so, but there is no expectation or requirement to do it. Come learn, get in shape, and enjoy the sport. You can decide later if you’d like to compete.

What are the belt rankings in Brazilian jiu jitsu?

The belt order for adults is: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, Black, Red/Black, Red/White, & Red. Some schools award “stripes” for white, blue, purple, and brown belt, based (typically) on time/ practice frequency. At Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Fitness, we award stripes as follows:

  • White: 1 stripe at each 30th class (appropriate level class required), up to 4 stripes.
  • Blue, Purple, Brown:  1 stripe at each 90th class, up to 4 stripes.

The decision to promote any individual from belt to belt is a subjective process based on criteria beyond simply participation. Generally, attitude, technical knowledge, and demonstrated skill are important elements for belt promotion with character traits, leadership, etc. become increasingly important at higher ranks.

Kids, until 16 years of age, use a different belt ranking system which includes White, Yellow, Orange, and Green.

This chart depicts the IBJJF belt ranking system that is generally followed by Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Fitness.

Why is BJJ is more effective than other martial 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 under Jacare Cavalcanti and a member of the Alliance family of jiu jitsu academies (which includes Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Fitness).

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 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, practice is almost exactly like a real life encounter. Every day you practice, you get instant feedback on what works and what doesn’t, and you are constantly adjusting your technique to improve effectiveness.

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 belt, up to black.

Is BJJ safe?

Jiu jitsu is a very safe sport, and safety is a core principle at Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Fitness. Our mat etiquette, curriculum design, practice process, and instruction methods all ensure safety first.

Is BJJ good exercise?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of the best workouts you can get, and it provides far better results than a typical aerobic workout. It is also much more fun and interactive than most exercise programs, so you end up working out more and harder. Many people practice it primarily for the health/exercise benefits, which increase muscle tone and reduce body fat while improving your balance, coordination, cardio vascular capacity, and muscular endurance.

How do I get started?

Today is the day you can begin your journey that will definitely change your life. Click Here and Sign Up for a FREE Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class.