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)?
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?
Do I need to be strong, flexible, and in good shape?
Am I too old to do BJJ?
What do I wear for practice or to train?
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?
Do I have to compete?
What are the belt rankings in Brazilian jiu jitsu?
- 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?
- 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 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.