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.

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.

Is BJJ safe?

Jiu jitsu is a very safe sport, and safety is a core principle at Southside Jiu Jitsu. Our mat etiquette, curriculum design, practice process, and instruction methods all ensure safety first. Since it is completely based on leverage and submission, BJJ technique actually gives the smaller opponent an advantage. There is no kicking or punching involved, unlike many other martial arts. 

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! 

What do I wear for practice or to train?

We train Gi & NoGi Jiu Jitsu but, if you’re new to BJJ, it’s fine to wear shorts/leggings and a t-shirt for your first couple of classes. However, please note, there should be no zips and/or buttons on any item of clothing.  You generally wear either a Gi (sometimes called a kimono) to practice/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. Please also ensure your fingernails and toenails are short so you don’t accidentally scratch anyone. *Both Males and females should wear a rash guard and a spandex shorts under the gi.

What is the difference between Gi and NoGi BJJ?

The Gi can sometimes be referred to as a Kimono, especially in countries like Brazil. So to put simply, Gi BJJ is training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with a Gi on. No-Gi BJJ, on the other hand, means to grapple without the use of the traditional uniform. Most people use rash guards when training No-Gi as it is non-intrusive when grappling on the mats. However, some people do train using compression shirts.

Gi-based attacks depend on using the fabric to either control or support an attack. As the Gi provides additional control points, establishing, stripping, and re-establishing grips are of primary importance in Gi BJJ.

No-Gi BJJ, on the other hand, has a much more dynamic feel. The pace is usually faster due to the limited grips available. This means that you have to be more active in controlling your opponent. This can also mean that while technique is still king, being athletic in No-Gi grappling can greatly benefit your game.

One of the greatest benefits of No-gi BJJ is its similarity to the grappling aspect in mixed martial arts. It teaches you positional dominance without depending on things like the Gi.

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. 

Am I too old to do BJJ?

NO. Anyone, at any age, can do jiu jitsu.  Unlike many sports or activities, the thoughts of someone in their 30’s or 40’s picking up an entirely new sport and eventually becoming a skilled practitioner and competitor is relatively unlikely. This is one of the beautiful things about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Regardless of ones age at the time of begins, with mat time and dedication, everyone who starts has the potential of achieving their black belt and developing at high level of mastery.

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 or if you are in your trial classes, you can wear any comfortable clothing.  

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.  

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!