Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a grappling art that focuses almost exclusively on fighting on the ground. It relies on the use of technique and leverage in order to neutralize your opponent. BJJ practitioners work to gain dominant position, with the ultimate goal being to catch the other person in a submission (chokes and joint-locks).
The art was first developed by the Gracie family in Brazil, and is a derivative of Judo and traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. Helio Gracie, the founder of the art, developed it in such a way that someone much smaller could prevail against a larger, stronger, and more athletic adversary. BJJ’s effectiveness was proven during the early days of the UFC, when it was first brought to public awareness. During these early, no-holds-barred contests, which started in 1993, martial artists from different disciplines would fight to see which style would prevail. It was an experiment of sorts. In the very first event, UFC 1, Royce Gracie, representing the Gracie clan and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, would dominate to become the tournament champion.
Despite being slender and lighter than many of the other competitors, Royce would subsequently go on to win tournaments at UFC 2 and UFC 4. With the exposure brought by the UFC and its pay-per-view buys, Royce demonstrated the effectiveness of BJJ in what was considered “the ultimate proving ground.”
Although much has changed since then, BJJ remains an essential component of the repertoire of any successful MMA fighter. BJJ has also become a popular competitive sport in itself, with competitions held around the world. This is the main type of BJJ now practiced at many gyms. BJJ is also considered one of the best forms of self-defence, especially for women. BJJ techniques have been incorporated into the training of law enforcement and the military in the United States.
I first began training in BJJ during the summer of 2010 in mid July. It all happened when all my close friends wanted to try it out and I stuck to it since that day. I began competing 2 weeks afterwards winning my first gold medal. At this time I was still in grade school at just 14 years of age, and had no real direction in life. I was immediately hooked to the training and the lifestyle it provided. Jiu-Jitsu has been my calling, my passion, and has given me that direction I was missing. It has given me many other benefits as well, such as staying in shape and meeting some of my closest friends. Jiu-Jitsu has also allowed me the privilege of competing all over the world so I can test myself and prove my abilities.
Aside from learning the techniques and how to defend one’s self, BJJ provides an amazing full-body cardiovascular workout. While in other martial arts you might have to hold back during sparring for fear of hurting your partner, in BJJ you can go “all out.” Since there’s no striking involved, you can go as hard as you want and fully resist against your partner. If caught in a submission that can’t be safely escaped, you can simply “tap out” (physically acknowledge being caught) to avoid injury. This full physical resistance again allows for a great workout that’s both fun and safe.
My Coaching philosophy is “1% better each day.” In other words, students that consistently show up and give it their all will be rewarded over time with the results. As is traditionally done in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I will be using belts and stripes over the months and years as a way to gage everyone’s progress.
As a competitor I will continue to strive for the best results possible. My dream is to become a multiple time black belt world champion. Now, with this opportunity as an instructor, I am also looking to give back to the sport. My goal is to provide my students with the same benefits Jiu-Jitsu has given to myself. Whether it is losing weight or becoming a world-class competitor, I wish for my students to reach their fullest potential.