Keep up to date with our latest news.
Check out the photo of our team with Master Carlos Gracie Jr himself!
Some of our GB Headquarters - Sydney Team are in the USA for the global conference to connect and learn together!
What an incredible time and opportunity! We can’t wait to bring the energy back to HQ!
🥋💪🏼 FREE WOMEN'S SELF-DEFENSE CLASS 💪🏼🥋
📅 Date: Thursday 23rd November
🕕 Time: 6PM - 7PM
At Gracie Barra, your safety and confidence are our top priorities. We invite all women to join our FREE self-defence class, tailored to empower you with skills that can make a real difference!
👊 What will you learn?
🔹 Techniques to protect yourself from common attacks
🔹 Develop awareness and self-confidence in personal space management
🔹 Boost focus, energy, and concentration
🔹 Become a part of the supportive GB Family!
Don't miss this opportunity to enhance your self-defence skills, get fit, and elevate your lifestyle.
Reserve your spot NOW by clicking the link below: 👉 https://calendly.com/gbsydney/free-womens-self-defence-class?back=1
Congratulations to Prof. Caio on your black belt!
After more than 11 years of training, Prof. Caio received his black belt on Sunday at the GB Oceania Black Belt Day!
Congratulations on the amazing achievement!
Do you know what it will take to accomplish the mission of Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone? Do you know what steps are needed to make that happen? We would argue that it is about making Jiu-Jitsu more accessible, inclusive, and flexible in its class offerings that will offer the largest impact on whether or not an individual will begin their Jiu-Jitsu journey.
Part of our purpose at Gracie Barra is to make the world a better place through the practice of Jiu-Jitsu. What better way to accomplish this goal than to make our next step of Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone be about Jiu-Jitsu for Women!
During the 2021 World Summit, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. made a statement regarding GB’s Mission of Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone. He stated that it is our responsibility at Gracie Barra to “find a way to teach Jiu-Jitsu to those that need it the most.” and “that it is the challenge we face to bring everyone to Jiu-Jitsu.” He made it clear that his vision included many more women on the mats training alongside men and even maybe one day surpassing the number of men who train. To make this vision a reality, we have some work to do.
Master Carlos stated, “We must have classes for every kind of necessity. This is our goal.” This opened a discussion and launched a multi-faceted research study that landed us in creating a program of Jiu-Jitsu for Women called GBF. Master Carlos stated about ladies that “they are fierce, they support each other better than we support ourselves.” and “we have to prepare our tools inside Jiu-Jitsu to teach [more] ladies.”
This next step comes on the heels of Gracie Barra moving along a path of making Jiu-Jitsu more inclusive for all since 2005, when the Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone mission started. GB has experienced accelerated growth for many years, exponentially growing our number of schools and the number of students in each school, partly due to our continued effort to make Jiu-Jitsu more inclusive.
We have continued to develop the GB Program Structure to tailor the classes to the needs of students, first and foremost focused on grouping students by their experience level. GBF is one more step added to the ladder of student experience level. When we group students according to their learning needs, they learn more and have a more enriching experience.
GBF is an even better way to introduce women to Jiu-Jitsu because it provides the unique opportunity to create close bonds and relationships with those they train with. Of course, this happens naturally over time, but our research shows that women highly value community in the Jiu-Jitsu setting. Therefore, we want to create the setting to make it happen more readily.
We felt it was time to add a level of classes carefully designed for women beginning their journey! We believe we have done just that. We have developed a program that is designed specifically to bring women to Jiu-Jitsu. This program, complete with curriculum and empowerment messages, is meant to introduce Jiu-Jitsu, encouraging more women to start their journey while making sure more of them continue on it.
Master Carlos has stated, “where we come in is to give our students strength and belief in themselves. Our challenge to find what kind of class will satisfy all the different desires and necessities of all people is a challenge. We are thinking about that and working for that.”
This course provides invaluable information on Jiu-Jitsu for Women and provides the tools needed to implement the GBF Program. Ultimately, we serve our community. That is the mission of Gracie Barra worldwide. These classes will better serve the community.
With 1 in 4 women experiencing sexual violence over their lifetime, we must step up and help the community around us as much as possible. Jiu-Jitsu provides the tools and resources to help women not become victims of sexual violence.
Another way the GBF program serves the community is by prioritizing safety for women in Jiu-Jitsu. Educating instructors on best practices for keeping all students safe, and particularly starting to address with students how to handle rolling with smaller opponents, is a key component of keeping women safe.
The goal should be to keep the students safe and minimize injuries so they may train another day. This is accomplished by focusing on communication between partners, strategies in picking partners, and teaching skills to students that focus their attention on using the technique over strength and weight when necessary.
The GBF Program has been created to help increase the number of women training at Gracie Barra. It was designed to meet the specific learning needs of women who want to start Jiu-Jitsu. As such, it builds on the structure of the GB1 program but incorporates several adaptations and specific techniques designed to develop women physically, mentally, and technically to be prepared to join the GB1 class after 8-weeks of training at GBF.
Ultimately, GBF creates the opportunity for women to create a strong community within the school so they can support each other while training in a safe environment that honors their unique woman strengths and needs.
“Inside the mat, we create connections that we’ll have for life.”
Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
What is Friendship?
“Friendship for me is when you want good things to happen to a person that you like. It is to like someone, wish that person well, and always help and cooperate with that person the best you can.
When you can count on each other. Friendship is a very important thing that you learn on the mats when you are there. Helping and teaching each other because you care about that person because you are his / her friend.”
Creating connections with others at the GB school
“Inside the mat, we create connections that we’ll have for life.
That happens to me and to lots of people I know every day. Sometimes you need legal advice and a friend from the school who is a lawyer. Or if you need an engineer, there is one too, etc..” No matter what the color of the belt around the waist, we respect each other and form connections with the people that we see several days each week in class.
Friendship on the mat
“Magic happens on the mats. I believe it’s such a deep thing that it’s even hard to imagine, but that contact you have when you are training, the connection that you create at that moment. If you don’t have that with that person, how will your relationship be at work? When you are seated, chatting, eating, and then you leave.”
Master Carlos feels that the close, unique nature of training jiu-jitsu creates friends that have a closer bond than might be in other social activities.
“You don’t have that contact where you smash, grab, and scramble with each other, push and pull and submit each other? Because that creates such intimacy and a friendship that you don’t find anywhere else than on the mat.”
If you have been involved in training jiu-jitsu for any length of time it is likely that most of your closest, most trusted friends are those that you met in Jiu-Jitsu class.
Master Carlos finishes with “That’s why we create such deep and meaningful friendships. You become close – literally – to that person. Jiu-jitsu brings you this.”
“Always be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are for your own.”
Great Grandmaster Carlos Gracie
What does it mean to be a leader? What qualities does an individual have to be a leader? Perhaps the most challenging question is: What virtues do individuals have that make them a great leader who inspires others to be great?
When asked what qualities a leader should have, answers often include having good communication skills, the ability to delegate, and influence. To take it a step forward to influence those around you, the leader must show respect and integrity. And of course, a good leader must also exhibit intelligence and the ability to learn and adapt quickly to a changing environment.
Let's look a little deeper now. When imagining the best leaders, you will also define them as people who show empathy for those around them, courage to make difficult decisions, and self-awareness of when improvements are necessary. As you can imagine this leader that embodies all these qualities, you can imagine someone to admire, be loyal to, and follow.
Then you add the secret sauce. This secret sauce makes that leader become an inspiration to others. It makes that leader humble and not tired from leading others to their success. That secret sauce is gratitude. When someone leads well, with all the above qualities, and then with gratitude in their heart for the opportunity, you have greatness. And success for many is bound to happen.
We believe that through the practice of Jiu-Jitsu, people get inspired to become better leaders. So many of these virtues are required of students. How can you not have the courage or the ability to learn and adapt quickly and do well at practicing the art? And if you do not have those qualities when you start Jiu-Jitsu, you will develop them. Along the way, you will develop empathy for your training partners and self-awareness about where you need improvement in your game.
Most of the time, students take the lessons learned while training off the mats into life. The result is they become better bosses, better parents, and Everyday Champions. People develop a deep respect for their training partners through the bond created on the Jiu-Jitsu journey. An understanding emerges about the role of having someone challenge you to become a better fighter is also challenging you to become a better person.
Sometimes these students seek leadership roles within the Jiu-Jitsu profession because they grow a desire to lead others to their greatness. These individuals have realized that practicing Jiu-Jitsu is more than just teaching them self-defense and more than an exercise program with a fun twist. Jiu-Jitsu is a tool. And sometimes, individuals choose to use this tool to become better leaders. This is a worthy path.
When a student decides they want to become more involved with Jiu-Jitsu, it often starts as a staff member within a school. When Jiu-Jitsu becomes your living in addition to your passion, something can change inside one's heart. The desire to do more, give to others what Jiu-Jitsu has given them, and become a leader to others.
Consider this quote by Aristotle:
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or greatness, but rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
When considering becoming a leader, we must consider the virtues one comes to the table with. In Jiu-Jitsu, a courageous, empathetic, self-aware person who learns quickly will do very well in learning the art. But without those virtues leading to good habits and consistency, they will only get so far.
So the discussion on virtues is not irrelevant. It is vital, but it must be matched with powerful habits that will create excellence for ourselves and all around us. If not, we run the risk of limiting our attempt to live a virtuous life through Jiu-Jitsu to intentions or wishful thinking.
When looking for a model to help people turn their highest ambitions and ideas into daily habits, we turned to the greatest leaders of Gracie Barra. We asked the ultimate question: What is it that the greatest leaders of Gracie Barra do consistently that sets them apart?
The answers to this question came from our thousands of interactions coaching hundreds of GB leaders worldwide. Once we stopped to analyze their behavior, we noticed patterns. These behavior patterns have been organized into the 7 Habits of Great GB Leaders.
What exactly is a habit? A habit is a meaningful, consistent, and intentional action taken by individuals. The discussion about the 7 Habits of Great GB Leaders has less to do with replacing bad habits with good habits and more to do with replacing good habits with habits of greatness. This is a crucial distinction because of our natural tendency to settle for less than our true potential.
The 7 habits we identified through our research were to always be on a mission, be energized, show up, always be learning, be a champion of the win or learn philosophy, create synergized, and empower people. We cover these habits in detail in the Instructor Certification Program (ICP) course Habits of the GB Leaders.
When one of our GB family members wants to embark on the journey of becoming a better leader, Gracie Barra jumps in to assist in any way we can. If you're going to lead, we want to give you the tools to do so. On this mission of Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone, we want to support any GB member that has a passion for the mission and wants to be a part of it.
If you have been contemplating taking on more of a leadership role within Gracie Barra, or if you are interested in challenging yourself to become a more active member of the GB family, you should look into the ICP. The tools are all there to help you. The more you invest in your Jiu-Jitsu journey, the more you will get out of it.
Due to the public holiday, Gracie Barra Headquarters - Sydney will be closed on Monday 2nd October!
Classes will resume as normal on Tuesday 3rd October.
We can't wait to see you soon!
Observing competition from the parent’s perspective is an interesting viewpoint. As parents, we sometimes wish to remove our children's discomfort in the face of adversity. This is often in an effort to save them, but it can actually harm their personal development. Allowing our children to feel the discomfort and pressure of training and competing will enable them to learn what they are capable of. If done correctly and with support, the discomfort and challenges they face become a force that molds our children into stronger individuals.
In this month’s blog, I will highlight some exciting areas of growth I have witnessed in my own two sons. Both children continue to experience different paths and results along the competition route, resulting in some pretty awesome self-improvement and self-confidence.
My boys have been competing since the age of 7 or 8. Our first tournament was a CompNet in Irvine, California. It was something we wanted to try. It is nerve-racking to be the parent watching your child face an unknown opponent at a young age. However, the pride you feel in your child and their pride in themselves when facing that opponent is unmatched.
Over the years, I have watched my sons compete in many tournaments. We have done many CompNet tournaments. They have also fought on the biggest kids' stages available, IBJJF Kids Worlds and Pan American Kids. Due to their comfort with competing, they learned at CompNet and confidently faced the large arenas, albeit with nerves in tow!
First, I will never forget the day we sent our impulsive and forgetful 4th grader with his passport down to the weighing station at the Pan American Kids competition, where he was to go without his parents’ help. This was a young boy who would forget to bring shoes to school occasionally. He had to be solely responsible for not losing his ID, getting weighed in, checking in for his match, warm-up, and waiting patiently for his match to start. We thought this was way above his ability at the time, and we were not prepared for that. But we did it, and we sat and hoped. And to our pride and amazement, he did everything right…and returned with the passport.
He had proven that he was way more capable than we had given credit. He had matured beyond his years in this competition setting and thrived in it. He had learned those skills through attending CompNet tournaments for years prior. He was not scared, not paralyzed with nerves like his parents were. He was just calmly doing what he came to do. And he took silver in that tournament in a pretty tough bracket, going three rounds to achieve that medal. But, I was more proud of his maturity and perseverance than I was of the medal.
“Perhaps it is not about the gold medal. Perhaps it is about the person we become while chasing it” - Professor Flávio Almeida.
Looking at that same child now, I see an 8th grader who bravely chose to undergo surgery – that was not emergent but would greatly impact his athletic ability. He had fear, of course. The unknown was daunting, being wheeled away from his parents, put under anesthesia, and into a doctor’s care. All of this to electively put himself through a surgery that required a long recovery process so that he may become better, stronger, and more able. This child has become a mentally and physically tough young man because of the influences of competition. He has learned for himself what he is capable of. And he didn’t need his parents to tell him. He owns that lesson for himself, and he earned it!
My older son didn’t have as much success in the competition arena as his younger brother. It was only in its second season when he joined the Gracie Barra San Clemente Competition Team. It was a vast unknown. Sure, he competed at CompNet, but this was a new commitment. This was to train with the expressed purpose of competing.
He was always a very timid child, but we got him involved in Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 4 because he loved rough-house. We needed a space for him to express his energy with children his own age rather than his then 1-year-old brother. He competed at CompNet for the first time at 8 years old and joined the competition team at 9 ½ years old.
He struggled to find his comfort in competition. He fought through some tough matches. There were seasons on the competition team where he constantly battled the same one or two individuals in a competition that would get the better of him. He often struggled with demons of negative self-talk and self-doubt. He would defeat himself before he ever stepped on the mat.
One day, we showed up to a tournament and discovered he was not in the bracket with the opponents he was expecting. He went into those matches without negative self-talk. He came out of that tournament with a Gold medal. He was aggressive and aware. He was in tune with his many years of competition training skills at his fingertips, and he came out on top because he had prepared all of that time for that moment. He reflects that the memory of that fight was probably his favorite in his Jiu-Jitsu training.
He has since said he doesn’t like competing and explains that he continued to compete because he was a part of the team. He sacrificed his comfort to be a part of something bigger than himself. He did it for the team, and he is proud of that.
Although my now 16-year-old stopped competing at the age of 13, he continues to be a confident young man. He is not timid. He does not shy away from teen boy rough play that often happens. In fact, he is incredibly proud that none of his friends can get the better of him. As a result, he is not messed with. His sacrifice of living through the discomfort has provided him with a great deal of confidence to deal with both physical and verbal conflicts. This is vital to a teen boy's self-esteem and to a young man's confidence.
Both of these boys are better individuals because of their time competing. They both own the lessons they fought for and were not given to them by their parents. Knowing oneself and believing in oneself is the most valuable lesson learned on the journey of training for competition.
So if you are considering having your children compete, go after it. Or if they are competing and you are curious about what lessons they are learning in the ups and downs, brace yourself to be surprised. You may not know or understand it all yet, but they are becoming something unique that only time will reveal!
Blog Written by Dawn Korsen, a Gracie Barra Brown Belt
Have you ever wondered what walking into a different Gracie Barra school would be like compared to your home school? Or, if you have visited other schools, have you wondered why it was all so familiar? The answer to these questions is because of the science behind Gracie Barra!
In the early 2000s, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. understood that to continue to grow Gracie Barra across the globe would require a careful plan to ensure we grew stronger together. Master Carlos and some of his black belts decided to study and observe best practices for teaching Jiu-Jitsu. Through this detailed study and observation, the Gracie Barra Method was born. The GB Method is a set of teaching techniques, tools, and standards developed to empower GB Instructors worldwide to teach Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone. Essential building blocks form the GB Method so it can serve as a platform for our instructors to serve as teachers, mentors, and leaders. For this month's blog, we will focus on only a few of the essential blocks and the foundation of safety for students on which the building blocks rest. We will discuss how the GB program and class structure, the uniform, and our teaching and training practices are essential to the student's experience of learning Jiu-Jitsu. Let us remember that these building blocks do not exist successfully on their own. Every member of the GB family is a part of the equation. The execution of the method and the student's experience while training Jiu-Jitsu are valuable parts of the GB Method.
GB Method as Theory
The GB Program and Class Structure is the framework defining the path of each student and the relationships between classes, student rank, and what can be expected from different classes on the school schedule. It is also the very familiar natural progression of the class elements that we have come to expect when we train. Can you imagine showing up and your class started 15 minutes late, the school was dirty, or there was not a clear expectation of what the plan for the training was? And what of the uniform? Could you imagine a class you showed up to, and not everyone was wearing the same uniform? The class would seem odd, unfamiliar, and maybe even uncomfortable for some. Our uniform is not only designed to inspire order, team spirit, pride, and hygiene, but it also is a source of comfort to some to know we all stand for the same values. Learn more about the GB uniform here. And let's take a look at the teaching and training practices we see when we train. You can always count on the instructor to demonstrate a technique in steps to make it easier to learn. The instructor helps to match students that are appropriate training partners to create safe and challenging training situations. Imagine a school that didn't have attendance cards! All of this is part of the science of what makes a GB school successful.
GB Essentials as Execution
The early development of the GB Method is the theory behind why we do what we do. If that is true, then the GB Essentials are the execution of that theory. The GB Essentials are all the little things the professors, instructors, and staff do to ensure that the student walks into the school knowing what to expect from that day's training session. It is also the subtle details we may not notice but give us the feeling of comfort and brotherhood/sisterhood. In simple terms, GB Essentials is about identifying and understanding the basic elements that create the ideal learning experience we want our students to have at Gracie Barra Schools worldwide. Let's look at some examples of this. Whether you are a student, parent, instructor, professor, or school owner, we all know exactly what to expect in a warm-up in any GB class. It is amazing and funny that most of us can close our eyes and complete the warm-up in our heads. This is a GB Essential! Have you ever noticed that although different instructors have their styles, there is always a familiarity around how a technique is demonstrated, always showing it from different angles to understand the steps fully? Or that a technique is often revisited after some practice to add details that may have been missed on the first pass. This is not an accident. These elements are a small part of the GB Essentials and were developed based on studies and practices to deliver the best learning environment possible to study Jiu-Jitsu.
GB Experience as Results
All of this boils down to the most crucial purpose of the GB Method, and that is what we all experience while training Jiu-Jitsu, or the GB Experience! Suppose the GB Method is the theory, and the GB Essentials execute that theory. In that case, the GB Experience is the result that occurs due to the proper execution of the theory. The GB Experience is the shared perception, feelings, and realities team members experience from interacting with GB schools worldwide. Can you imagine walking into a GB school and not seeing a Legacy Wall or blue mats? It would feel different or just a bit off. We may not always be able to see the little details that influence our experience as martial art students, but the GB Method is all those little details. So the next time you are in your school, take a look around. Absorb all the little things you may not always pay attention to. You may understand some of the science that went into developing the most successful Jiu-Jitsu team in the world.
Do you know why Gracie Barra decided to become a professional in the United States?
Master Carlos Gracie Jr. talks about the teaching system inside the first Jiu-Jitsu academies of the Gracie family.
See how what we do today at Gracie Barra is aligned with the roots of what his father, Carlos Gracie Sr., and his uncle Hélio Gracie taught.
One thing distinguishing the Gracie Barra approach to Jiu-Jitsu is the philosophy of “Jiu-Jitsu For Everyone.” Many gyms focus heavily on young competitors and how the training is conducted. It excludes many other types of people who would benefit from training in Jiu-Jitsu as part of their lives. And this includes over 50 Gracie Barra students whose training needs to be approached differently.
Professor Draculino is a very active and fit over-50 athlete and GB professor who continues to perform at a high level after decades on the mats. We talked with Professor Draculino to find out how he stays fit and active in his Jiu-Jitsu training. He was honored with the Legacy Award in 2013 for 25 years of dedicated service to Gracie Barra and Coach’s Legacy Hall Award in 2021 by Gracie Barra because of his outstanding achievement as a coach for competitive athletes.
Professor Draculino has been training in Jiu-Jitsu for a little under 40 years. When he looks back at his training career, he sees certain habits that have allowed him longevity in Jiu-Jitsu.
"I think that the most important habit is the habit of persistence. The habit of routine. And the habit of fighting your ego every single day."
"Everybody has an ego. Every single person. I have an ego," he admits. "Everybody, no matter what, when they go to do a training session. When they go to a competition, they think, ' Man, I may lose this or get submitted or smashed. And it's going to look bad.' They think that the safest way is not even to try."
This internal dialogue goes on in all of our heads. From the first-class white belt to professional fighters with dozens of fights. The fear of losing, of being dominated in front of our friends, teammates, and spectators. We all have these private thoughts at times. Professor Draculino says bluntly, "That crosses everybody's mind. I don't care whoever says otherwise...it's a lie."
"It's worst not to try. To hide yourself." Prof Draculino asks, "What would be the safest way? To not try! To not train at all. Just put on your gi, as many people say, and walk around and tell people what to do and not do anything."
"Yes, you have to push yourself, yes. You have to create self-motivation - yes. But intelligently." Prof Draculino shrugs his shoulders. "You know that you can not go against nature. Period."
Professor Draculino reinforces the idea that the over 50 Jiu-Jitsu athletes must consider their physical capacity to determine how intense they will train and who they pick to roll with. Ignoring this factor will increase the risk of a training injury and potentially force them off the mats.
"If you are a 50-year-old l, like me, at 155 to 160 lbs, you are not going to be taking anything that adds to your Jiu-Jitsu or adds to your health by training with a kid who is a tip-top world champion, heavier than you."
"Either they will crush you, and you will try to keep the pace, and you will most likely get hurt. Or they are going to train with you and let you do stuff. So it's not real training."
Professor Draculino acknowledges that the more mature GB student must be judicious in selecting training partners. This may not be satisfying to a competitive personality, but this is a wise strategy for longevity in Jiu-jitsu.
"So we go back to training partners. You have to be smart about your training partners. You must be going against somebody who is competitive, but the chances of you getting hurt will also be minimized."
Professor Draculino suggests finding a suitable training partner regarding age, weight, goals, and experience for the best training. Someone who is well matched with you and can push you to have high-paced, competitive rolls, but not so much heavier or younger that you expose yourself to the chance of getting injured.
"So get somebody competitive and do several rounds. Maybe you have several different, competitive training partners, and then you will, for sure, keep getting better and get the benefits of the whole thing."
Problems may occur when older athletes can't accept their reduced capacity. They try to train like the younger competitors, and their ego pushes them beyond their capabilities. They might sustain a training injury, and their progress is derailed. Longevity requires an acceptance of certain limitations.
"We can not cheat nature. That's what I always say. Nature is nature. When you are 50, you will not have the same conditions as a 23 or a 25-year-old. Even an early 30s-aged training partner. It's not going to happen. So what are you going to do?" He mocks and raises his hands in surrender, "Are you just going to declare defeat and not do anything? No! I'm just going to be smart about it".
What about the over 50 athletes who are having a difficult time mentally accepting "mother nature"? They don't want to acknowledge that their physical capacity has naturally declined with age. Is there a danger of pushing themselves too hard and developing training injuries?
Professor Draculino nods his head in recognition of the situation.
"100% They are either going to get in trouble with injuries. Or, they are just going to stop training. Because they are so competitive, their ego is so high that they will see every potential training as a threat to getting tapped in front of people. Getting tapped is going to hurt their ego."
"Some people want to get in there and push themselves."
Professor Draculino readily admits that he is very competitive and is an example of the type of Jiu-Jitsu athlete who wants that high-intensity training. "When I do that, I make sure that I'm injury free and warmed up."
He gives the example of how he approaches high-intensity training with training partner Professor Lucas Valente (one of his black belts), an active, high-level competitor.
"Once in a while, I go, 'Lucas, let's go!' Lucas is one of the best Jiu-Jitsu athletes right now in the world. And we go at it! But...one time. One round. Lucas knows me. He is not trying to kill me. But he's going to give me good training."
This is where having solid, regular training partners is valuable.
"So you do that (high-intensity rolls) in a controlled environment. In a way that the (younger or higher level) training partner will give you competitive training, but he won't try to rip your head off."
However, not all of our training partners at the Jiu-Jitsu school are...let's say, “relaxed' and controlled” when the timer starts the rolling round.
"That's the thing. You know some people in Jiu-Jitsu can't help it. They roll with their grandma and they will rip their head off," he laughs. "They are going to throw them against the wall. They can't help it. A lot of people are like that. So what are you going to do? Are you going to train with this guy every single day? Not smart."
We have to fight our egos all of the time...
Professor Draculino asks over 50 GB students to examine the role of their ego in their training. "I think that this is all about the ego. We have to fight our egos all of the time."
Perhaps you may have been expecting a more conventional and different answer like 'You need to go to bed early and get your rest. Or you need to work hard on the mats" as the key to longevity in Jiu-Jitsu. Professor Draculino asks us to examine the influence of our ego in our experience of training Jiu-Jitsu."That's the most important one," he says.
What about the over 50 Jiu-Jitsu student who wants to push their limits on the mats? They may very well be high achievers in other areas of their lives and naturally want to express that in their study of Jiu-Jitsu. Some students successfully stay on the mats over 50 and enjoy Jiu-Jitsu as part of their lives; some are not and soon drop out.
What does Professor Draculino see as why some stay/succeed and some don't? Is it something in the way that they approach their training?
"There is always the nature factor. Some people are more talented than others. Some have more spirit. Some people were born to be good at it. And some other people have more limitations." he says.
For Professor Draculino, the greatest benefit of training Jiu-Jitsu is not the end result. It is the process. The everyday disciplines and practices that push us to be the best versions of ourselves.
"Everyone can benefit from Jiu-Jitsu in their own reality. If they are trying, they are training hard but not champions, honestly, for me, it's not a big deal. Because they are trying, it's about the process. Striving to be at your personal best."
Draculino adds, “For them to jump into a competition, I don't care who they are. They don't go there completely careless. They trained hard. They ate better. They rested more. So, therefore, their Jiu-Jitsu is improving."
We asked Draculino about the recreational Jiu-Jitsu student who is not competition oriented. What is the main benefit to that over 50 professional who does not have a goal to win the Masters division of the World Championships? What positive things are they getting out of training Jiu-Jitsu?
Professor Draculino says, "Most importantly, they are getting physical, mental, and spiritual health. What is more important than that in life? That's way more important than a medal or a tournament as long as they try. As long as they are dedicated. As long as they have persistence and routine. They will get better in life."
"This, for me, in my reality, is the most important right now. I train more for mental and spiritual health than physical health nowadays. Jiu-Jitsu is my therapy. It makes me feel at peace with myself."
Professor Draculino explains further, "Naturally, I'm a very aggressive person. My natural reaction to things is to be aggressive. And Jiu-Jitsu helps put that in control. I have way more control over myself since I started training Jiu-Jitsu than before.”
For Professor Draculino, training is a way to vent his aggressive energy productively. After several rounds of rolling, he feels more relaxed and deals with the small problems of life more easily.
"When I can't train, this side gives me signs. And that's not good. I mean that I'm not crazy aggressive but I tend to be a little grumpy. I tend to be rough in some situations and with others. After Jiu-Jitsu, I get calm. I get relaxed. And also the spirit. I feel at peace with myself. I feel that sensation of mission accomplished. I feel the sensation of being healthy in body and mind. So these two things - mental and spiritual - are way more important than physical health.”
First of all...always try to fight your ego, Number One.
Always warm yourself up, Number two.
And know that the journey is more important than the destination.
Look at the benefits that jiu-jitsu is bringing to you.
Professor Draculino emphasizes that the journey alone is more important than a medal in a tournament. “Trust me. I'm not telling you not to compete in a tournament. That's great. It's amazing. For decades I competed for results. That's all that I cared about. Results. But I see now that while the results were cool, what Jiu-Jitsu brought to me as a person, was WAY more important than the medals. So that's my advice. You are turning into a better person. You are living better. Winning or not winning the competitions.”
Professor Draculino wanted to add one more thing before he left to teach a class at his GB Houston school.
"The older we get, the smarter we need to be with our health. Jiu-Jitsu is something that makes life better for people over 40 years old. I can attest to this myself. I would recommend that everybody give it a try. If you've never trained in Jiu-Jitsu and you listen to what I said, try it. Try because I'm pretty sure that it will change your life for the better by training Jiu-Jitsu in a smart way.”
We’ve all been there before in life. We’ve reached that breaking point where we want to give up or say, “I quit,'' or more relatable in the Jiu-Jitsu world, utter the word, “tap.”
But, we don’t realize that at that very moment, we say, “tap,” surprisingly, we are inviting the chance for growth and development to occur. In everyday life, we tend to think that tapping out means we quit or we are a failure. Tapping out can also mean we’ve reached a point where we can’t go any further. We have reached our maximum threshold—the moment, however, where major change can occur.
If we look from a half-glass-full rather than a half-glass empty lens, not being able to move any further does not automatically mean we’ve reached a dead-end point (a.k.a. one’s breaking point). But instead, we have reached a chance to find another way, another road map to arrive at our destination. Atomic Habits author James Clear states that failures are simply “data points.” He means that for every failure we have, he urges us to use that “failing” moment as important information and a stepping-stone for improvement, a chance to revise the plan. A popular saying in the martial arts world is, “You either win, or you learn.” This saying speaks to the choice (as James Clear would agree) we all have when we are at our lowest points. We can give up, or we can get up and keep going. Motivational speaker Les Brown once said, “If you’re going to fall, fall on your back. If you can look up, you can get up.”
As a psychologist treating people struggling with mental health and substance addiction as well as actively competing in sports Jiu-Jitsu on both the local and master world levels, I have heard many stories and personally experienced the challenges of fighting through failures, our “rock bottom” points. What I have found is that what separates those who climb up from their lowest points and continue to make forward progress compared to those who stay stuck in the same place boils down to—how one thinks. Whether it be someone battling through anxiety or depression, a person struggling to get sober, or working to earn the top spot on the tournament podium, the process in which a person reflects on a setback or failure is a major gauge of how successful they will be at becoming a better version of themselves as a result of the failure. In other words, it is finding, in any loss, the silver lining—the knowledge that rises above the darkness of defeat. I can honestly say some of my most important life lessons on and off the Jiu-Jitsu mat have emerged following a loss, setback, or failure.
Moreover, to move towards the best version of ourselves in any arena of our lives, we must embrace the words that TV evangelist TD Jakes advises to a person struggling to succeed— “Master Your Breaking Point!” He means that we must fight past that point where our self-defeating mindset can make us believe that we have maxed out on our potential. Essentially, telling us to take off the gloves and give up. For many of us, when something hurts or is uncomfortable, we falsely conclude that it is our endpoint. In fact, it is in those times when we need to “tap into” our reserves and push beyond our outermost limits.
When Bruce Lee was asked by a reporter how many push-ups he does, Master Lee replied, “I don’t start counting until it starts hurting.” Another saying I discovered related to the push beyond our discomfort was when I came across a picture frame in my co-worker’s office that wisely said, “Life begins where our comfort zone ends.” Lastly, suppose you have bench pressed or performed a challenging exercise movement with someone pushing you a few extra times when you can’t do any more on your own. In that case, we know that those last few repetitions we completed beyond our thresholds counted the most and made the most difference. Physically, they were the ones that tore down our deepest muscle fibers to make way for growth. Mentally, they were the ones which we proved to ourselves that we still had more in our mental gas tank.
This lesson of moving towards and not away from what makes us feel uncomfortable is present in all our lives, most obvious in the areas where we thrive. For instance, if a person is a successful math student, that person needs to go the extra mile, do additional math problems, stay up a little later, or read the extra books to excel—all activities that push the limits of that person’s comfort level. My patients who want to succeed in their social anxiety need to face the situations and not run away from them altogether, which means continually putting themselves in social situations and not avoiding them as they will reach a level of increasing comfort over time. For Jiu-Jitsu students to reach a new level of progress in their Jiu-Jitsu game, they must be willing to put themselves in bad positions to find comfort in discomfort so that those positions will no longer be points of failure. For instance, if getting fully mounted is your worst fear, and where you get finished most easily, in training or sparring, that is where you ask your partner to start. Doing whatever you can to not get mounted is not feasible. Sooner or later, you will find yourself in that position (often in specific training by a super-fast, flexible 15-year-old orange belt). Each time you survive to the point where you can escape more easily, these moments of success will happen only if you put yourself in those situations to begin with. I see it all too often, whereby people avoid their weaknesses, fears, or discomforts. At the worst moment, those areas they avoided often find themselves on center stage in the unluckiest times (e.g., not practicing how to escape a triangle choke). This same model (a.k.a. In Vivo Exposure Therapy) of facing our fears and discomforts can be used for nearly anything (e.g., fear of dogs, fear of heights, fear of planes, fear of competitions, etc.).
I, too, need to listen to my own advice and remember to push past my breaking points. Attending the competition class every weekend at GB Headquarters reminds me weekly about my max points. After an hour and a half of intense training and sparring (90 minutes has been my usual endpoint), my muscles begin to tighten, my asthma flares, and I am mentally drained. I then bring out my acupressure gun and sit on the bench, watching my peers fight for the last thirty minutes of class–pushing themselves to a higher max point. I often then ask myself if I am genuinely maxing my potential. Typically, taking off your gi top, belt, and safety gear puts you in the “safe zone” and no longer a candidate for sparring—not for Professor Philipe Della Monica. Several times, I will hear in the near distance, Eddie Bravo (my assigned nickname due to what I have been told by Professor Philipe, a striking facial resemblance similar to the legendary Jiu-Jitsu fighter and teacher), Let’s Go! Like a kid getting caught taking a nap in the classroom, I get up quickly, put back on my soaking-wet kimono, strap on my headgear, take one last puff of my rescue inhaler, and fist bump my next partner—all failed attempts at stalling. Professor patiently waits and smiles until I finish the shenanigans before resetting the clock to 8 minutes. What Professor is doing is pushing me beyond my standard endpoint—the time when my mindset tells me, “You’re Done.” Modestly, I sense that Professor believes in my potential and knows there is still more in my untapped Jiu-Jitsu gas tank. And as a competitor, I need to push myself to greater levels because my opponents are most likely training harder than me, maximizing their breaking points. Not surprisingly, this constant push is why he has a coaching resume inked with the names of several Jiu-Jitsu and MMA world champions. And, believe it or not, this extra push has humbly led me to find myself several times on the coveted podium block with a “1” painted in front of it.
So, the next time you are thinking about giving up or ending up tapping in life or on the mat, instead of mentally beating yourself up thinking a failure has taken place, view the moment as a path to tap into deeper self-exploration and a doorway to improve your blueprint—the strategy for a better you. We are all our architects and have to be experts on ourselves or “captains of our own ships.” One way you can continue to progress and successfully master your breaking point is by becoming comfortable with discomfort. Move towards, not away from it. Embrace it. Soon enough, conquer it to break through your former “giving up” point and move onto the next level in your Jiu-Jitsu game and life overall.
It’s the most exciting time because you have entered a whole new world of Jiu-Jitsu techniques and concepts. Every class reveals a new technique that answers one of your problems on the mats. You got stuck in a position or submitted by an arm lock, and the very next class, your Gracie Barra Professor dedicates the class to deal with the exact situation you just faced.
You meet great people on the mats daily and help each other improve your skillset.
On the other hand...it can also be a great challenge, and you will have periods of discouragement. There is just so much to learn, the names of the techniques are challenging to remember, and the sheer amount of information seems overwhelming sometimes. The technique you drilled in class seemed like it would make a difference in your rolling success... only to have it fizzle in live sparring. Progress can sometimes seem nonexistent, and everyone but you seem to be getting better.
We hear you. You are not alone. This article is written with you in mind.
We want to share some helpful tips, cautionary advice on common miss-steps to avoid, helpful resources, and time-tested wisdom that will help you navigate these difficulties that seem common to most of our experiences of starting in Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu.
In this modern age of instant gratification and lifestyle hacks, Jiu-Jitsu will force you to slow down. Most GB black belts have been training for over ten years. That's A LOT of hours on the mats over a long period of time.
There are hundreds of Jiu-Jitsu techniques that you will see and need to acquire some level of skill with. For example, the GB1 - the "GB beginners" program has 85 separate techniques in the 16 weeks curriculum. This is going to take time to be exposed to and assimilate.
To progress as fast as possible, you need to be patient. This might sound like a cryptic piece of advice, such as a riddle uttered by a wise old Kung Fu master to a young grasshopper student. But it's true. You must build your foundation on the basics of Jiu-Jitsu before diving into all the advanced positions.
One of the reasons that the Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt is so respected is that it is so difficult to achieve. Easy achievements have little value. Difficult things are valuable.
Part of our frustration can come from feeling like we are not achieving a certain level within the time that we expect. We "should" be as good as another of your training partners that started near the same time we started. You "should not" be still having your guard passed by other white belts.
But these expectations often are not founded in any objective standard that applies to all of us. We come into Jiu-Jitsu with unique attributes, previous athletic experience, and potential.
Professor Isaac Dull of GB Matriz in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, says that he thinks most students quit in their first year because of the self-imposed pressure they place on themselves.
"Enjoy the journey. Don't worry,” says Professor Isaac.
“Don't put pressure on yourself to prove anything. Don't focus only on the physical aspects of training - winning rolls and submitting your training partners. Be aware of the other benefits that you get from Jiu-Jitsu in your life. Most importantly...enjoy the process."
The message here is to give yourself time. Understand that the process of learning and graduating through the colored belts and acquiring all of that technical knowledge will take a long time.
Focus on enjoying each class and accept that learning Jiu-Jitsu is a long-term investment in your life.
It's not uncommon for a new Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu student to become so infatuated with training that they start training every day, start doing CrossFit to gain a physical edge, watch hours of technique videos late into the night, and are up on all of the latest tournament results and trendy positions. "Go hard or go home" is their mantra.
However, this intense regimen can quickly lead to physical and mental burnout. In the worst cases, they drop out after their initial fast start and are never again seen at the Jiu-Jitsu school.
In a different, lower-key approach, we see the new Jiu-jitsu student who sets a goal of training at their Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu school three times a week consistently. They tighten their diet up a little. They spend some time reviewing techniques on GB Online as their Jiu-Jitsu homework.
As the weeks and months go by, we see their face in all of the class photos. They may not have the most natural talent or the most free time to devote to Jiu-Jitsu. But they are consistent. They have found a way to incorporate training as a regular part of their lives. It's sustainable.
It's not all about training super hard for a short period before a tournament and drifting away afterward. "Don't be heroic, be consistent," is a favorite quote on the attitude of training for the long haul
A well-worn piece of Jiu-Jitsu wisdom remains as true today as when it was first spoken: "A Jiu-Jitsu black belt is simply a white belt who never gave up."
Acquiring a high level of Jiu-Jitsu skill and earning a black belt isn't about brief bursts of furious activity. It's about consistent effort applied over a long period of time.
As with many life endeavors, mastery of the fundamentals of Jiu-Jitsu leads to excellence. Yet the world continues to look for the shortcut, the magic hack that will turbocharge your progress past all other people.
This holds true in Jiu-Jitsu as well. More specifically, when new students look for the latest, secret moves and positions that will propel their game to the next level. It seems that following every major Bjj competition, some new technique innovation creates a ripple of excitement in the Bjj competition community.
The problem is when first-year students who have yet to achieve any level of proficiency with the basic techniques get distracted by the newest tournament move and abandon the more valuable basics they have been working on.
This tangent takes them away from focusing their precious, finite learning time on the fundamentals that will truly make a positive difference in their game and squanders it on low percentage techniques that require an advanced level of attributes and skill to make work.
So what are the right things?
Quite simply, the techniques that your Gracie Barra Professor teaches in your GB1 or GB2 class.
These expertly organized sets of techniques are designed to build the skills you need in the order you need to learn them. These so-called basic techniques build the foundation of your Jiu-Jitsu, allowing you to start using the more advanced, sports-specific positions eventually.
A Gracie Barra Black Belt Professor told a group of new students in the GB1: "There are no secrets, no magic techniques in the advanced classes." The most important techniques to build your Jiu-Jitsu are taught in the GB1 and GB2 programs.
This is the reason why YouTube and Instagram technique videos get such a bad rap from Jiu-Jitsu instructors. The moves are flashy and creative, and fun. But spending hours learning how to do an advanced rolling back take isn't the key to unlocking your Jiu-Jitsu game. Mastering the basics is.
We've all witnessed the Jiu-Jitsu student that is obsessed with the next stripe or belt promotion. They want to know how long it takes to get a blue or black belt. "When do I get my next stripe?" they ask. They gossip about who got a stripe and who didn't deserve it, and so on.
You may even have witnessed a student become so frustrated with not receiving a promotion that they felt that they deserved that they left the school!
Goal-oriented people care about milestones as they work toward a big goal. A stripe or belt promotion can provide much-needed positive motivation for a Jiu-Jitsu student. There is nothing wrong with appreciating the recognition for your discipline and hard work by your Gracie Barra Professor.
The problem is when some students become disproportionately focused on belts. The most important things to be focused on are improving our skills and enjoying the process. The stripes and belts will come as a by-product if you consistently work hard. But training to get the next promotion removes your focus from what should be your priority, and you risk frustration if these promotions aren't coming according to your internal schedule.
Let's preface this next habit by saying that your primary method of learning Jiu-Jitsu should be going to class regularly at your Gracie Barra school and learning directly from your Gracie Barra Professor. There are a lot of details that comprise a technique that may not be apparent when observing the move being performed. There are "invisible" elements - as Professor Braulio Estima likes to say - too many techniques must be felt to be understood. It's not possible to learn Jiu-Jitsu only by watching videos.
With that caveat out of the way, many Jiu-Jitsu students love watching Jiu-Jitsu videos to learn new techniques and analyze high-level competition matches. Who among us has not gone down a "YouTube rabbit hole" until 2 am watching technique videos?
The problem for Jiu-Jitsu addicts is not a shortage of videos...it's the opposite. There is just such an overwhelming amount of Jiu-Jitsu content available online that the less experienced student doesn't know where to start. And not all of that video content is from credible, legitimate sources.
The best way to supplement your learning with Jiu-Jitsu videos is NOT by watching a hundred random, disconnected techniques with varying degrees of quality of instruction. The most productive way is to study videos that reinforce the positions you are learning in class. You can often see things differently when you stand back and observe from a distance - like you do when watching a video.
If you learned a triangle choke from the guard in this week's class, it can be beneficial to watch how Professor Rodrigo Fajardo or Professor Victor Estima teach the same position in the GB2 curriculum at GB Online, for example. Watching the video can reinforce what you saw in class. They may introduce a new detail that sharpens your understanding of the triangle. A different entry to the triangle seems to click with your guard game, and you can add to your knowledge of the triangle choke.
The best Jiu-Jitsu video instructionals teach the techniques progressively and systematically. Videos that are organized around a specific position - the Outside Hook Guard, for example - and build skills sequentially.
GB Online is an excellent resource for Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu students to supplement their Jiu-Jitsu learning. You can "deep dive" into a specific position with a course by one of the GB Online Professors - for example, I love the course on the Single Leg X-Guard with Prof Ana Laura Cordeiro. Or you can follow along in the successive weeks of the GB Curriculum and study that week's position.
In light of recent cases in the global community of martial arts, and Jiu-Jitsu specifically, we have doubled down on our internal discussions at Gracie Barra focusing on safety in Jiu-Jitsu. If you happened to miss last month’s blog on how to train safely, we recommend that you check that out as well.
Safety comes in many different forms and is better understood from the proactive assessment and understanding of the risks. We must come together in a coordinated effort to increase our knowledge of safety risks and how to mitigate them. Broadly speaking, we can talk about physical and emotional safety. We are having an explorative conversation at Gracie Barra to try to better understand the issues that go into safe training and the feeling of being safe, which are two separate things.
Safe training is easy enough to understand and was covered in last month’s blog. Simply put, it is putting practices in place to prevent injury. Feeling safe has more to do with the interactions one has with others in their environment. In other words, one does not anticipate being harmed, either physically or mentally. Feeling safe comes back to the culture of the environment.
If you are a certified instructor with Gracie Barra, then you have read our full course on Ethics, covering ethical behaviors, code of conduct, and conflict resolution from an ethical perspective. That was one of the steps we invested in as part of this valuable conversation. We are no experts in the field. We are learning. And we are sharing what we have learned along the way.
Another step we are taking is to dive into the topic of inclusion to learn more. We believe that with this conversation, we need to better understand how we can be the most inclusive in our safety practices. We are currently embarking on research and information exploration to find ways to best meet the needs of different populations of students.
Let’s talk about a couple of examples. Touching on physical safety, we need to understand safety concerns for people with disabilities and limited mobility, and the accommodations we should have in place to ensure safety for our students. An example of emotional safety, we need to ensure that students who enter our school with different learning needs, backgrounds, and experiences feel welcomed and safe to explore and grow in Jiu-Jitsu through the support of our instructors and fellow students.
Understanding the role culture plays in how our students feel in our school is vital to a safe learning environment. An example of this is the increased presence of women on the mats. When the culture of a school is welcoming and feels safe for women, our population grows. That opens a whole other topic of relationships within the school,and how people communicate with each other using respectful language and respecting people’s personal boundaries.
Ask yourself this question. What does safety mean to you? What does ethical behavior mean to you? How do I ensure I act with integrity at all times?
Gracie Barra is the largest Jiu-Jitsu organization and we are in our 37th year. However, on the topic of ethics, we are still in our infancy. We have taken our first steps, and we are growing, but we have much to learn.
But as one of the foremost Jiu-Jitsu organizations in the industry, we have a duty and responsibility to explore this topic of safety and ethical behaviors for all of us to learn together. We do not have the answers, but we care and are trying to find the answers to this difficult topic to comprehend.
Although the topic of safely and ethically responsible choices is a very arduous topic to wade through and can get muddy from time to time, we must do it. We as an industry need to become more aware of the concerns that can occur.
We want the Global Community to know that we have taken our next steps on this topic. We are talking about it and we hope that you are talking about it as well. As we forge this path together, hopefully with individuals who have answered our request to be a part of the conversation, we must consider this one question.
What is the cost of doing nothing?
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As you don your Jiu-Jitsu Gi and sip on your Acai pre-workout, what do you reflect on? If you’re like many Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, you look forward to your rolls, drilling moves, and positions in your head. But do you ever stop to think about how the “gentle art” came to be?
Or have you wondered about the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu? Of course, there is a well-known answer to this question: Mitsuyu Maeda came to Brazil and captured the attention of the then-14-year-old Carlos Gracie. Carlos quickly fell in love with the sport; the rest is history, as they say.
Many people initially started Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu to learn self-defense, get in better physical condition, and enjoy the challenge of a new sport. For many, Jiu-Jitsu becomes more than that. It becomes a part of their overall lifestyle, and they become part of the community at their GB school.
Meet Professor Evandro Campelo Jr and Coach Marrissa Fernandez from Illinois, a couple who teach Jiu-Jitsu at GB Naperville, IL. They shared their story about how they found a sense of community in a new city and how they build the spirit of the team, family, and community through Jiu-Jitsu.
Coach Marrissa Fernandez (a GB purple belt at the time of this writing) was a basketball player that suffered a knee injury that interrupted her playing career. The knee injury was severe enough to force her to retire from playing basketball. This was a challenging turn of events for Marrissa as she had been a competitive athlete for most of her life.
"Being an athlete has always been a part of my identity, so I lost that. I had a friend who was doing Jiu-Jitsu, and I wanted my daughter to see it. So I took her, and the professor handed me a gi."
Initially, her injured knee had limited movement. Still, she quickly realized that doing Jiu-Jitsu was helping her knee and sparked the hope that she could be a competitive athlete again.
"It became a lot more than a hobby. I was going five or six days a week."
Professor Evandro Campelo Jr started training in judo at the early age of nine and three years later started in Jiu-Jitsu. After an interruption as a high school student, Professor Evandro eventually returned to the mats when he entered university to study Physiotherapy. He started and owned a personal training studio named Campelo Jr. Bjj in Manaus (located on the Amazon River in the north of Brazil), teaching MMA Fit classes as well.
Professor Evandro received an invitation to teach Jiu-Jitsu classes in Massachusetts, USA. Unfortunately, the global pandemic occurred around this period, interrupting his plans to get established in the USA. Eventually, he could return to the USA to work with Brazilian friends in Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin at Gracie Barra Madison and GB Waunakee. Professor Evandro was able to continue to compete in local area IBJJF tournaments.
Eventually, Professor Evandro and Coach Marrissa landed where they are currently working with Professor Carlos Lemos Jr at GB Naperville.
Coach Marrissa has a college background in Education and brings that expertise to teaching the GB Kids program at the school.
Coach Marrissa worked as a Kindergarten through 8th grade Special Education teacher, primarily with EBD children (Emotional Behavioral Disorders). She feels that her background in Education allows her to understand why the children behave in certain ways in the Jiu-Jitsu class.
"Instead of just seeing them as misbehaving, they are either not understanding, or they are nervous, or there is something else behind their behavior. Looking past their behavior usually helps you to be able to identify that (the cause)," Marrissa says, "Once you are able to identify that, and once you can identify that, you can access the actual GB Curriculum."
Coach Marrissa tells the example of a young person who shut down and didn't want to continue with training, saying that their training partner was physically strong.
"We actually found out that he had just had a really bad day at school. Had we just looked at his behavior and forced him to continue, we would have never actually known that he had a bad day at school," Marrissa says, "We pulled him to the side, and we talked to him, and he opened up to us and told us that he had a bad day at school. We talked about it. We supported him through it. And he was able to get back to training."
Coach Marrissa discussed it with the student's mother, and the young person got back on track.
Coach Marrissa's day is closely connected with Jiu-Jitsu from the time she wakes up in the morning, teaching GB Kids classes at her GB school, and getting in her own training (she is an active Jiu-Jitsu competitor).
"I like the freedom to able to access it (Jiu-Jitsu) whenever I can. Really, you only get that if you work inside of it," Coach Marrissa says, "A regular employer sees it as a hobby. And doesn't see what it actually brings to you. For me, Jiu-Jitsu brings good mental clarity. When I'm on the mats, I don't need to think about anything else. I get to just think about Jiu-Jitsu. The outside world doesn't matter in that moment, and that's one of my favorite things about it."
"With Jiu-Jitsu, we get to create the community that we want to surround ourselves with."
Having relocated to Illinois to teach Jiu-Jitsu, both Professor Evandro and Coach Marrissa found themselves in a new environment, separated from old friends and family.
Coach Marrissa explains, "Jiu-Jitsu gives us the family that we wouldn't have had otherwise. A support system. Especially with Gracie Barra wearing the Red Shield. It's like wherever we go, we are going to have a family, and they are going to welcome us."
More and more, in an age where people live and communicate online, many people feel that they lack sufficient opportunities to meet and form friendships with people that they actually interact in person. Jiu-Jitsu schools provide a place where both children and adults can make human connections with other positive, active people who share common goals.
For Professor Evandro and Coach Marrissa, the GB school is a community of children, students, parents, and adults training in Jiu-Jitsu that come together to create a community. Coach Marrissa feels that the culture of Gracie Barra is especially strong in helping build such a sense of community.
"Not every gym has that," she says, "I realized that when I first went into GB Madison. All of the people that step on the mats are searching for a community. Everybody wants to be a part of something. All they need is a catalyst to do that."
Coach Marrissa emphasizes that these group activities aren't limited to only the kids. Children and adults alike are included in the school events. This is a common theme across many schools. Professor Rodrigo Clark of GB Santa Barbara shared that many adults who visit his school to inquire about Jiu-Jitsu classes ask if they will be able to meet and make friends there. There is a need for many adults to form social connections through the GB school.
"That's why Jiu-Jitsu is pretty special," says Coach Marrissa, "Because there are a lot of spots that are not super accessible or super 'cliquey.' But I feel that Jiu-Jitsu brings together a lot of people. There are so many different kinds of people, and none of it matters as soon as you step on the mat.”
Professor Evandro is an active competitor and enjoys that he, Coach Marrissa, and all the students compete as a Red Shield team.
"It's my idea that we are one big family. Jiu-Jitsu, for me, is one big family," says Professor Evandro. He feels that something important is missed if a student enters the mats and does not speak with other students. He feels that the competitive aspect of Jiu-Jitsu is necessary for building relationships and a sense of team among the students.
Professor Evandro greets each student individually, pausing to shake hands and say hello in every class. "With a little more time (by the professor), every student has more involvement in the class. We build the family," says Professor Evandro, "We grow the family. We grow our friends. You have more time together with your friends (at the Jiu-Jitsu school) than you have together with your family, with your parents. You see your friends every day."
Professor Evandro sees the school as a significant part of the Jiu-Jitsu student's life. "You see your friends. They are your brothers. This is the mentality. Because of this, my students are part of a big community."
Professor Evandro sees time spent training for tournaments and traveling together as a team to tournaments as building the bond between students. In addition, Professor Evandro believes that competition is crucial to developing the individual's Jiu-Jitsu.
"If you don't compete in the tournaments when you get to the black belt, you don't have a history (in Jiu-Jitsu)," he says, "You don't have it (the experience) to pass to your students. You don't have the information to pass."
Even if a Jiu-Jitsu student does not enter and compete, Professor Evandro feels that it is important for the student to go with the team, support their teammates, and watch the competition.
Professor Evandro has a strong passion for Jiu-Jitsu. "I love the opportunity that Jiu-Jitsu has given me. I love the time inside the fight (when competing), I love the students, and I love the class. The friends. The students. I love Jiu-Jitsu."
Both coach Marrissa and Professor Evandro have the goal of opening another GB school in the Illinois region. Coach Marrissa is especially passionate about the plan to grow the population of women on the team. She sees competing as a way to lead by example through her competitive efforts.
"It's different, I feel, to tell someone to compete and show them how you compete," Coach Marrissa says.
She believes that it's important that the GB Kids classes at her school are accessible to all levels of children.
"Jiu-Jitsu has a place for everybody."
Professor Evandro feels every bit as passionate about building their Jiu-Jitsu community one student at a time. The ultimate goal is to help everybody through Jiu-Jitsu. Through participation in competitions, helping students develop friendships in the school, and helping the students build the tools to be mentally strong in life.
Professor Evandro believes that the young students gain strength and motivation to continue their training when they feel that he and Coach Marrissa understand them and their individual challenges, goals, and their lives.
For young students who may be struggling, Professor Evandro wants them to feel that they have someone on their side. He said, “We have a lot of students who have bad ideas, bad head (mentality). Jiu-Jitsu can help. It is a lot of responsibility for Marissa and me as professors, as coaches. as friends."
Beyond the tournament victories, friendships, and well-established physical fitness benefits of training Jiu-Jitsu, Coach Marrissa believes that Jiu-Jitsu can help people deal with even more serious life circumstances. Jiu-Jitsu is a form of therapy of sorts.
"If you have any mental illnesses, or if you have been through any trauma, then Jiu-Jitsu will help you through it," she says, "Jiu-Jitsu will push you past the limits of your mind. It will help you tap into what you need to heal. Because that's something that it's done for me, and I've helped other people within the gym go through that."
With Professor Evandro’s education in Physiotherapy, he sees Jiu-Jitsu as a path to helping a lot of different types of people.
"In Physiotherapy, I worked for a long time with people that have special needs - kids with special needs. Helping people with their mentality - as Marrissa spoke about, guys who have only one arm or one leg. Jiu-Jitsu has helped these guys. They are included in a big community," says Professor Evandro, "Jiu-Jitsu has a place for everybody."
Through their connection with their passion to help people, Professor Evandro and Coach Marrissa have built a strong community through teaching Jiu-Jitsu, and they look forward to continuing on that journey.
That story is told often and is well understood and accepted by the Global Jiu-Jitsu community. But have you ever considered what led to that meeting? What were the events that brought Mitsuyu Maeda to Brazil in the first place? How did he come to meet Carlos Gracie? If you have, then this is the article for you.
It is difficult to be precise when and at what point or where exactly Jiu-Jitsu originated. Despite many historians and evidence pointing to Buddhist monks in India, basic grappling elements can be traced back to places like Greece, India, China, Rome, and even the Native Americans.
When trying to understand the origins of Jiu-Jitsu, we must avoid simplifying its creation to a person, a group, or a period. Jiu-Jitsu, as we know it today, is a natural intuitive way of fighting that had rudimentary manifestations in various cultures in different historical moments.
But a martial art consists not only of techniques or fighting strategies. The philosophy that defines the purpose of practice, and the moral code of the practitioners, is a powerful element that determines the direction of technical development and the survival or death of the art itself.
When we consider the philosophical framework of Jiu-Jitsu, it is reasonable to associate Buddhist monks in India around 2,000 B.C. with the origins of our sport.
The Buddhist value system of non-violence and deep respect for all forms of life led to the development of a self-defense system that aimed to neutralize an aggressor without harming the aggressor.
Wrapped by important Buddhist principles like acting in a non-harmful way or pursuing self-mastering and enlightenment, Jiu-Jitsu served well the self-defense needs of monks. With the expansion of Buddhism throughout the region, Jiu-Jitsu reached China and later Japan.
While it is safe to assume that rudimentary versions of Jiu-Jitsu appeared in many cultures at different times, the feudal Japan of the second millennia offered a fertile environment for it to flourish.
In a country fragmented by the feudal system, with each feud having its own set of warriors (the Samurai), Jiu-Jitsu became a necessary fighting skill for combat survival. But Jiu-Jitsu did not earn this name until the 17th century. After that time, it became a blanket term for a wide variety of grappling-related disciplines.
Jiu-Jitsu evolved among the Samurai as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent without weapons. Because striking against an armored opponent proved ineffective, practitioners used their attackers’ energy against them rather than working to oppose that energy directly. The Samurai worked to develop efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy with techniques that took advantage of this energy.
However, with the Meiji Restoration, a political movement that ended the Japanese feudal system and triggered the modernization of that country, the Samurai's prestigious class lost its primary importance.
The radical political, cultural, and social transformations in Japan in the 19th century made Jiu-Jitsu gravitate from a reputable art of combat to an illegal practice. In a few decades, modern Japan went from adoring the warrior class to reprimanding bloody combats that were taking place from the jobless former Samurais and their disciples.
Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), a member of the Japanese Ministry of Culture and Martial Artists, played an essential role in rescuing Jiu-Jitsu's reputation in peaceful times.
Kano understood how Jiu-Jitsu could serve as a combat tool and as an effective way to educate the individual and allow everyone to embrace a more balanced lifestyle by developing their potential.
Kano also realized Jiu-Jitsu could be used as a powerful educational tool that could support any human being's development. He envisioned it supporting the Japanese goals for social and economic development.
Complementing his updated training philosophy, Kano made an effort to adopt new training methods and remove dangerous techniques. These changes allowed practitioners to engage in safe, but intense, training drills with full resistance – what we know as sparring or live training today.
This new philosophical and methodological approach to the practice of Jiu-Jitsu had a significant positive impact on Japanese society. It helped Jiu-Jitsu regain its social status that had been declining since the Meiji Restoration. The new approach became famous back then as Kano Jiu-Jitsu and later as Judo.
To bring more notoriety and recognition to Kano Jiu-Jitsu, Jigoro Kano and the Japanese government began working towards adding it to the Olympic Games. As Kano Jiu-Jitsu evolved into the sport of Judo, many rules were introduced to redefine the focus of practice and make the sport more appealing to spectators. In this process, ground fighting was minimized through a bias toward take-down techniques.
While the reforms of Jigoro Kano contributed tremendously to the survival of a millenary martial art tradition, the emphasis on take-downs created a fragmented martial art. The result was a style less connected with the essence of Jiu-Jitsu and the reality of real combat.
In parallel to the regained reputation of Jiu-Jitsu in Japanese society came a decline of ground fighting, the most powerful set of combat skills Jiu-Jitsu had to offer.
Among Kano's remarkable students, though, was Mitsuyu Maeda. Maeda was a fighter who benefited from Kano's innovations, but also had roots in other Jiu-Jitsu schools that emphasized ground fighting and self-defense skills under real combat situations.
Maeda, who later became famous as Count Koma, had above-average skills and was sent overseas to help spread Jiu-Jitsu to different cultures and countries.
After traveling to many countries, including the US, Central America, and Europe, Maeda landed in Brazil in 1914. There he would meet a young boy named Carlos Gracie and plant the seed that would keep the essence of Jiu-Jitsu alive.
Maeda Meets Gracie
In 1914 Maeda landed in the northern state of Para, Brazil, to help establish the Japanese colony in that region. Settling down in Belem do Para, it was common for Maeda to make use of his outstanding fighting skills in demonstrations.
The first time Carlos Gracie met Count Koma was one of these demonstrations. Carlos was amazed by Maeda's ability to defeat other opponents that were much bigger and stronger than he.
Carlos Gracie was a wild kid that was slipping out of control of his father, Gastão, and mother, Cesalina. Energetic and rebellious, Carlos was proving to be a lot of work to his parents. Knowing that Maeda just started a Jiu-Jitsu program in town, Gastão decided to take Carlos to learn from the Japanese to calm down and discipline his son.
Carlos was introduced to Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 14. He became an avid student for a few years. The training under Maeda had a profound impact on him. He had never before sensed that level of self-control and self-confidence that Jiu-Jitsu practice gave him.
The connection with his body he could feel during each training session allowed Carlos to understand his nature, limitations, and strengths and brought a sense of peace that he never felt before in his life.
The times with Maeda lasted for a short time, though. Less than five years from the day he started, Carlos moved to Rio de Janeiro with his parents and siblings, ending his time with Maeda.
Arriving in Rio de Janeiro at 20, Carlos Gracie had difficulties adapting to everyday life and working a regular job. Carlos's wild spirit would not allow him to settle down. He missed Jiu-Jitsu and developed a strong desire to share it by becoming a Jiu-Jitsu instructor.
At the beginning of the 20th century in Brazil, the martial arts instructor's profession was not exactly promising. People's awareness about it was practically nonexistent, making it extremely difficult to find students willing to pay tuition in exchange for instruction.
The passion for Jiu-Jitsu, and Koma’s earlier dedication to making him a champion, allowed Carlos to discover a new meaning to his life. Carlos perceived Jiu-Jitsu as not just a self-defense system but as a tool to help him find his way through the world.
The First Gracie School Founded - The Gracie Clan
The first Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu School was founded by Carlos Gracie in 1925 at Rua Marquês de Abrantes 106, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
At 23, Carlos Gracie understood well the excellent benefits Jiu-Jitsu could bring to one's life. The Marquês de Abrantes school was not exactly what one would expect as the pioneering powerhouse of Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. With limited resources and concerns for his younger brothers' well-being, all Carlos could afford was a small house and turn the living room into a training area.
Carlos knew it would be impossible to accomplish such a gigantic task alone. With that house, however, Carlos united his brothers and engaged them in his life project. The first generation of Gracie brothers living and working in that same house forged the family spirit we still feel today. Such spirit flowed down through generations and was crucial for the Gracie Family's extraordinary success over the years.
And not getting distracted by the techniques that don’t fit.
How do Jiu-Jitsu students find their game?
If you aren’t clear on what a Jiu-Jitsu game means, just watch two athletes battle it out at a competition. One person wins their division in tournaments by pulling guard and tapping everyone with their triangle choke. Another person from the same team is known for strong takedowns and a heavy-pressure top game. Even though they are both from the same Jiu-Jitsu team, they use Jiu-Jitsu in very different ways.
Professor Paulo "Paulinho" Gomes has some insight and advice for Jiu-Jitsu students who want to find their personal game. He shares his opinions on the downside of chasing fancy positions they see on Instagram. He provides insight into why the basic techniques account for the majority of black belt submissions in competition.
Professor Paulo has been training in Jiu-Jitsu for over 20 years, starting when he was 13. He grew up in Victoria, Brazil, and currently teaches at GB Warrington, located near Liverpool in the UK.
Professor Alexandre Cafe Dantas (check out his video series on GB Online) and Professor Naborabner Punk at Gracie Ipanema (an affiliate school in the early days of Gracie Barra) were his earliest influences when he started.
How to start Jiu-Jitsu in the right way
Professor Paulo teaches a lot of private classes, in addition to group classes at GB Warrington.
"I can see the evolution of the students closely in the private classes. I like to talk with them about what is most comfortable with their game," says Professor Paulo
Professor Paulo starts by asking a new student the simple question, "How do you prefer to train?"
The student may answer, "Oh, I prefer to pull guard in the match."
The answer is the start of determining the first steps to building a new student's Jiu-Jitsu game - finding out which position the student feels most comfortable in on the ground. The idea behind this line of inquiry is that early in a student's exposure to Jiu-Jitsu, they will naturally find certain positions that click for them. This should be the starting point to build their individual game.
"Great! You stay comfortable when you pull guard and are on your back. Let's go work after that," says Professor Paulo.
The problem with social media techniques
In their enthusiasm to learn Jiu-Jitsu, students follow Jiu-Jitsu channels on social media and become amazed at some of the flashy, advanced techniques.
The student shows the technique to Professor Paulo, saying they want to learn it, "Oh, this is an amazing position that I saw on Instagram! I love this. Look at that!"
Professor Paulo smiles and says patiently, "Yes, but is this position a part of your game? Does this position make sense for your game?" In many incidences, the answer is no.
Professor Paulo probes further, "Why do you want to learn this position for your game? We must understand WHY."
Information overload and less is more
"In the Jiu-Jitsu world, we have a moment that is dangerous. Where we have A LOT of information. People are learning twenty to thirty positions per week! " says Professor Paulo.
Professor shrugs his shoulders and elaborates, "I'm a black belt for over eight years. I prefer learning and really understanding one position a month!"
He pauses to allow this information to sink in. "Why?" he asks, "When I'm learning a simple cross-collar choke, I know how to use that collar choke in all situations. Closed guard, side control, top mount, I know how to use this technique in all Jiu-Jitsu situations. I know how to use it to submit white belts, blue belts, purple... and black belts."
Professor Paulo posed the rhetorical question to the student excited about an Instagram position: "How many black belts did you submit with this position last week? On how many guys at your belt did you use this position correctly last week? "
Professor Paulo uses the armbar from the closed guard technique to illustrate the concept of the levels of understanding. "People don't (completely) know how to use the armbar attack."
The student asks, immediately after learning the closed guard armbar, "Now I want to learn the flying armbar!"
Professor Paulo shakes his head. "Wait. Do you know the top mount and back? Do you know the armbar transition from the triangle? Do you know the armbar transition to sweep? Do you know the armbar from the knee on the belly? Do you know the armbar in all situations? Do you know how to use the armbar in ALL of the positions with the guy that is the same weight and the same belt as you?"
"If your answer is "No, just on white belts', then you don't know this position yet," says Professor Paulo.
The importance of starting with the fundamentals
Professor Paulo explains, "I started training Jiu-Jitsu for self-defense. I started by learning all of the correct movements. The correct bridge, the correct front and back roll, and the correct self-defense escapes. The correct hip escape. I learned the base. The foundation of Jiu-Jitsu."
The next step was to start sparring and learning which positions he experienced the earliest success using. This is how you begin to identify which techniques will work when developing your game.
Professor Paulo gives an example, "In sparring if I find that I prefer to work on top. I need the takedown, pass the guard, side control."
If the student asks about an interesting but unrelated position, Professor Paulo pauses the student and explains that yes - it is a good position - but it's not important for their game right at this point in time.
Professor Paulo wants us to recognize that once you find a position that you feel comfortable in, you must connect your guard pass to the takedown - which is necessary in order to get to the top guard passing position - and side mount control, which you will find yourself in after a successful guard pass. You must also learn the other positions in the sparring sequence. These positions will be your training priority, which connects to where you feel most comfortable.
How many techniques do you know vs. how many can you use?
Professor Paulo says that, as an instructor, he knows all of the GB Curriculum techniques. Yet he distinguishes between how many techniques you learned and could demonstrate if your Professor asked you versus how many techniques you can apply in sparring against a fully resisting opponent of the same level as you.
"In sparring against other black belts or good brown belts, many of the positions are very hard to apply because all of the positions are not part of my game," says Professor Paulo.
To illustrate his point, Professor Paulo uses an example from the recent 2023 IBJJF European Championships. Black belt Kaynan Duarte won his division using certain positions. Duarte had used the same positions in his previous victory in 2018.
"The same techniques in five fights. Why? Because Kaynan has a game. And he is more comfortable with his game." This world-class competitor is well aware of what his strongest positions are and brings those to the championship year after year. And at that level, we can assume that he knows and could demonstrate many other techniques he doesn’t take into matches with him.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
"I love the omoplata sweep," says Professor Paulo, "But I'm not comfortable in the omoplata position."
Professor Paulo explains that he simply doesn't feel comfortable holding the omoplata shoulder lock position. He prefers to immediately go to the omoplata sweep and go to the top position. "I don't like the omoplata attack," he says, "I know how to teach the omoplata attack to you. I know it. But normally, I don't attack the submission on the guy. I attack with the sweep. I love this position."
Professor Paulo believes that Jiu-Jitsu students must find not only which positions they feel most comfortable in but HOW they use those positions when there are several options.
Professor Paulo says that when the white belt student is learning a specific position, they must think of what is likely to happen next in the flow of the match. How does one position lead to the next position in the sequence?
Professor Paulo says that the Jiu-Jitsu student must think, "And then? And then?"
"My instructor (Professor) Café always said to me: Paulo, progressive Jiu-Jitsu!”
Professor Paulo asks us to look at training the different positions in the sequence.
For example, practicing the takedown to guard pass to side mount attack sequence. He gives the following example of a training week to help work on the progression of positions.
1- Takedown - single leg takedown. Repeat for repetitions
10 minutes of repeating
then add 70% resistance
finish standup training at 100% intensity
2- Guard Pass
Repeat your favorite guard pass with your partner
3- Top control
Side mount top or half guard top
Repeat your best side control attacks for repetitions
4 - Return tomorrow for the next class, takedown again, pass the guard again... and so on. The next week? Same routine.
5 - Not changing the techniques- different guard passes. Sticking with the same techniques. You will accumulate hours of experience in your best positions.
Let’s not forget the famous Bruce Lee quote.
"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
This quote emphasizes the higher importance of focused practice and a high level of proficiency in a select number of techniques compared to a surface knowledge of a wide variety of techniques.
Professor Paulo says that as you progress, you will naturally add more techniques to your arsenal that complement your existing game and fill in technical gaps.
Stay focused on your game
"I'm not teaching you today to pass guard and tomorrow guard retention, and after three days a triangle attack...etc. And then after six weeks, we come back to the first takedown," Professor Paulo says. The student will have difficulty remembering the first takedown that was taught.
Professor Paulo prefers staying with the same set of techniques for a longer duration and working on the sequence in the student's game.
Professor Paulo teaches classes at his Gracie Barra school utilizing the GB Curriculum, but he looks to implement the concept of progressive Jiu-Jitsu from week to week in the Curriculum.
"If this week is a sweep from guard bottom, I will show pull guard. Two or three different ways to pull guard. Because if I have not shown the position before, how can I train guard bottom?"
Why do the basic techniques work on black belts?
If you watch the brown and black belt divisions of a major tournament, you might be expecting to see some really crazy submissions and black belts getting tapped by techniques that you have never seen before. Yet, at the end of the matches, you likely will be surprised that the submissions were from basic techniques like collar choke from the back.
And those fancy, multi-step Instagram transitions? Nowhere to be found.
Why is this?
Professor Paulo has an explanation for this seemingly paradoxical outcome. "How many times, after learning the position, will you do that position?" asks Professor Paulo, "Maybe one time every two weeks?"
If a cool move that you saw in your social media feed isn't really part of the best positions that you regularly use in rolling, you won't use it often enough to achieve a high level of proficiency. If you like the top game in your Jiu-Jitsu, your opportunity to enter into a Beriimbolo position is rare. The fundamental techniques are used so frequently that it is more common to become proficient in performing them.
So when you are deciding on building your game, remember to ground it in the fundamentals. Then layer onto your game the positions and submissions that you feel most comfortable with. Over time, your game will evolve into a well-developed plan.
Have you ever wondered if Jiu-Jitsu is a safe sport? If so, you're not alone. In light of recent events that have sparked a safety concern, we want to address this important question and give you some tips on avoiding injuries during your Jiu-Jitsu training.
First, let's talk about safety at Gracie Barra. Gracie Barra has a strong culture of safety first. We train our instructors through the ICP (Instructor Certification Program) to run a school that minimizes potential risks to everyone. This safety culture is reflected in how classes are run at Gracie Barra.
Students are separated by levels and introduced to sparring through specific training with techniques learned that day or week in class. This introduction to sparring has limited and well-defined rules and objectives. This is the only type of “sparring” that is allowed in any Gracie Barra school class until the student reaches their 3rd stripe on their white belt, at which point they have at least attended 32 classes. Only then are they allowed to advance to “live sparring."
But even with this safety culture in place, injuries can still occur. So, is Jiu-Jitsu a safe sport? The short answer is that any combat sport or martial art carries some inherent risk of physical injury. However, there are steps you can take to avoid injuries and make Jiu-Jitsu as safe as possible for you.
One of the most important things you can do to avoid injuries is to listen to your body. If something hurts, stop doing it. Don't try to "push through the pain" or "tough it out." Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong; ignoring it can lead to further injury.
Another way to avoid injuries is to focus on technique over strength. This means practicing moves in a smooth, controlled manner rather than relying on brute force to muscle your way through a technique. Not only will this reduce the risk of injury, but it will also make your techniques more efficient and effective.
Proper technique is also essential when it comes to avoiding injuries. Make sure you learn the correct form for each move and ask questions if you're unsure. Don't be afraid to ask your instructor to demonstrate a move or explain the step by step again. And we warm up before class to assist in injury prevention. However, adding stretching after class can further reduce the risk of injury.
Another important factor in avoiding injuries is to train with the right partners. At Gracie Barra, we often recommend having three types of training partners when possible: a mentor, an equal, and a student. A mentor is someone who is more experienced than you and can offer guidance and advice. An equal is someone who is at your level and can help you practice techniques in a safe and controlled manner. A student is someone who is less experienced than you and who you can help guide and mentor. You can avoid injuries and progress more quickly by training with the right partners for you and your goals.
One of the most crucial tips for avoiding injury is to tap and tap often. Do not let ego or lack of experience be the reason you get injured. White belts that get injured are often due to a lack of understanding of the risks of injury. Listen to your instructors, as they often have safety tips explained during the demonstration period of the class. If you have any injury or area of your body prone to injury, communicate that to your instructor and your training partners.
And don’t let your ego get the best of you. If you get in a bad spot, tap! The goal at any GB school is to come back and keep training. When we get injured, it prevents that from happening. We learn more from getting tapped than from getting someone to tap. Just reset, ask questions to learn from your partner how that happened, and try not to let it happen again. That is what Jiu-Jitsu training is all about. Don’t view every training partner as an opponent but rather as the tool by which you will improve your Jiu-Jitsu.
Taking care of your body outside of class is important. This means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying hydrated. It also means taking care of your skin to avoid contagious skin infections. Make sure you wash your Jiu-Jitsu gi after every class and keep your nails trimmed.
In conclusion, Jiu-Jitsu can be safe if you take the right precautions. By listening to your body, focusing on technique over strength, and training with the right partners, you lessen your risks of a bad situation. By checking your mindset, tapping when in a bad situation, and taking care of your body outside of class, you can avoid injuries and enjoy all the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu.
So, get out there and train, but always prioritize safety!
Exciting news, everyone! 🥋
We're thrilled to announce that our brand new Gracie Barra Headquarters - Sydney Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu facility is coming soon!
Suite A, Level 3, 28 Rodborough Road Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086
Get ready to experience world-class training in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, taught by our expert instructors in a state-of-the-art facility designed to provide the best learning environment for our students.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced practitioner, our new facility will offer classes for all levels, focusing on self-defense, fitness, and character development.
Join us on this journey and stay tuned for updates on our grand opening date!
“That’s why I train my standup game so hard. Because I love to throw. It’s one of the favorite parts of my Jiu-Jitsu.”
Part of having complete jiu-jitsu is the standup. Yet many jiu-jitsu students are not confident in their standup skills. Why are takedowns so important if most matches are won or lost on the ground?
Prof Lemos loves to train in standup takedowns (check out his many videos on IG) and shares his concepts and advice for Gracie Barra students to get a strong takedown game.
GB: Prof Carlos, you have been posting a lot of great takedown videos on your Instagram account. What is the importance of having strong takedowns for Gracie Barra students and competitors?
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Prof Carlos: Thank you so much for your kind words. I just love throws and I love throwing and takedowns. I think that wrestling and judo is a really important part of jiu-jitsu. Master Carlos Gracie Jr always encouraged us since we were kids to find our strong throw and have the discipline to practice judo. Since we love jiu-jitsu so much we tend to spend way more time on the ground. So Master Carlos was always trying to keep the balance with us. He encouraged all of his students to have a strong standup game.
I think that was the main influence on my mindset of training takedowns and throws and understanding the standup game. So I don’t believe that everybody needs to be an incredible wrestler or judo player to have great jiu-jitsu, but I believe that everybody needs to train consistently in either wrestling or judo or both to have great jiu-jitsu.
In essence training the standup game is important. Extremely important in my opinion. But having strong takedowns or throws is not as important as is the practice and the training. You can be an incredible guard player; have 9 out of 10 submissions coming off your back and you can only benefit from the standup training even though that is not going to be your strategy going into a match.
That is my vision and my opinion.
That’s my vision and my opinion.
GB: I heard one IBJJF World Champion say that he felt that he never would have achieved his full potential in Jiu-Jitsu if he had not also studied judo as well. What is your take on this idea?
Prof Carlos: I couldn’t agree more with this world champion in question. I think that it is an incredible necessity like I said of understanding the standup game whether that comes from wrestling or judo or both. I don’t think that anybody can achieve their full potential if they are not versed in ALL aspects of Jiu-Jitsu – which includes the standup game.
GB: What do you feel are the most significant differences between the standup/takedowns in Jiu-Jitsu vs judo? (Ex. gripping, referees restarting the match standing, etc)
Prof Carlos: I couldn’t agree more with this world champion in question. I think that is an incredible necessity like I said of understanding the standup game. Whether that comes from wrestling or judo or both. I don’t think that anybody can achieve their full potential if they are not well versed in ALL aspects of Jiu-Jitsu. Which includes the standup game.
Prof Carlos: This is a great question and I get asked this question often. What is the main difference between traditional judo and judo for Jiu-Jitsu?
The main differences are first of all the stance. You can not have a fully erect stance in a Jiu-Jitsu match because people will grab your legs. Today in judo you have almost zero leg grabs and in Jiu-Jitsu they are very popular. They have a ton of variety of leg grabs and freestyle wrestling takedowns so you can’t stand up like a judo player would because you will be put on your back.
Now the other main concern is that a Jiu-Jitsu fighter must have judo incorporated in his game and is not allowed anybody to end up on their backs once they throw. There must be a preoccupation and adaptation because in some of the judo throws – especially the hip throws – you have your back exposed. If you don’t adapt and you are not preoccupied with people landing on your back, you will encounter problems with that.
In judo, once it’s a clean throw and you put your opponent on their back, it doesn’t matter if the thrower lands on their back. It’s an ippon and the match is over!
Now in Jiu-Jitsu, we all know that it’s different. That preoccupation, that concern, that adaptation must be in place.
Another very important thing that is tied to what I just said is the transition. A Jiu-Jitsu fighter must always be looking for the transition after the throw. You can’t simply get a clean throw and land in somebody’s guard and BOOM! you are inside the triangle. Or you get a clean throw and you are not preoccupied with that person landing on your back and BOOM! …you get your back taken. That has to be an adaptation and a strategy for the next step. The throw must immediately be attached to a transition after that.
GB: Is there any difference in how you approach training your standup compared to training on the ground?
Prof Carlos: The difference in the training methods depends on how close you are getting to the competition. What I normally do is way more repetitions standing up. Like drilling my takedowns and my throws with my team. Then I do sparring. Sparring is reserved for towards the end of the training. We do rolls on the ground, we do specific sparring, and we do drills on the ground. The body is warm. The body is loose. You have to be careful you know, because if you do too much standup training and you start the standup training too early or too late in your camp injuries can happen. The way to prevent the injuries is to do more standup drills. Standup sparring towards the end of the session when everybody is warm and loose. Also, cut the standup training like a week before the tournament. Sparring I mean. You can still drill. You can still do live throws. But not so much sparring in the final few weeks before the tournament. Less sparring and more drills would be the only difference for me.
GB: Lastly, what is your best advice for Gracie Barra students who want to develop a strong standing/takedown game?
Prof Carlos: If you are a Gracie Barra student and you want to develop a strong standup game, a strong takedown game, my advice for you is this: Start small. Meaning first developing one small judo throw and one small wrestling takedown. Such as for example a single leg or an ankle pick for wrestling and o soto gari or kouchi gari or ouchi gari as far as it goes with the judo throws. Start small. Because once you become very strong at the small takedowns they can always turn to big takedowns. People are always thinking about a spectacular throw or a big throw.
It’s very easy to set up a small takedown game and from that build it for an opportunity for a big throw or a combination from that than it is for a student to master a big throw game right off the bat. It’s always harder. At the end of the day, 2 points are 2 points. Whether they are coming from a foot sweep or from a German suplex or uranage. It doesn’t matter…2 points are 2 points.
Start small and train consistently. Repeat a lot. That is the way forward. Nobody can go wrong with that kind of formula. These are my tips and advice for anybody who wants to develop a strong standup and takedown game. Yes, it’s possible. We believe in well-rounded jiu-jitsu, complete jiu-jitsu. That is what we learned from Master Carlos. That is what we pass to our students.
It’s all about training, staying consistent, avoiding injuries of course, and ultimately having fun on the mats. That’s why I train my standup game so hard. Because I love to throw. It’s one of the favorite parts of my Jiu-Jitsu.
“My advice is to take the competition habits for life and make it a lifestyle. “
Prof Gerson shares his philosophy of competition and a few tips for GB competitors. The mindset of a competitor might be the most important factor in their success in tournament matches and Prof Gerson talks about how he prepares for high-level competition.
GB: First of all can you tell the Gracie Barra readers how you got started in Jiu-jitsu. Where is your home Gracie Barra school?
Prof Gerson: I started training jiu-jitsu through a co-worker who also trained and always invited me to take a class. In my trial class, I had a chance to do some light sparring and I could see how amazing it was so I said to myself, I need to learn this! I started training at Gracie Barra São Luís, Maranhao, Brazil.
GB: You are an active competitor. What are your weight class and competition accolades/accomplishments?
Prof Gerson: Actually I compete as lightweight, sometimes middleweight too. I won some tournaments in the last few years like:
IBJJF Austin Open Champion
IBJJF Boise Open Champion
Jiu-Jitsu World League Champion
South American CBJJE Silver
Pan American CBJJE Silver
GB: Many GB students ask about how to best prepare for an upcoming competition. What are the most important changes to make when you are getting ready to compete next month?
Prof Gerson: I would say the mentality is number one, then training really hard and giving 100% on the mats. I believe it helps to increase the confidence and it makes the whole difference in the tournament. During training, I like counting the points because it gives me feedback right away, and I like to drill all my favorite techniques. Sometimes I need to change my nutrition depending on how my weight goes.
GB: What are the most common mistakes that inexperienced competitors make? How can they avoid or correct these mistakes?
Prof Gerson: Not understanding the rules and the scoring system are the most common mistakes I believe.
Some of the most important points to avoid mistakes:
– Make sure you are signing up in the right weight division, check your weight then choose the division.
– Study the rules and the scoring system, it will make you train and compete better and smarter.
– Look for a Professor/Coach who has experience with competitions, they know exactly what you are going to face so they will learn how to prepare you.
– Listen to your Professor/Coach
GB: What advice would you most like to share with GB Red Shield competitors?
Prof Gerson: My advice is to take the competition habits for life and make it a lifestyle. Competitors eat well, sleep well, take care of the body, take care of the mind and always want to be the first. I strongly believe that everyone should adopt this mindset because it also makes you a better human being.
GB: Lastly, would you like to shout out to any coaches, training partners, or sponsors?
Prof Gerson: I would like to say that I am very grateful to Professor Ivaldo Alves (GB São Luís, MA), he always motivated me to compete and he was fundamental for me to get where I am today.
We put on a Gi to step on the mats and train Jiu-Jitsu, but have you ever considered why this is a fundamental part of our training? Some answers may include that the gi helps maintain the integrity of the art. Or that the gi offers you more options for control and submission. All of these things are true!
Some people believe that the gi is not fundamental. They think that the gi is unrealistic in an actual self-defense situation, being that an individual wouldn’t be wearing a gi when they attack you.
This month, we’re taking a deep dive into why the Gracie Barra gi is fundamental to training Jiu-Jitsu!
The Red Shield is Gracie Barra’s flag! It connects the GB community, beginning with students taking their first class with our Black Belt Instructors. We are all united under one flag, and our gi bears the flag we represent.
Master Carlos Gracie Jr. created the Red Shield to unify all those representing Gracie Barra and pass forward the legacy handed down from Grandmaster Carlos Gracie and other Jiu-Jitsu legends.
The Red Shield is one of the most recognized symbols in Jiu-Jitsu today. This recognition is due to the hard work and excellence of the Gracie Barra students, athletes, and instructors involved in sport Jiu-Jitsu, teaching programs, and community work. All of us who wear the Red Shield should feel a deep sense of loyalty and commitment to GB and the Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone movement.
When first developing our uniform, the goal was to express Master Carlos Gracie Jr.’s vision and the Gracie Barra culture to empower and inspire team members. Today, that mission continues to prevail, seen in Gracie Barra Wear’s uniforms and apparel which fortify loyalty and pride among our GB community.
The modern gi in martial arts dates back to the late 1800s in Japan. Gi is short for Keikogi, which translates into English as “The cloth of practice.” It is widely accepted that Jigoro Kano (the founder of Judo) was the person that developed the modern gi, which consists of three parts – kimono, pants, and belt. Other martial arts soon adopted the use of the gi in their practice.
Martial artists wear a gi because it is the traditional garment for practicing martial arts. In addition, the gi allows for fluid and flexible movement. Perhaps most importantly, it provides a sense of community (and the rank within) and a sense of commitment to the discipline and moral principles of the art. The gi reminds us that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. This commitment to the integrity of the art makes wearing a gi fundamental to the practice of Jiu-Jitsu.
When Great Grandmaster Carlos Gracie trained in the art of Jiu-Jitsu, he did so by wearing a gi. Great Grandmaster Carlos believed in the integrity and symbol the gi provides in the practice of Jiu-Jitsu, as illustrated when he said:
“Each person who puts on the kimono and believes in Jiu-Jitsu that myself and my family teaches is the realization of my life’s work.”
When we put on our gi, we get into a mindset appropriate for training. That mindset includes all the feelings of Brotherhood and Integrity as described. In addition, it also consists of an understanding of the rules and expectations of behavior. The gi provides a mindset of trust in the school’s training environment. This mindset allows us to be prepared to continue our development as students of Jiu-Jitsu.
When the proper clothing is worn, it provides a professional boundary for Jiu-Jitsu training. Our uniform is the armor of a martial artist and should be worn appropriately. The uniform puts us in a state of mind that activates the athlete and fighter within us all. It helps to remove the discomfort that some can feel due to the close contact that training Jiu-Jitsu requires.
This is especially true when male and female students train together. It is vital to the inclusion of female students and the Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone movement that the proper uniform is worn by both male and female students. This professional boundary provides a physical and psychological limitation fundamental to the training process. The uniform helps ensure that both male and female students feel comfortable training with each other.
Wearing a Gracie Barra gi is an instrument that makes us all equal in the experience of learning Jiu-Jitsu. It gives us our identity as martial artists helping each other on our journey. It is fundamental to the commitment to the Brotherhood of GB!
Most people entering the gentle art have no idea how much this sport can help them to achieve in their lives.
At first, the desire to learn how to self-defend and lose weight can stand out as the main reason they are wearing a kimono. Although about 10 years ago it was not so common, today people who never imagined themselves practicing a martial art have found in jiu-jitsu a love for their lives. Women, children, elderly, executives and many other professionals make up a new group of students. More concerned about health and life, these types of people – not very common in the gym some time ago, have adopted the jiu-jitsu as a real lifestyle.
A healthy diet, peaceful mind, daily training, sleep and care for the body. The change power of the gentle art is something that does not happen overnight. When wearing the kimono for the first time, the student may not know, but from that moment on, the essence of BJJ lifestyle starts acting upon them. In the first classes, they learn that strength is not always the best alternative and that after some time the knowledge acquired will stand over strength. People take this lesson to life. Brutality and ignorance often become extinct attitudes within practitioners.
Realizing how far this fight can go is still something to be discovered in the future. But one thing is certain: far beyond the techniques, jiu-jitsu transforms human beings into super humans. OSS!
This question comes up fairly often despite seeming to be an obvious “yes, of course, you can ask questions”.
Why should there be any questions about…well… questions?
There are a couple of reasons why many students are hesitant about asking questions.
1- “Ya, but what if my opponent does this?” This situation is when the instructor is showing a move to the entire class and a student’s arm shoots up in the air and they immediately ask about the opponent countering the move.
This type of question can be seen in a negative light if the student doesn’t have a lot of experience and hasn’t even tried the initial move yet and they are already thinking about how it can be easily countered. In fairness, this student should try the move that is being shown first and see and feel how the move works. Then, and only then, are they ready to start talking about the possible counters to that move? Try the move first before asking your question about stopping the move.
The truth is that ALL of the moves in Jiu-Jitsu have counters. If there was a perfect, unstoppable move in Jiu-Jitsu, we would just teach that one move and it would be a short class!
That said, it is perfectly okay to ask WHY the move works and how the opponent will try to defend your moves. That’s why Jiu-Jitsu is so often compared to kinetic chess. There is a back and forth of trading of techniques and counters between training partners in a roll. Asking WHY a move works and exploring the ways that the opponent can defend and counter only deepens our understanding of the technique.
So in this case, before you immediately question the counters and possible escapes from the position, TRY the original movie first!
2- It’s not good form to question the teacher in many cultures.
In many cultures, it is perceived as disrespectful for a student in any setting to question the teacher about the material being presented. The students are expected to keep silent and make their notes.
The problem with this is that a student will have a perfectly valid question, but keep it to themselves for fear of appearing rude.
Jiu-Jitsu instructors LOVE sharing their knowledge of the art and the vast majority will eagerly answer a curious student’s questions.
One instructor I had addressed the class and openly encouraged the students to ask questions. “When the student asks a question, it shows that their mind is in the class and that they are thinking about the technique!”
The more advanced a Jiu-Jitsu student becomes, the less they rely on the formal instruction in the class for their learning. Their learning starts to come from taking the material from class, experimenting with it during rolling, and then coming back to the Professor with any problems they may have encountered. It’s a trial, feedback, correction process.
Don’t be shy to ask questions in class. It shows your instructor that you are genuinely focused on what is being taught and is the best way for you to deepen your understanding of the material being presented.
A GB student writes in and asks “I’m one of the smallest students in the class.
What can I do to not get smashed by bigger, heavier training partners?”
This is a great question! After all, isn’t this the reason why most jiu-jitsu students got started training at Gracie Barra? To learn how to defend against a bigger, stronger attacker? I doubt many have ever joined a martial arts class saying to themselves “I really want to learn how to defeat smaller weaker opponents!”
All kidding aside, jiu-Jitsu might be the best martial art that provides smaller, weaker people with the ability to defend against and defeat larger opponents. Two of the key figures in the early development of jiu-jitsu in Brazil – Grandmasters Carlos Gracie Sr. and Helio Gracie – were famous for their smaller stature and ability to defeat bigger opponents.
Closer to home, you very likely have a number of higher-ranked belts in your Gracie Barra school who are smaller, lighter (and dare I say not very physically intimidating?) who are also absolute savages on the mat. The majority of us have been tied up in knots by a more experienced student who is much smaller than ourselves. It can be a very humbling experience to be tapped repeatedly by a much smaller training partner. But the experience should make a believer out of you as well. You have experienced direct proof of the effectiveness of jiu-jitsu for a smaller student.
By observing these smaller “giant killers” in rolling, we can notice certain patterns in the techniques and positions that they prefer when rolling against training partners that outsize them.
Here are a few things that tend to work for smaller jiu-jitsu students in rolling with bigger training partners.
1- A great guard. A smaller student will likely be forced to develop a strong defensive guard out of sheer necessity. If they spend a majority of their rolls on the bottom they will be very proficient in guard retention, the ability to frame and keep distance to avoid carrying the weight and pressure of the heavyweights, and have a sneaky, dangerous straight armlock or omoplata from their guard.
When I think of the submissions that smaller jiu-jitsu players tend to be successful tapping bigger students with, it is most often the straight armbar from guard. And as a form of control and sweeping tool, the omoplata also allows the lighter BJJ fighter to utilize the strength of their legs and hips against the shoulder of the opponent.
2- The human backpack. Getting to the opponent’s back is also a common element in the game of the smaller BJJ fighter. By using their speed advantage, the smaller fighter can look for an arm drag or duck under to get around to the bigger opponent’s back where they can attack with the King of Submissions – the rear choke.
The Back Mount is considered the #1 position on the ground for a good reason. All of your opponent’s offensive options are rendered ineffective and they can’t see what you are doing on their back. The back control might be the safest place for a small jiu-jitsu fighter to be in a match.
3- The leg lock game. In David vs Goliath matches in MMA and sport grappling absolute matches, the great equalizer is the leg attacks. Leg entanglement guards enable the smaller fighter to control the movement of a heavier opponent while pitting the strength of their entire body against the comparably weaker joints of the ankle and knee.
Observe what lighter competitors go to in a competitive match against a much bigger adversary and I’ll bet you that you will see single leg X-guard and leg lock attacks! It’s because it works.
Smaller jiu-jitsu students don’t despair. There ARE strategies and techniques that will allow you to level the playing field and not only defend, but WIN against bigger training partners.
Meet Professor Johnathan “Jow Jow” Rodrigues, who brings Gracie Barra students the latest video series on GB Online. GB Online got together to talk with Professor Jow Jow (pronounced “Joe Joe”) to get to know the person behind the techniques.
Professor Jow Jow got his start in Jiu-Jitsu when he was 10 years old in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. While swimming at a community aquatic center, he saw a martial arts class taking place in one of the rooms. Young Johnathan approached the instructor and said jokingly, “Hey, I used to do MMA back then…what will it take for me to train Jiu-Jitsu with you guys?”
The instructor agreed to allow Johnathan to join his class under one condition – Johnathan had to lose some weight first. Professor Jow Jow explains that he was a child with weight problems. Johnathon was motivated by the challenge to lose weight and prove to the Jiu-Jitsu instructor that he was tenacious and up to the task.
Professor Jow Jow started under Professor Caio Gregorio – a black belt under GB Professor Erik Wanderley. Professor Jow Jow explains that due to a lack of funding, his school was not able to be an official GB school, but they always competed under the GB Belo Horizonte banner.
Paying it forward
Years later, after Professor Jow Jow immigrated to the USA, he was able to provide some financial support to his original Jiu-Jitsu school in Belo Horizonte and assist them in becoming an accredited GB official school. The financial assistance goes towards renovations for the school and sponsoring uniforms for young students. Professor Jow Jow credits Professor Flavio Almeida and others in Arizona for helping make it all happen.
Professor Jow Jow is proud of his roots at GB Pompeia in Belo Horizonte and is currently a high-level athlete representing GB and helps with students at GB North Phoenix in Arizona. Professor Jow Jow graduated to black belt under Professor Flavio Almeida and his professor in Brazil, Professor Caio Gregorio.
In addition to Paying it Forward by helping others on their Jiu-Jitsu journey, Professor Jow Jow is a family man and continues to be an active competitor representing Gracie Barra on some of the highest competitive stages.
Professor Jow Jow started competing when he first started training in Jiu-Jitsu. His competitive highlights include the finals of the Pan American championships No-Gi in 2018. He has competed through the colored belts at the highly competitive Brazilian Nationals with multiple high placings in Copa Podio, CBJJO championships, Brasiliero de Equipes, Seletiva Abu Dhabi pro, and several appearances in the World Championships.
The Single Leg X Passing System
When Professor Jow Jow looked at the instructionals available on GB Online, he saw an area that he could offer some expertise – the Single Leg X-Guard – and, more importantly, how to defend and pass the position.
“The main reason is that over time I was able to develop some ways of passing Single Leg X-Guard and X-Guard that are very efficient in competition. I developed a passing game that was strong,” – Professor Jow Jow.
While there exists an abundance of technical resources on playing the bottom Single Leg X-Guard, there is an absence of information on passing the Single Leg X-Guard. Professor Jow Jow saw how his experience could fill that knowledge gap for Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu students and competitors.
As a Professor, he sees many Jiu-Jitsu students struggling with positions that they are unfamiliar with, and the Single Leg X-Guard is a perfect example.
“I noticed that the majority of people in the Jiu-Jitsu community have a hard time passing the Single Leg X-Guard and X-Guard. I want to show them that it’s not that seven-headed dragon that they think it is,” he smiles.
Behind Professor Jow Jow’s making of his Single Leg, X-Guard passing system lays a sincere desire to contribute to the Jiu-Jitsu community. “I want to be able to make the GB Jiu-Jitsu community stronger. And help Jiu-Jitsu develop more. I just wanted to show a little bit of what I know and what I was able to develop,” he explains.
The Passing System and submissions
The focus of Professor Jow Jow’s Single Leg X-Guard passing is obviously the Single Leg X entanglement but includes passing techniques for the X-Guard. In addition to the guard passes, he also teaches submission attacks that come off of the passes.
“I have X passes. I have Single Leg X passes. I have submissions – entering into armbars, entering into foot locks, and I have back takes as well,” he says.
The Single Leg X-Guard in competition
The position of Single Leg X-Guard – also commonly referred to as the Ashi Garami leg entanglement – is really important to the leg lock game that we see in most submission competition rule sets.
A key part of Professor Johnathan’s passing system is teaching how to understand leg entanglement and avoid being submitted with leg attacks from Single Leg X-Guard/ Ashi Garami.
“The last four techniques of the video series are about when the person starts reacting to the passer. The reaction is the leg entanglement. I’m able to teach in the instructional how to react against it. Getting into the Leg Drag pass and back take scenario,” says Professor Johnathan.
As a competitor, the Single Leg X-Guard passing position has been an important part of his success. The techniques have been tested in the intensity of competition matches.
“Over time, I was able to develop – in Brazil in competition, even in Arizona – a series of passes. Whenever I’m in the top passing position, sometimes I even give the leg (to the opponent) in order to pass. I feel so comfortable in that situation in order to pass and get to the back. I wait for their reaction.”
Single Leg X-Guard and No-Gi
Professor Johnathan is looking forward to competing in more No-Gi events in the future. His Single Leg X-Guard passing system is highly applicable to the No-Gi game as well.
“It applies to both No-Gi and Gi Jiu-Jitsu. There are some positions that, for example, I show how to get to the armbar from the Single Leg X-Guard, that is mostly for the Gi. But with the foot lock- I was able to get to the finals of the No-Gi Pans because of that foot lock that I show in the instructionals,” he says.
“I was competing in Pans, and I had four matches. And in the four matches, I was able to do the same position. I got to the finals because of that position,” says Professor Jow Jow.
Professor Johnathan shares one of his Single Leg X Passing secrets: “In the instructional, I show how to pass the Single Leg X controlling the opponent’s sleeve. But you don’t necessarily need the sleeve. That’s why I say that it’s for Gi and No-Gi. It’s more about how to balance yourself and how you distribute your weight to the leg that they are trying to extend and off-balance you. So you are able to maintain your balance, and you are able to pass and get to the back.”
Developing the Single Leg X Passing game
Professor Jow Jow explains that coming up competing in Brazil, the main focus in his school was on passing the guard. Competing at Light Featherweight, Rooster, and Featherweight, he had a difficult time with the common tournament situation of double guard pull. He had little experience with dealing with leg entanglement until he attended a training camp with Professor Samuel Braga in Knoxville.
“I was losing in the competitions from a mistake, in the double guard pull, and didn’t know what to do when they entangled my legs. They either got 2 points on me, or we stayed in the 50/50 guard. And I lost the match because of that,” – Professor Jow Jow.
He got together with his professor and discussed the necessity of developing a strategy to deal with this tournament situation. To be able to beat competitors that were good at leg entanglement, Professor Jow Jow had to practice and improve in those double-guard pulls.
“Whenever you come up to the top in a double guard pull situation, you always end up in the Single Leg X. So that’s why I was able to develop my game in the Single Leg X-Guard position,” says Professor Jow Jow.
Submission strategy from the Single Leg X
Professor Jow Jow is a keen student of studying high-level competition footage. He observes, “In competition, all of the off-balancings come from the Single Leg X. That is where you hit your submissions. You off-balance someone, they forget about what they are doing, and you submit them! Or you sweep them. In the competition scenario, the position is really strong. People are using it a lot. People are having such a struggle to pass. The guard player is too good at the Single Leg X, or the other guy doesn’t know how to defend.”
Professor Jow Jow really wants you to use his Single Leg X-Guard passing system to develop your own passing game to a higher level. He explains that if he teaches people his techniques, they will get better and force him, in turn, to have to improve. Everyone gets better.
The best part of my job as a writer on the Gracie Barra blog is the incredible stories that I hear from world-class-level black belt competitors and instructors around the World Gracie Barra network. I present to you some of the best advice and philosophy that each of these inspirational figures shared with me. Enjoy!
Prof. Jefferson Moura was head instructor at GB Matriz in Rio de Janeiro at the original Gracie Barra HQ and is now building Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu in Colorado, USA
Prof Jefferson shares his philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu: “Your training opponent is like life, you need to use the Jiu-jitsu philosophy in your day to have respect, discipline, healthy habits, know when to breathe, wait for a good opportunity, use an extra movement, withstand the pressure until it passes and even when life takes you down, you know you can start again and do better, knowing the right time to be there to attack and if you reach a submission to emerge victoriously.
Jiu-jitsu is like this all the time, one time you win, another time you learn, it’s always starting over, trying something different and better until you start winning.
Anyone who understands this will be prepared for life’s challenges.”
Double Gold No-Gi Worlds Champion Prof. Pedro Marinho
One of Gracie Barra’s most exciting and successful competitors is Prof. Pedro Marinho who recently had an incredible performance at the 2021 No-Gi Worlds. Prof. Pedro won double gold in both the 91kg and Open weight categories. 8 wins in 8 matches.
GB: Can you talk a little about your mindset leading up to a major tournament? What is your mental attitude right before you enter the match for a championship final?
Prof. Pedro: I truly believe in hard work. I know that if you put the work in, and do everything that you are supposed to, you’ll be ready and feel ready.
You can lie to everybody but you can’t lie to yourself. If you don’t give your best during your preparation, you’ll know deep down that you could’ve done better and it will affect your self-confidence.
The most brutal fights happen inside of your own mind.
When I enter any match I remind myself nobody worked harder than me. And I know I’m ready.”
Prof. Andressa Cintra of Texas won her weight class in the 2021 IBJJF World Championships and her category at the most recent Brasiliero Championships
GB: What advice can you share with young GB competitors?
Prof. Andressa: Everything that you desire, may not be easy to conquer, but if you believe you can and work as hard as you can, you can do it. Even whenever you are tired or lazy, set a goal plan, don’t matter the circumstances, follow it 100%, and do everything to get it. Don’t focus on other people’s lives, social media can cause you more damage than help you if you keep comparing your life with others. And of course, trust in God and His plans for you.”
Prof Ulpiano Malachias of GB Westchàse is the head coach of a formidable competition team representing the Red Shield
GB: What is the mindset/philosophy to carry into a tournament where there will be some tough matches?
Prof Ulpiano: Every time that you look at the bracket, you got to think ‘man, if it’s tough for me, imagine for the other guys.’ So you’ve got to believe in yourself. Think about what you are going to do, not what they are going to do to you. Your mindset must be like ‘I’m going to impose my game and nobody is going to stop me you know. They have to figure out how to stop it – NOT I have to figure out how to avoid it. I think that’s important.
GB: How do you mentally deal with wins and losses? Some competitors feel they let the team down if they lose – while some winners could become overconfident and egoistic
Prof Ulpiano: About winning or losing. A loss is never good. Some people say ‘I learned from my loss.” Are you saying that you learned that you shouldn’t lose. (Laughing) You know that’s the main lesson that you should learn when you lose you know. But everybody is a human being and you end up, that at one point everybody loses.
I don’t even think about loss. I never tell my students to go into the tournament with the idea IF they lose or anything. It’s always ‘You going to win man!’. I think this is better. To go with the mentality that you going to win.
“Your mindset must be like ‘I’m going to impose my game and nobody is going to stop me.” Prof Ulpiano
For this month’s blog, we wanted to share some thoughts on a concept that has gotten some media attention – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs American Jiu-Jitsu. There has been some debate as to whether they are different, the same, or just part of the evolution of Sport Jiu-Jitsu. This debate can plot the practitioners that contribute to the sport against each other, which can be counterproductive. The reality is that Jiu-Jitsu belongs to humanity. Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone and by everyone.
In its current form, Jiu-Jitsu has attributes and contributions from many. If you look at the lineage of Jiu-Jitsu, it goes back to its origins in Japan. It was Mitsuyo Maeda that brought the art to Brazil from Japan. Then Great Grandmaster Carlos Gracie and Great Grandmaster Helio Gracie added different concepts and techniques to the art, such as the idea of leverage. These additions allowed for much smaller opponents to overcome larger ones. When Great Grandmaster Carlos opened his first school and taught the Jiu-Jitsu he was taught, together with the techniques he had developed, Jiu-Jitsu evolved.
Have you ever been curious how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu got its name? It is an interesting story. When in Brazil, it was just called Jiu-Jitsu, not Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When Jiu-Jitsu first came to the United States, different family members wanted to open schools. To avoid conflict over the naming of the schools, the term BJJ was used. This was also helpful to distinguish the BJJ from what was being taught in traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu schools at the time.
Today, Jiu-Jitsu is practiced all over the world. It has become an art that is for everyone and developed by everyone. The influences of many practitioners from different backgrounds have allowed for the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu to be even more powerful than ever before. For this reason, Jiu-Jitsu belongs to humanity, not just to one country.
Some would debate that there is “American Jiu-Jitsu” because there are differences being taught in American schools, or practiced by American athletes. These are amazing contributions to the sport and have allowed for the sport to become even more powerful. And the future will present even more contributions from different people from around the world. The development of the sport over time should not lead to division by calling it by different names. It is just Jiu-Jitsu in all its forms, regardless of where, and by whom, it is practiced.
With the use of the internet, we have all become tied through the study of different techniques being developed by and executed on the world stage. Because of this information sharing, Jiu-Jitsu has become much more robust and more people are starting their journey every day! This should be celebrated, and not debated as to who should get the credit for the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu.
Ultimately, all of us that practice Jiu-Jitsu love it and feel it has been of great value in our lives. Being a part of the global community that we belong to has opened us up to opportunities for self-improvement and a better quality of life. And that is true because of the contributions of the Japanese, the Brazilians, the Americans, and every other nationality that participates and discovers something new and shares it with the world.
Jiu-Jitsu is a gift to humanity that we all get to be a part of and should not be claimed by any one group.
Recently a GB student asks “I was just promoted to blue belt by my Professor after the tournament. I’m not sure that I feel ready. What should I be working on?”
First of all congratulations on your blue belt! What a great feeling of accomplishment it is to graduate with a higher-colored belt. There is only one way to get a new belt and is through consistent, hard work and improvement. Enjoy the achievement.
Have you checked out the NEW GB Online Website?
It’s surprisingly common for students who graduated to a higher belt to have a sense of doubt about their new rank. Many times I’ve had a new blue, purple, or brown belt say privately to me that they didn’t feel that they really deserved the new rank. They felt an increased amount of pressure to perform at a higher level. It seems that many jiu-jitsu students can be their own worst critics. But it simply isn’t true.
Your professor has years of experience watching students roll and develop. They know what they are looking at. It’s very rare that a student receives a rank that they do not have the skills to back up. If your professor thinks that you have improved enough to wear a higher rank have faith in their evaluation of your skills.
Before long you will mentally adjust to the new belt, the perceived pressure will quickly fade away and you will go back to concentrating on having fun and working on your jiu-jitsu.
This leads us to your question about “what should I work on?” as a new blue belt. As you probably know, there is no official list of “blue belt techniques”. During the GB Fundamentals curriculum, you have seen the majority of the key techniques which will form the foundation of your jiu-jitsu. When you start training in the GB2 you will be exposed to more sport jiu-jitsu specific techniques and more advanced variations of the fundamentals. More advanced doesn’t necessarily mean better. More advanced means that a technique is a more specialized technique for a specific positional situation.
As a new blue belt, you should be thinking about experimenting with new positions. Graduating to blue belt means that you have established a foundation of the basic techniques. You have also developed some of the fundamental movement patterns of ground fighting. For example, you have developed some base when in the top position. You are able to move your hips on the bottom. You understand what to do when you arrive at any of the major ground positions. You have enough background to make learning some of the more advanced, sports bjj techniques productive.
This is the fun part of jiu-jitsu… opening up your game, and your mind to more possibilities. You should try some of the new positions that you have observed the purple, brown, and black belts playing in their rolling. For example, there are a lot of different types of guard: butterfly guard, outside hook guard, lapel guard, deep half guard, and so on.
Are any of these a good fit for your game? Suited to your body type, physical attributes, and mental temperament? There is only one way to find out – experiment with these positions and see what works for you and what doesn’t feel natural. Some positions will be exactly what you need to compliment your game while other positions may be useful to know but don’t feel like they are going to fit into your overall game. That’s fine. You are just experimenting.
This is an exciting time for you as a new blue belt. Open yourself up to all of the variations of Jiu-Jitsu.
A quick tip: find a training partner who wants to drill with you. Whenever you have some free time on the mat pair up and perform repetitions of the moves that you are trying to get better at. Break down the techniques with your partner’s feedback – “Does my grip feel stronger in this position or this other position?” type of thing. This is how you will really learn the technique.
Most of all… have fun!
Two of the most influential factors to success are motivation and discipline. They help create habits that shape us and refine us into a better version of ourselves. Whether you’re practicing Jiu-Jitsu, opening a business, or striving to overcome a personal challenge, you can make your goals more enjoyable and achievable with motivation and discipline.
Meet Prof Ericka Almeida of GB Curitiba. Prof Ericka is very passionate about the self-defense component of Jiu-Jitsu and shares her perspective on how we can apply it in our lives outside of the GB school.
Prof Ericka also shares some success stories of young people overcoming personal obstacles through jiu-jitsu and how jiu-jitsu can be a great family activity for both the kids and mom and dad.
“…But when they do jiu-Jitsu, they are going to jiu-jitsu together; they talk about jiu-jitsu; they share their experiences in the training so it’s really good for the whole family.”
GB: Let’s introduce you to the Gracie Barra readers. How did you start training Jiu-Jitsu? Where is your home Gracie Barra school?
Prof Ericka: My name is Ericka Almeida, I started Jiu-Jitsu in 2007. I moved from my town Sao Paulo to Parana – Curitiba, Parana. When I moved I looked for a Gracie Barra school. And now I’m under Gracie Barra Curitiba Prof Rodrigo Fajardo and Prof Nika. I’m also a Prof at GB Ecco Villi here in Curitiba. I teach men, women, and kids. I really believe in our philosophy that jiu-jitsu is meant for everyone.
GB: You are especially passionate about the self-defense aspects of Jiu-Jitsu. Can you share your philosophy of the importance of learning self-defense?
Prof Ericka: I really love my job. I really love what I do. I could do this every day until my last days. I believe in the purpose that jiu-jitsu can change people’s lives. Especially in self-esteem – so that’s why self-defense is very important. It’s part of the process. I really believe that everyone should start jiu-jitsu when they are kids because this can develop childhood development by making them more confident and socially oriented adults.
GB: What are the most important parts of a solid Jiu-Jitsu self-defense program? What are the important parts to consider and focus on?
Prof Ericka: The most important part of a solid self-defense jiu-jitsu program is the position reflex and prevention. For example – if I see a suspicious person walking toward me I can prevent being vulnerable, make a good base so I can not be thrown to the ground so easily, and apply the techniques that we learn in the classes. Also, prevention before all because for example here in Brazil the violence is really high. And kidnapping is really common here. So for example if I’m leaving the school and I’m going to my car in the parking lot, I usually avoid looking at my cell phone; avoid staying in the car late at night alone. So this is a type of prevention that I must take here. This is self-defense that can be taught.
GB: Can you tell us a little about the kids’ Jiu-Jitsu programs at your school?
Prof Ericka: I love the kid’s class! At first, it can be hard. But it’s great being involved in working with them. I really love it. About our kids’ classes at school – I used to talk with them and then I adapted the self-defense techniques to their lives, their situations in school, and in their neighborhood. So for example the Tiny Champions used to tell me that some fried in school beat them up and now they want to know how to prevent this situation. So I really like to work like that with them.
GB: What are the challenges that young people face in their lives? How does jiu-jitsu help them meet their challenges?
Prof Ericka: Jiu-Jitsu is good for kids in so many ways. I see the little ones who came here shy and they begin to socialize better. And some aggressive kids also start to socialize better. Their self-esteem is so much higher now. I have a student here that prior to Jiu-Jitsu used to cut herself. She has depression. Since she started to do the classes, she stopped cutting herself. So this is the best reward that I can have through jiu-jitsu. I’m not a Professor for money or for fame – I’m a Professor to make people’s lives better.
The biggest challenge for the kids at first is to work on winning and losing situations. They might think that when they lose that we are going to love them less or that we are not going to be proud of them. Then they realize that it doesn’t work like that. We never love them less. Losing is part of the process.
Losing is part of the process and we are going to celebrate every little victory with them and the process.
GB: Can you share an example of a young person who has a Jiu-Jitsu success story?
Prof Ericka: A successful jiu-jitsu story – it depends on what you mean about success. Success for me is when a kid who is really shy starts to make friends and socialize better, or an aggressive kid controls himself and can make friends. Like I said before – a young, depressed girl who is loving herself more now. This is a success for me.
Another example is a kid that used to be shy and didn’t defend himself from the bullies. They were in school playing soccer and some other kids started to mess with him and his friends and he applied a self-defense technique – took the bully to the ground and asked for an adult’s help. So this is really, really successful for me. I’m really proud that he was successful in applying the techniques that he learned in self-defense in class.
GB: What advice would you give to a parent who is thinking about enrolling their child in Jiu-Jitsu?
Prof Ericka: The advice that I have for the parents is that jiu-jitsu is one of the best investments that you can do for your child’s life. And if you want to invest, even more, the parents should do Jiu-Jitsu too! Because we have parents class and this is going to be a different experience for the whole family.
I used to talk a lot about it here in school with the parents – that if both the parents and kids do jiu-jitsu together the quality time together will be awesome. Because usually families spend time together at home, at night at dinner but everyone is stuck on their phones, on the tv – so they are together but they are not involved together. But when they do jiu-Jitsu, they are going to jiu-jitsu together; they talk about jiu-jitsu; they share their experiences in the training so it’s really good for the whole family.
To a great extent, the success of Gracie Barra over the years can be attributed to the leadership and teaching style of Master Carlos Gracie Jr., which has been heavily influenced by three of the major figures in Jiu-Jitsu history: his father Carlos, his Uncle Helio, and his brother Rolls.
Master Carlos Jr.’s willingness to keep an open mind and learn from these great individuals in his early years is a vital component of Gracie Barra’s history and its future. Let’s dive into what Master Carlos Gracie Jr. says about how his father, uncle, and brother influenced him.
Master Carlos says he was very lucky because his father was a very positive man. He says he led with a mentality that benefited many people in the world. He was very open-minded to many perspectives, and this influenced Master Carlos to remain open to many influences on him.
Master Carlos says his father saw Jiu-Jitsu as something that could work for humanity. That through Jiu-Jitsu, humanity can improve. This was his ultimate positive view on life and Jiu-Jitsu.
Master Carlos Jr. stated that his view on life and his vision of Gracie Barra is “because my father philosophically opened my mind, about having no limits to where you can go.”
Master Carlos recalls that his uncle used to be the coordinator of what techniques were taught. Helio would directly influence and guide everything taught to those who trained Jiu-Jitsu in the original school. Helio had a mindset of a samurai and felt that others had to maintain the same mindset. He was very disciplined and focused on training and dedicating himself to the principles of martial arts. But at the same time, Helio was so focused on the techniques he felt were important that he wasn’t always open to outside influences.
Master Carlos recalls that he trained every day, he taught every day, and even though he was small in stature, he achieved many unimaginable goals because of the focus he had.
Master Carlos stated, “My uncle taught that you need to train hard, be determined, and focused on that, on your ability, and the more you dedicate yourself, the more focus you have, you end up being unbeatable.”
Master Carlos had a very close connection with this brother. He recalls that Rolls had great influence over those who he taught and that he greatly influenced Master Carlos. Rolls had a mentality of developing a combative game that one should attack so fiercely that all the opponent could do was defend and not be able to counterattack.
Being that Rolls was also influenced by his father, Carlos Gracie Sr., and his open-minded view of the world, Rolls would engage with other martial arts to optimize his learning. He was always looking for ways that other knowledge could enrich his Jiu-Jitsu and make Jiu-Jitsu, as a whole, better.
Master Carlos stated, “Rolls brought that learning experience on which if you can enrich your game with external things that could work well with it, you will always improve yourself.’
From those three major influences, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. developed his own way of teaching and leading once he founded his own school in Barra da Tijuca back in 1986. Master Carlos consolidated his commitment to teaching with an open mind, leading for the betterment of the group and understanding the important role competitive Jiu-Jitsu plays in the development of an individual student and the whole team.
“Then, I started to use those three ideas, and I built my own mindset based on what I understood from what they meant. With my way of understanding, I followed this path and created a teaching method in my school with all these rich elements that I received from those three professors.” Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
Master Carlos says his Jiu-Jitsu style was a unification of these three concepts. Living and being influenced by these amazing individuals, and being able to combine the different philosophies into his own philosophy, has allowed him to come to this conclusion:
“Jiu-Jitsu is a mechanism for helping others.”
This overall view comes from his father’s view that Jiu-Jitsu can help humanity, his uncle’s view that through determination and focus, everyone can reach their goals, and his brother’s view that the more you learn from other sources from within your school or from the world around you, the more you can enrich your own Jiu-Jitsu.
Master Carlos Gracie Jr. believes in a broad Jiu-Jitsu, one with no borders, where we can include whatever can be adapted to work and enrich Jiu-Jitsu. Based on this view, the curriculum at Gracie Barra never states that you can not teach new techniques. As long as the theme of the week is used as the reference to build the class (i.e., guard passing), the technique can be whatever the professor wants to teach.
The goal is never to constrain or limit the creativity of the professors and always to allow outside influences to enrich a student’s teachings. The basic system of the GB curriculum system encourages technique evolution while continuing to ensure that all aspects of Jiu-Jitsu are focused on so that students continue to receive complete Jiu-Jitsu instruction. This is the Gracie Barra way!
Motivation is a desire and willingness to act. We are motivated by different factors to achieve specific outcomes daily. When we feel hungry, we desire to eat to remove that hunger.
Motivation also works well in achieving your goals because it pushes you to perform. If you plan on losing weight to drop a weight bracket for a CompNet competition, then the event is your motivation. An alternative goal could be improving your physical fitness to be ready to compete. That motivation is the key to performance at the event.
Not all motivations stem from a desire to have a positive outcome. We also experience motivational factors because we fear the worst-case scenario happening. In the same situation above, the fear of getting disqualified for the competition could be the catalyst for someone wanting to make weight. Alternatively, not wanting to lose a match because your fitness level is not up to par may motivate you to increase your fitness level.
The reason you need motivation is the first step. Enthusiasm and excitement will help make the transition into hard work smoother. It’s easy to start when you have a strong desire to do so. That passion will translate into better results in a shorter timeframe.
The problem with motivation is that it’s often short-lived. You may find that the same emotions that originally stir you no longer provide the same effect after a period of time. Motivation alone doesn’t provide enough consistency to provide long-term results.
Let’s take the weight loss example. During the first month of your journey, you’re excited as you see tangible results from each action you make, from exercise to diet. However, during the second month, your progress slows down, making you question the effectiveness of your methods.
Another example could be how excited you were when you stepped on the mats for the first month. That immediate first love of what it felt like in the white belts days of constant learning and exciting new information. Getting smashed was part of the expectation and it was part of the journey. Then suddenly, the honeymoon wears off and the difficulties of becoming proficient are in front of you. You’re suddenly not as motivated as you used to be during the first months. Getting smashed is starting to become not so much fun!
The loss of motivation can be a goal killer if you’re not careful. The lesson here is that motivation is not the only thing you need to ensure you succeed. While emotions can be a factor to get you started, it’s not the thing that will keep you on track on the hardest days. To be truly successful requires someone to practice motivation with a measure of discipline.
Successful athletes break down reaching their goals into a mix of motivation and discipline. When your emotions begin to wear down, discipline will be the thing that keeps you standing.
Discipline is the act of staying in control and behaving the same way no matter what factors are present in your current circumstance. In essence, it means remaining the same and enduring even when your motivation is low. Discipline will be the final push that builds the foundation of a habit. When your actions become a habit, it will be harder to break them.
Numerous studies show that people who demonstrate strong self-discipline have good habits. Most of their lives are crafted to fit their needs and goals. You can create a scenario where the actions to success will be something you do naturally. Over time, you’ll need less motivation to do the work required.
For example, by planning your meals for the week every Sunday, you’re making the weight loss plan easier. Or deciding on a training plan that fits well into your schedule and you stay consistent with, regardless of the outcome of the last training session. You don’t need daily motivation; you only need to follow what you prepared and planned for. Stay disciplined in following it, and eventually, you’ll get to a point where it becomes a routine.
People are naturally creatures of habit. Our brain loves taking shortcuts to lessen the load on it. When we’re starting something new, we often need a lot of focus. Going to the gym or learning new Jiu-JItsu techniques will take a lot of effort. It is unfamiliar, so our brains and bodies have to get used to it.
Over time, as you become accustomed to the action, it becomes easier. However, the motivation to start and discipline to stay on your path are still requirements. The motivation puts you on that path, and the discipline allows you to build a habit. Once your action becomes a habit, you’ll need little effort to maintain what you’re doing.
In short, the action becomes automatic. If you need to train three times a week to stay in shape, by becoming a habit, you put yourself in a position where you’ll always be in the condition you desire. Many of the things we do daily are habits we’ve formed over long periods, from brushing our teeth to commuting to work.
We don’t even have to think about the actions needed most of the time. They are second nature. The path to success is transforming your desire into habits.
One problem that derails many people from their goals is staying attached to the need for motivation for too long. Understand that it is something that eventually fades away. The excitement you have at the start will not always be there, but take advantage of it while the desire is strong.
If you want to achieve multiple things, the best thing you can do is prioritize them. What are the things that you want to achieve? While you can change your routine to fit many of your goals, we often work best when we focus on the highest priority items. Don’t spread yourself over too many things you want to achieve, or you might get burned out.
One way to help you stay motivated for longer is to link your desire with positive things. If you want to improve your fitness routine, you need positive reinforcement. Find inspiration among others who found success, or make note of how you continue to improve over time.
As you start your journey to a new goal, remember that a habit takes time to form. You’ll need to endure the process of building a habit through motivation and discipline before something becomes a part of your life. When emotions are high, it can be easy to push through, but when they’re low, you need self-discipline. Once you reach the threshold and create a habit, things will become easier for you. And as always, enjoy the journey.
Mateo has been training with us for a while and was recently promoted to the Grey belt! It is amazing to see the hard work of our Kids paying off!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Congratulations to everyone who competed from Gracie Barra Sydney today! You all helped us become the champions today!
Thank you to all the students, Instructors, supporters and families that made this possible!
Last month, Grant started his journey as a way of doing something new! After the consistency and training, Grant received his first stripe on the way to the black belt!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
GB Sydney will be closed on Thursday 22nd September due to the public holiday!
Classes will resume as normal on Friday 23rd September!
Stay safe and we can't wait to have you back on the mats!
3 athletes! 4 gold medals!
Congratulations Pierce Howell, Natasha Franks and Perry Cooper for winning the IBJJF World Masters overnight!
We have now have three World Champions at GB Sydney!
Congratulations Pierce Howell, Natasha Franks and Perry Cooper for winning the IBJJF World Masters overnight!
We are so proud of your amazing efforts!
Matteo recently got back into training with us. His father has been training with us for many years, and after a lot of persistence and resilience, he had another stripe!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
What an outstanding performance this weekend at the Australian Jiu Jitsu Championships.
Overall, the GB Team took 45 Gold, 32 Silver and 40 Bronze medals resulting in:
🥇1st place Male No-Gi Team
🥈2nd place Junior Team
🥉3rd Place Female Gi Team
Thank you to the competitors, spectators, coaches, families, and those who contributed to this great weekend!
Usen recently started training with us after his daughters and wife started their Jiu-Jitsu journey. After a lot of hard work, he was rewarded with his first stripe!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Gracie Barra was the best team in the IBJJF Pan Kids Championship in Florida last weekend!
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with many others, for motivating people to follow their dreams, and spreading the Jiu-Jitsu legacy around the world!
You will always be remembered, big champion 🙏
The Gracie Barra team wishes comfort to the heart of family members and friends.
Antonio has been training for many years now and recently took one of the biggest steps in his journey, the 4th stripe on the brown belt!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Jack recently moved to us from Gracie Barra Bradford, UK. After settling in, his sister has already started training and Jack is back to competing!
He recently was back at it this weekend taking home gold in a stacked division! Congratulations Jack!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
After watching her daughter learn for a few months, Aizhan jumped in and got started and loves it! Now the entire family is training!
We can’t wait to see her progress as she builds towards her goals!
Make sure you say hi next time you see her!
Felipe has been training with us consistently for a few months and recently progressed up to our GB2 program!
We can’t wait to see his progress as he builds towards his goals!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Don’t miss your chance to train with one of the best in Australia!
Contact us for more!
GB Sydney will be closed on Monday 13th June due to the long weekend.
We can't wait to have everyone back to classes on Tuesday 14th June!
“…a hard-earned advantage that in a life-threatening situation can make all the difference.”
Prof. Bryan Waltz from GB Colorado Springs talks about a real-life story of where a Jiu-Jitsu student used their skills to protect themselves in a dangerous situation.
The Gracie Barra Kid’s jiu-jitsu program equips young people with the tools and confidence they need to face their challenges in the world.
Prof. Bryan runs the successful GB Little Champions program at his GB school, and talks about jiu-jitsu for kids, and shares advice on how kids can get started in Jiu-Jitsu.
GB: What kind of positive feedback have you heard from parents whose children have started jiu-jitsu?
Prof. Bryan: I have gotten countless messages of positive feedback from parents over the years but messages like this really drive to the heart of why we teach Jiu-Jitsu. I received this message from a thankful father. I changed the name of the boy for the sake of anonymity.
“Hey Bryan, I wanted to thank you. John got jumped in school yesterday. The first guy that punched him, John took down and put him in a rear-naked choke. Using him as a shield while other kids tried to punch and kick him while he was down. John is alright now, a little banged up. Thanks again, Bryan.”
One of the kids in the crowd recorded the incident and I watched the video. It was just like his dad said. John was assaulted but he was not a victim. He was a quiet, very well mannered kid who trained with me for a few years, did some competitions, and ended up in a rough High School. The kids who tried to punch and kick him on the ground had to give up in this case because of John and such a strong grip on their friend. The whole thing ended with no blood or broken bones but if John didn’t know Jiu-Jitsu the outcome could have very easily been a humiliating public beating. As parents, we do so much to protect our kids but at some point, we have to let them out of our supervision and leave them unprotected among their peers. The promise of Jiu-Jitsu isn’t to make anyone invincible. The promise is to give them an edge, a hard-earned advantage that in a life-threatening situation can make all the difference.
GB: Can you share a success story of one of your GB Kids students?
Prof. Bryan: They are all still works in progress! I have grown apart from the kids I used to teach in New Mexico under Professor Tussa but have heard that many have become fine young adults. My current crop of kiddos shows great potential in BJJ and in life!
GB: Some parents may be concerned that jiu-jitsu carries the potential for injury. How does Gracie Barra ensure a “safety first” experience in the kid’s programs?
Prof. Bryan: Kids come into class all the time with a cast on their arm or wrist! Haha. Where did they get this injury? It’s always the playground or falling out of trees or being careless at home. In all my years I have never had a serious injury in class. The injuries kids get at a Gracie Barra school are along the lines of a scraped knee or bumped nose, a few tears followed by laughter after a hug from mom or dad. Other sports like football, soccer, gymnastics, or cheerleading all carry more dangers in general than BJJ for kids in my opinion. Kids at Gracie Barra train under close adult supervision on the state of the art mats which keeps injuries at a minimum.
GB: What advice do you have for parents who are thinking of starting their children in jiu-jitsu classes? What is the first step?
Prof. Bryan: The first step is just to sign your kids up and create a routine.
My advice to parents is to be patient and trust in the system. Don’t push your kids very hard or you will end up ruining the experience for them. The trick is to teach self-reliance so don’t yell at them from the sidelines. Let them think for themselves and have fun. If they enjoy themselves then they will eventually want to train for themselves and not for mom or dad. Then they can get hungry for Jiu-Jitsu and before you know it a fire will be lit. Be careful not to be an overbearing parent that extinguishes that fire. Parents are fantastic at ruining fun things, myself included! To really coax the best out of your child for long term Jiu-Jitsu training, your critiques should be gentle and minimal and your praise should be over the top! Don’t try to be your child’s coach, he or she already has one. Instead, be your child’s cheerleader. Let us return to our tree analogy. Growing a tree takes time and its growth rate, assuming it has adequate light and nutrients is based on its genetics. If you get impatient with the growth rate and start pumping up the fertilizer and energetically pruning branches, pretty soon you have a sick tree. I know many kids that were pushed too hard, won some tournaments, got burned out, and disappeared. Slow and steady wins this race. If you are a parent then sign your kid up, bring them two days a week, leaving time for other activities, and then take a big step back and relax. You’ve just made one of your best parenting moves. One day your child will thank you for the benefit of the fruit of the tree you grew together!
Ready to take on the WORLD!
We are super happy to announce that our student, and GB Oceania Ambassador, India Risby (@india_risby) will represent Australia at the IBJJF World Championship in Los Angeles, United States this weekend!
Her division will be on at 10:30am Saturday time, and can be watched live through FloGrappling!
Good luck India!
6 years in a row!
Congratulations to our Gracie Barrateam for placing 1st in the Academy Rankings for the 2021-2022 season!
1) Gracie Barra
3) GF Team
2) GF Team
We can’t do it without all our team members!
A Gracie Barra student writes in and asks “I have a job, I’m taking a course some evenings and I need to spend time with my girlfriend. I can only manage to go to Jiu-Jitsu class twice a week. Is it worth it if I can only go twice per ㅤweek? Is that enough to get better? Or am I wasting my time?”
A great question!
The majority of us are not professional BJJ athletes who can train every day and perform strength and conditioning workouts on top of that. We have careers, school, socializing, and time with family. There never seems to be enough time to do everything that we want to do.
The short answer to the question is: Yes. You can improve in Jiu-Jitsu even if you are limited to 2 classes per week. As with any activity, the more hours that we can devote to practice, the faster we will learn. Now you won’t improve as rapidly as another student who has the freedom to go to the Gracie Barra school every day, but it is not a good comparison to make if your life circumstances are so different.
Training only once per week is probably not going to be very productive – especially in the early stages of learning Jiu-Jitsu. You will forget what you learned last week before you have had a chance to review and repeat the movements. We simply need a certain number of repetitions in a week time frame in order to burn the physical movements into our muscle memory and mentally reinforce the details.
You can do that with 2 x week classes. As importantly, you will stay engaged mentally in Jiu-Jitsu and keep some psychological momentum to keep coming to class. There are a lot of potential distractions in our lives and without connecting with our instructor and training partners at least twice a week, our motivation may start to wane.
Even for more experienced Jiu-Jitsu students, there will be periods in our lives where “life just gets in the way” and we must reduce our training schedule – or even stop entirely for periods when other obligations take priority.
For example, a student studying for exams week may need to temporarily pause their normal training schedule in order to fully focus on studying. They know that soon enough the exams will be over and they can return to a normal schedule.
There will be periods where we have a lot of spare time to devote to Jiu-Jitsu and some times where we will just maintain our training. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
It is important to recognize that training BJJ is not only for younger people who have fewer responsibilities. Some of the busiest, high achievers that I know (who have perfectly valid excuses to say that they are too busy) MAKE the time to go to class at the Gracie Barra school.
Several years ago. I met a university Professor of Economics – who was also on the country’s National Economic Council – that was a 5th-degree black belt in karate. In light of his considerable commitments, I asked how he found the time to go to the karate dojo 3 or 4 nights every week?
“I have to!” he explained. “If I don’t go train I can not be as productive in the rest of my life. Training keeps me grounded, balanced, and feeds my energy for the rest of my time. If I stop training, I lose effectiveness in the rest of my life.”
I never forgot his message. Setting aside that time every week to train does not detract from our other activities and responsibilities. Instead, training Jiu-Jitsu feeds our energy and clears our thinking so that we can deal with all of our life challenges.
So if you can’t train every day, that’s ok. Just get into class when you can and enjoy the benefits of training Jiu-Jitsu for the rest of your week.
Welcome to our new home!
Our classes are now running as normal in our brand new facility!
Here is our address!
Level 4, 28 Rodborough Road, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086
We can’t wait to have you all visit us!
As Gracie Barra students are looking for a new year, it marks a fresh start symbolically.
It’s a great time to reflect on the successes and lessons of the past year. What did you learn that made the biggest difference in your Jiu-Jitsu in the past year? What really worked in your training? Recognize the training partners that you spent the most hours with and appreciate how working together pushed you both through obstacles,
When looking forward to the coming year of training here is an important question to ask: What didn’t go as well as you hoped and how can you adjust your training to improve in those areas.
I read a great quote from motivational speaker Tony Robbins “When we succeed we party when we fail, we ponder.” I think what Tony is saying is that we can look at things that didn’t go well and use that to analyze why and make a plan to fix it.
Here is an example that illustrates this idea. A brown belt I trained with said to me while sitting on the mats watching rolls “I need to improve my back attacks. I get to the back often enough, but I’m just not getting the finish as often as I think that I should. If you get the opponents back…it should be a kill. And now, for me, it isn’t.”
I thought about that simple statement. I was having much the same experience as he was. I knew back was the most dominant position on the ground, but I honestly didn’t feel as comfortable with a back mount as I did while inside mount. This had to change. What could I do to correct this problem?
I set some training goals on a focused effort to improve that part of my Jiu-Jitsu game. Now everyone says that they want to improve some particular part of their Jiu-Jitsu, but don’t necessarily know how they are going to go about it.
Here are some specific goals and things you can do to improve a certain aspect of your game.
1) Narrow your focus for 6 to 8 weeks. For that period of time, all of your video watching, drilling, strategy in rolling will be in that one position.
All roads lead to that position for you during this period of specialization.
Quite simply, you are going to have to spend the hours in THAT position in order to get better. Watching YouTube technique videos for 1 week is not going to do much to make a big difference in a position. But 6 to 8 weeks? You might well go up another belt level in skill on that 1 position with a narrow concentration of effort.
2) Specific training. There are a few ways you can adapt your rolling to maximize your learning in a specific position – let’s use back mount as our example.
Specific training where you start in the back mount and try to maintain the position and finish while your training partner tries to escape. When one of those objectives is met, you reset in the back mount and start again. You very likely do this in class for whatever position was covered that day. You can decide to do it on your own initiative if your partner agrees.
If there is one “secret” to improvement that many top-level black belts have to get good FAST…this is it.
Limiting yourself. This is particularly effective when training with lesser experienced belts. You ONLY allow yourself to get a submission from the back. Sure, you could just do the same old and probably get the submission with your A-Game triangle choke or side mount Kimura…but not for the next 6 to 8 weeks. You are ONLY allowed to finish from the back. This is going to force you to constantly look for the back in the roll, spend the most minutes holding the position and learn a lot about how your opponent is going to react defending in back mount. This is a new challenge for you.
When rolling with more experienced opponents, you are going to allow your back to be taken. Now instead of just trying to survive, escape and “win” the roll, you are going to pay attention. Really notice what your more experienced training partner is doing to control you. What grips are they using to prevent your escape? What do you feel from their hooks that is allowing them to stay connected to your back? How are they overcoming your defenses and getting the tap? What are they doing that makes you feel uncomfortable in the position?
After the roll ask your training partner what they were trying to do when you tried to escape? Why were they using a specific grip or being strong with a particular pressure? These details will be HUGE in your understanding of the back mount and you can add them to your own back game.
Apply these goal-oriented training ideas to a position in your own Jiu-Jitsu and level up your game in 2022!
Cash joined our Tiny Champions program a few months ago and has been working very hard to learn some awesome Jiu-Jitsu! He’s made awesome improvements and we can’t wait to see him get even better!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Happy birthday Prof. Marcelo!
Thank you for everything you have done for our team!
We hope you have an amazing day and look forward to having you on the mats soon!
Anderson has been training with us for a while, and is one of the most technical students that we have! His dedication and persistence recently laid off with his new brown belt!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Happy Mother's Day!
On behalf of the entire team at GB Sydney, we would like to wish all of the mums a very happy Mothers Day!
Prof Jack joined us 11 years ago when he was 15, and grew up with us. After many years of dedication and training, he was awarded his black belt by Prof Marcelo yesterday!
Congratulations Prof. Jack!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
“Jiu-Jitsu is training for life.”
One of the most important parts of the Gracie Barra school is the Little Champions Jiu-Jitsu programs.
Many parents are aware that martial arts training can help today’s children deal with many of the challenges they face – from bullying to lack of proper role models to sedentary lifestyle.
Gracie Barra Kids Jiu-jitsu classes are a great way for parents to help provide children with the tools (both physical and mental) that builds a healthy foundation for their personal growth.
Prof. Felipe Guedes says
“Remember that at this age the benefits that most parents are looking forward to providing to their kids are, coordination, balance, control, interacting with other kids, listening skills, responding to commands, eye contact, fun activity, exercising, etc.”
Jiu-Jitsu provides all of this and more. Here are 3 reasons children benefit from doing Jiu-Jitsu.
1- Anti-Bullying and self-confidence
The statistics on school bullying are sobering:
1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either a victim of bullying or the perpetrator of bullying.
90% of kids between the 4th and 8th grades report they are victims of bullying.
The National Education Association reports that more than 160,000 kids miss school every day because they are afraid they will be bullied.
Prof. Fabio Villela believes that developing Jiu-jitsu skills build up stronger self-confidence in young people.
“We as Jiu-jitsu instructors have the job to take them out of the comfort zone and every day makes them have a good challenge then kids can be proud of themselves.
Their parents will see their evolution inside and outside the mats.”
Children who are training Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra are building self-confidence which makes them less of a target for bullying and developing real self-defense skills that will protect them in any aggressive situation.
Prof. Fabio Villela adds “For sure self-confidence issues is the biggest problem for kids and this can develop speech and sociable problems. In Jiu-jitsu we always need to challenge ourselves training with somebody stronger, heavier, higher level and learn new techniques every day, whenever the kids find out they can do it their self-confidence will get stronger inside and outside the mats.”
2 – Working with others and developing key social skills
“I’ve been teaching martial arts for kids since 2008, to hundreds of families. And I’ve seeing Jiu-Jitsu helping their kids in so many ways!
Every child is different and we use Jiu-Jitsu to benefits each child the best way possible.
Some kids are on one side of the spectrum being very shy, for those the first benefits that the parents notice is the level of confidence becoming higher, they start to understand what they are capable of and not allowing anyone to take advantage of them and being comfortable on their own skin and even helping them to be more decisive and confident to make decisions.
Their abilities to interact socially with other kids improve so much, and they are not afraid anymore of looking others in the eyes when having a conversation and having to even speak in public.” says Prof. Felipe Guedes.
Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu is a structured environment where young people learn and practice crucial social skills like cooperation, working together as part of a team, and respect for other people. Lessons on having a good attitude are reinforced every class.
3 – Physical Activity – The statistics on the number of hours young people spend playing video games and their overall screen time in a day -at the expense of physical activity is alarming.
According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition:
Only 1 in 3 kids are physically active every day.
Kids now spend more than 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen (TV, computer, video games, etc.).
Source: GB ICP
The Gracie Barra children’s Jiu-Jitsu programs are a great way to get kids active in a fun, interactive, and SAFE physical activity under the supervision of qualified instructors.
GB asked Prof. Bryan Waltz from GB Colorado Springs – where he runs a successful GB Little Champions program – “Some parents may be concerned that jiu-jitsu carries the potential for injury. How does Gracie Barra ensure a “safety first” experience in the kid’s programs?”
Prof. Bryan: Kids come into class all the time with a cast on their arm or wrist! Haha. Where did they get this injury? It’s always the playground or falling out of trees or being careless at home. In all my years I have never had a serious injury in class. The injuries kids get at a Gracie Barra school are along the lines of a scraped knee or bumped nose, a few tears followed by laughter after a hug from mom or dad. Other sports like football, soccer, gymnastics, or cheerleading all carry more dangers in general than BJJ for kids in my opinion. Kids at Gracie Barra train under close adult supervision on the state of the art mats which keeps injuries at a minimum.”
“…you will be unbeatable, you are going to be a champion”
Prof. Ulpiano Malachias of Gracie Barra Westchase talks this week about mental focus, feeling nervous before competing, and the key to GB Team success.
GB: Can you share with the GB Online readers about the preparations weeks and months before getting ready to compete in a major tournament? What is the weekly training like?
Prof. Ulpiano: Three weeks before the competition, we try to push the pace hard. Try to do as many rounds as we can – like a competition. Our routine – usually we train every day for 2 hours of competition training. Followed by an hour and a half of physical conditioning training. We have a company called Fighter’s Choice to help us with the recovery and all of the supplements that we need.
GB: What is the difference between entering a BJJ tournament to have fun and gain experience and preparing to try to win a major competition at a high level?
Prof. Ulpiano: When you compete just for fun, you go to the tournament, you try your best, and whatever is the result, you go home happy. That was the idea of the code that Gracie Barra used for a long time. Winning or losing…you learn. It’s not such a matter of winner or loser. It’s when you have the mentality of gaining experience and just for fun.
When you want to compete at the highest level and you want to be a champion, first of all, you can not accept defeat. Losing is not even a contest. You can not think “if I lose”…this does not exist. So we try our best here when we get ready for a major tournament.
So for a major tournament, we believe in:
If you have focus, you are going to get all of this. You are going to get right there, you will be unbeatable, you are going to be a champion. That is the mentality that we have for a major tournament.
GB: Some competitors say that they learn as much from 1 competition as they do from 3 or 4 months of regular classes at the GB school. Why is this true? What can a student learn only by competing?
Prof. Ulpiano: Competition is not about who is the best. Competition is about who can put the strategy to work better? So this thing we say that you learn more in a competition than in 3 months of training -because for example if I go to a guillotine and I miss, and I give the guy 2 points and I can’t reverse him and I’m out.
It’s not that you learn any new techniques or positions, but you learn a better usage of your strategy. In competition action, it’s more than actually in training. Because in training if you tap or somebody passes your guard, it doesn’t really matter. But in a competition, you can’t have that happen.
GB: What would you say has been the key to your and your team’s competition success?
Prof. Ulpiano: I think the key for our team to succeed is the union, the brotherhood, and the spirit of a team. We are all training to improve the group. Our main focus here is not just one person, it is the group. I think this is what makes our group strong.
GB: What advice do you give to competitors who are dealing with nerves and stress before a competition?
Prof. Ulpiano: To experience the nerves is normal. If you don’t have the butterflies if you don’t have the nerves…if you are not asking yourself “what am I doing here?” …you are not in the right mindset. It’s normal to have nerves. But you have to be able to control them. When you shake the opponent’s hand and the referee says “combate!” you have to be able to put everything behind and focus on all of the training and hard work that you did for weeks leading to that tournament.
GB: Would you like to give a shout out to any sponsors, coaches, or training partners?
I would like to give a shout-out number 1 to Gracie Barra and Master Carlos Gracie Jr. and Prof. Draculino for always giving me the best guidelines in life to become a better person and a better competitor. And also, I would like to give a shout-out to all of my students here at Gracie Barra Westchase. They are the ones to motivate me and push me to get better every day.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.
Fin has been training with us for a long time! We've been lukcy to see him grow up on the mats, and is a great example to our other students!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
If you have been training jiu-jitsu for any length of time, you will recognize the considerable stresses that your body is subjected to. After all, what other art and sport have your best friends trying to choke you unconscious and bend your limbs to near the breaking point several times each week? All joking aside, jiu-jitsu is at once called the “gentle art” but at times is not quite so gentle on our bodies.
Jiu-jitsu addicts understand the passion for rolling with their friends and try to stay healthy and on the mats as much as possible. Some degree of sports injuries seem inevitable, but this can be mitigated by following a few practices to maintain and care for what I like to call your “machine”. Your samurai spirit might be strong and your desire to train may be great, but if we don’t take care of our machine, we aren’t going to be able to perform near our best and stay on the mat without injury interruptions.
Here are a few tips for Gracie Barra jiu-jitsu students to maintain their machines.
1- The right amount of training. If you are constantly aching, icing, and covered with so much athletic tape that you resemble a mummy from a horror movie, then you might be overtraining. In addition to feeling physically worn out, your mental state may also suffer negatively from training too often. The accumulation of small injuries is evidence that your body is subjected to too much stress to fully recover.
Now if you are training extra hard to prepare for a tournament, this wear and tear and aches and pains are part of the deal. But this must be balanced with recovery time in order to allow the body to heal and return to a normal state of functioning.
2- Allowing injuries to fully heal
If you have ever had one training partner who suffered some sort of training injury, only to show up to class limping and insisting that they are fine to resume training, you will understand this point. If you have sustained an injury that forced you off of the mats for a period of time, you must allow the body enough time to heal. If you try to jump back into training again too soon, what happens?
That’s right. You aggravate the injury and now it will be even longer before you can return to training. Uugghhh! You need to know when to take advice on when to stay off the mats for your own good.
3- Yoga and mobility work
Mobility may be defined as the ability to move our joints through their full range of motion. It’s a cliche, but that old adage “Use it or lose it” is true when it comes to our body’s joint mobility. Many long-time BJJ practitioners will swear by yoga (or another structured mobility program) for keeping their machines well greased and running smoothly.
We do some stretching as part of the Gracie Barra warmup, but if you are demanding a lot out of your body, you will want to regularly perform some mobility and flexibility work to ensure against joint pain.
4- Eat well. One of the main causes of joint pain for BJJ athletes is inflammation. And one of the best treatments for inflammation is eating a healthy diet – focused on natural foods that have not been processed and as close as possible to their natural state. Think a real chicken breast as opposed to chicken nuggets. They are NOT the same thing!
Now most of us know that we SHOULD be eating well. But if ask yourself “What did you eat today?”, you might be mildly embarrassed to admit your meal choice. I’m not going to give specific diet advice in this short article but simply reminding you that if you truly want peak performance and longevity, you are going to have to pay attention to your nutrition. Focus on real food, unprocessed and nutrient-dense.
5- Leave something in the tank
The hardcore mentality of “go hard or go home!” and “No pain…no gain!” is a mindset that unless you are pushing yourself to your limits, you are not training seriously.
MMA coach and BJJ black belt Firas Zahabi recommend lower intensity and training more often in a week than high intensity and fewer weekly sessions. Zahabi explains that over the course of a year, those extra hours of training at lower intensity add up and ultimately are more effective at improving our jiu-Jitsu. Leave something in the tank so you look forward to the next training session.
Happy birthday Prof. Eduardo!
Andrew, affectionately known as Foxy, has been a consistent training partner with us for years! After starting at GB St Peters as one of their first members, he moved to the Northern Beaches, and has kept training with us! Plus, he got his purple belt recently too! Congratulations Andrew!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
The traditional martial arts have long been associated with the character and spiritual development from far back to their origins in Japan and China.
Gracie Barra’s philosophy of the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle not only is focused on physical fitness through jiu-jitsu and eating well, but also on cultivating those positive character traits and behaviors.
We have interviewed many of GB’s most influential instructors and they all reflect on the positive mental benefits derived from the practice of Jiu-Jitsu. Here, from the GB Online Life Lessons with Master Carlos Gracie Jr., we examine some of the ideas on the importance of goals and discipline from the life experience of the founder of Gracie Barra.
The focus on Goals and Dreams
Many people can struggle without a sense of purpose. A directionless existence. Jiu-Jitsu provides a direction to focus our energies in a positive way. “I believe that two things make a person grow, and achieve whatever they want to achieve. The imagination, because you have to visualize, to dream about your goals, and you need to have willpower – that is what is going to help you get what you want.” The goals of skill improvement, overcoming fears, or even that next belt graduation are all ways in which training jiu-jitsu forms positive goals for students.
Discipline. The second point that Master Carlos Gracie Jr makes is about the practical need for self-discipline and willpower to follow through and make our goals come to reality.
“The willpower is fed by the discipline. Discipline is that toll you have that will make you do your everyday obligations and reach your goal.”
How do we develop more self-discipline through jiu-jitsu? It starts with your love for learning jiu-jitsu and our enthusiasm to improve.
“So I think… how am I going to have the discipline to achieve my dream?” asks Master Carlos. “First, because it’s something joyful. It makes me happy to think about it.”
He adds his philosophy about the importance of the Gracie Barra team in our motivation. “Secondly because I’m energized by the people surrounding me that also share the same dream. It’s a group that energizes each other. When one is a little tired and the other is full of energy, it helps to push everyone forward.”
“It would be different if our goal were something that didn’t bring us joy. The greatest advantage I see about how Gracie Barra works with discipline is that we create a standard of patronization in which people can just show up at the school whenever they want, train for as long as they want Because this is not enough.
Gracie Barra learned that putting the students to do specific things inside an organized education system makes the discipline much deeper and we’ll use that if the person trains however and whenever he or she wants.”
Goals + Discipline = A happier life full of accomplishments on and off the mats.
GB Sydney will be closed for the following days over the long weekend.
Friday 15th April
Saturday 16th April
Sunday 17th April
Monday 18th April
Classes will resume as normal on Tuesday 19th April!
We can't wait to have you back on the mats!
Chamonix has been training with us for years! After seeing her brother get started, she gave it a try herself, and was recently awarded with her blue belt! Congratulations Chamonix!
Make sure you say hi next time you see her!
A future GB student asks about preparing themselves to start doing the Fundamentals classes at Gracie Barra: “I really want to start BJJ but should I get myself into shape first?”
This is a thought shared by many apprehensive jiu-jitsu students. And we see this almost as often with lapsed students who have gotten out of training for one reason or another, saying “I want to spend a month working back into shape before I get back into class.” Unspoken, but most often there is the fear that they will get “rolled up” by former training partners that they used to dominate. This can be a significant ego deterrent to resuming training after a break.
The short answer is that while being physically fit is an asset in practicing jiu-jitsu, the best way to get fit for jiu-jitsu is…well…doing jiu-jitsu itself!
There are a few reasons why this is so true in the case of BJJ.
1- The idea of specificity of training. The best way to develop the specific physical attributes for any particular sport is to train the sport more. Jiu-jitsu requires a certain type of strength – different from that of a gym rat with impressive beach muscles. A competitive 10km runner may have an impressive degree of cardiovascular endurance, but would quickly tire in a roll. Simply the best way to condition your body for jiu-jitsu is just doing jiu-jitsu!
2- Fatigue largely depends on our ability to relax and breathe while moving dynamically. We see athletes from other sports try rolling in BJJ class and see them straining every muscle fiber in their bodies and holding their breath while exerting force inefficiently. No wonder they quickly gas out. A large part of having a “gas tank” in Bjj comes from feeling familiar performing certain movements like bridging or escaping our hips efficiently. We start to relax the muscles that we were unnecessarily tensing and move with much greater ease. This comes from repeating those jiu-jitsu specific movements in class.
3- Timing. This is the first thing to go when we cease training for a period. We forget. We react too slowly to our opponent’s moves and mess up the timing of our own movements. The result is that we quickly get behind in the match, are battling from inferior positions, and having to expend excessive effort to try to escape while our opponent relaxes, allows us to carry their body weight and rapid fatigue.
The only way to sharpen your timing is to get on the mat and roll.
Master Carlos Gracie Jr has a few thoughts for older GB students who want to get back into training at the GB School. Perhaps an adjustment in our expectations is in order.
“Most people who were kings want to be kings forever. But my friends, keep in mind that each one of us has our own era. People get older and have to work around new possibilities.“
“When we look at jiu-jitsu in the long term, we must take care of our physical body and adapt our mental approach to where we find ourselves in our physical capacity.”
Caio has been training for many years with us! After many years of training, he is progressing along his brown belt towards the next step on the journey!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
“I believe in the idea of a healthy body and a healthy mind.”
Today we are sharing an excerpt from the GB Online course Life Lessons with Master Carlos Gracie Jr. where the founder of Gracie Barra discusses different aspects of Jiu-Jitsu and life philosophy.
The body and spirit
” I believe in the idea of a healthy body and a healthy mind. ” The whole thing. I work for the whole,” says Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
“It doesn’t matter having one good part doing well if another part is broken. Because if that is the case, you will have to work twice as hard or half of what you should.
Following my spiritual beliefs, I think our body works as a temple for our spirit. We came into this world, our spirit came into this world in order to evolve. So it needs the body to be able to go through that. I believe that if I was supposed to carry some kind of disease I would have had it by now, so I could ‘pay’.
If I was born with a healthy body why wouldn’t I work and appreciate that body? So my spirit can improve peacefully and my body can enjoy the good things.”
Master Carlos goes on to share his thoughts on older Jiu-Jitsu practitioners giving up on our disciplines and having to change our expectations and approach.
“Sometimes I think people make excuses. They give up on their willpower because it’s too hard to keep being disciplined. I hear things like ‘my body is hurt, I can’t train well. But Jiu-Jitsu gives you many training options.
Of course, if you want to train the same way that you trained when you were younger and be competitive…your body will feel it. My body would feel it too. If I start to train in a way that requires a lot from my body, it would make me feel weakened. For that kind of training,.. but I could easily accept many other training options.
I just can’t fool myself. I might try to fool others, I might be fooling others, but I can’t fool myself. I’m worried about satisfying myself, not others.
Training to your own potential
I have my own potential. I had one before and I might have a different one now and another one in the future. This is life. It doesn’t matter who you once we’re. The problem is that people keep their minds on what they used to be, and refuse to accept life’s cycle. Remember that if someone is on top, he/she won’t be on top forever. He/she will fall. And when that happens, it’s almost like a new beginning. But the ego is not prepared for that.
Most people who were kings want to be kings forever. But my friends, keep in mind that each one of us has our own era. People get older and have to work around new possibilities.”
When we look at jiu-jitsu in the long term, we must take care of our physical body and adapt our mental approach to where we find ourselves in our physical capacity.
Join Prof. Marcelo for a very special GB2 class this Monday at 7pm!
Learn from a direct student of Master Carlos Gracie Jr!
Let’s start the week right with an awesome training session!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Larissa!
Such a great sport for our active 5 year old. It has given him a sense of pride, respect and he just loves going and having fun.
They teach a beautiful ethos and the perfect way to get all his extra energy out!
Cohen has recently joined us again after many years away! It is like he hasn’t forgotten a thing!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
This week, we will talk about the top 4 reasons that all Jiu-Jitsu students should compete at least once.
Many instructors at Gracie Barra are very passionate about competition and put a lot of effort and enthusiasm into building their GB Competition Team.
Not every Gracie Barra jiu-jitsu student has the goal of being an IBJJF World Champion, but there several solid reasons why students should consider entering an open tournament outside of their GB school.
1- To push yourself out of your comfort zone. You train with your favorite training partners at every class and are familiar and comfortable with each other’s games. It’s a great workout, but it’s an entirely different experience to test your skills in an adrenaline-filled situation under the bright lights and in front of a crowd!
For many students, this is going to require them to leave their comfort zone and open themselves to new experiences.
Prof. Flavio Almeida – himself a World Champion and more recently Masters competitor – talks about a competition being the impetus for leaving our comfort zones.
“First and foremost it has been my experience as a teacher for 20 years now, is that competition is an essential part of jiu-jitsu. Every jiu-jitsu practitioner – no matter the age, no matter the level – should engage in some sort of competition. In my definition of competition is to step outside of their comfort zone.”
2- To stretch your technical abilities to a whole new higher level. Getting ready for the competition will force you to sharpen your existing skills and even add a new technique or position to your game. The samurai would call this “sharpening your sword”. The more intense training to prepare for a tournament will force you to develop your technique to be at your absolute sharpest for your matches.
“Really, the number one reason, the priority, actually the purpose behind the competition is exactly to stretch our abilities to a new level. To continuously grow as a martial artist,” says Prof. Flavio.
3- “Learn more from 1 tournament than from 3 months of regular training”. Many instructors and competitors are adamant that the lessons learned from competing in one tournament are equivalent to several months of regular training. They feel that the competition experience more deeply drives these lessons more deeply into our minds. A mistake leading to a loss will echo in the mind for a long time afterward and a successful technique that won a match will be forever cemented in our games.
Why is it that the tournament setting is so conducive to learning? Prof. Flavio feels that in the heat of competition that we experience “a different level of consciousness. And we are very open to learning everything. Everything that there is to be learned.
Technically speaking – you just see things that you just wouldn’t see in any other conditions. It’s almost like your brain is on steroids for those few minutes of that fight.”
4- To work within your GB team and push each other together. As a member of the GB Competition team you will support your GB Teammates and in turn, be supported by your teammates in preparing for the event. You will be responsible to show up to every training session to sharpen each other and improve as a team.
Prof. Flavio echoes the idea of connecting as a team: “You are going to develop a level of emotional bond with your coaches and training partners, your brothers and sisters in arms that you never would have developed otherwise. That’s really what happens out there.”
Lucas has been smashing our Kids Classes, and was recently given his first stripe! What an awesome achievement for our Little Champion!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Gracie Barra’s Little Champions jiu-jitsu programs all over the world are run by experienced and passionate instructors who use jiu-jitsu as a vehicle to help shape the lives of young people in positive ways.
We asked several instructors to share their insights and first-hand experiences about the ways in which jiu-jitsu training benefits young Gracie Barra students.
Prof. Fabiana Borges in Arizona still finds time to train and compete at an international level while running her GB school and positively influencing the lives of the students in her kids’ classes.
Prof. Fabiana says “My philosophy is helping others to be more confident and believes in themselves. I believe that jiu-jitsu can help you be a better person, overcome your fears and obstacles. Also, it’s a great work out, you have fun while doing it and make lifetime friends. “
GB asked Prof. Fabio Villella:
What do you feel are the primary benefits for kids to be regularly attending jiu-jitsu classes?
Prof. Fabio Villela “The 1st biggest change usually is at school and inside their homes.
At school, they get better grades, don’t get in trouble, and be more respectful with teachers and friends.
At home, they listen more to their parents and are more respectful with siblings.
Prof. Felipe Guedes is especially passionate about the Gracie Barra anti-bullying program and has taught classes all over the USA and in many different countries.
Prof Felipe shares “Now for the other side of the spectrum, we see very physical and aggressive kids, learning how to control themselves, respect authority, and follow rules. They become more gentle with others and normally great leaders among their friends.
So, we work on finding the healthy balance between building them up or mellowing them down.”
Many parents see children participating in traditional martial arts as a great way for children to learn character development, respect for the Instructor and their fellow students.
Prof. Guedes says “Human beings are social creatures, and we all seek to fit or click with a group of people and have a sense of belonging. At Gracie Barra, everyone is treated the same, with respect, and into an environment of mutual support, where the primary mindset is how can we work together as a group to help each other to learn and improve technically and mentally. So the friendships that we build on the mats are strong and have a very special bond.”
Prof. Bryan Waltz of GB Colorado Springs believes that lessons learned in the Gracie Barra school translate to their lives outside of the mats “…I would add that kids learn the lesson that nothing of real value can be accomplished overnight. Discipline plus consistency is the key to accomplishing any great feat, isn’t it? Learning Jiu-Jitsu is a little like planting a tree sapling in your back yard. You can check its almost imperceptible growth from day to day but eventually, that sapling will have grown into a monster with bows capable of holding a tire swing. I’ve taught kids, class, for over a decade and have seen so many children begin their journey as quiet kids with all the goofiness of youth and slowly turn into confident young men and women who through the years have become absolute savages on the mats. They learn through time the value of hard work which is the key to so many of life’s endeavors.”
Parents must be mindful that it is important to have an environment where young people can push their capabilities without too much pressure which can discourage kids from wanting to continue.
Prof. Kendall Reusing shares her advice about young people in Jiu-Jitsu “My advice to not only any young GB competitors but also any parents out there is to make sure that the whole idea is to support the child out there and to have fun. Not only to win or achieve a certain goal.
Because winning and achieving a certain goal long-term can only happen when they’re having fun when they are having passion, when it’s coming from a place of heart and when they’re feeling good about what they’re doing. It may come short term from forcing it, but it won’t last. The best thing that we can do for our young GB competitors is to give them space, let them have fun, support them win or lose. Give them every piece that they need to have fun and success in their endeavor. Support them along the way with love and care.
Check out this amazing testimonial from Josh!
I've been training at Gracie Barra Sydney for the last 6 months and am absolutely loving it.
Super professional and friendly atmosphere with an incredible bunch of Professors and members.
Highly recommend this club to anyone wanting to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Stephen has joined us this year and has been an amazing student so far! It is incredible to see him smash out these GB1 classes!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
We would like to thank all the women who contribute to make Gracie Barra a welcoming community.
We believe that Jiu Jitsu is for Everyone and your presence teaching, training or supporting your loved ones on the mats honour our vision!
Known as JonJon, he has got involved straight away and loves Jiu-Jitsu! He is always smiling, give everything in the classes, and helping others to improve!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Prof. Stefano!
My experience with Gracie Barra i would say has been a long journey where you learn obviously the gentle Martial Art but also a personal growth.
You make friends for life to share techniques on the mat and also outside the school.
Everyone feels always welcome no matter the belt that you are or how long you have been training, on the mat we are all the same!
Fernanda recently joined us from GB Bondi, but has been visiting us for much longer than that! She is one of the amazing women that make up our incredible Women's team!
Make sure you say hi next time you see her!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Aaron!
The benefits that my son have gained have been well beyond the mat.
I cannot believe the affect that GB Sydney has had on my son.
His ability to listen and learn, respect others, have patience, resilience, and empathy are just some of the many qualities that have been instilled by the Coaches and Professors.
We feel home when we are there and part of an amazing community.
Thank you GB Sydney.
Our Tiny Champion is one of the friendliest children we've ever met, and is always keen to learn and help out our other students! We can't wait to see how much he grows this year!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
When it comes to competition jiu-jitsu, BY FAR the most common question we hear from Gracie Barra students is about dealing with the stress and nervousness in the weeks, days, and especially right before their matches.
“I feel very nervous before a tournament. How can I deal with the nerves?” a GB competitor writes in and asks.
We asked this very question to several high-level Gracie Barra competitors and coaches and their shared their tips on dealing with precompetition jitters.
Professor Draculino says “Competition is fundamental for athletics in general, and this is also very true for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Competition is an important component of the Gracie Barra community.
It drives athletes to strive for goals, reach for new heights, and pursue athletic goals on a different plane from the non-competing JJ students.”
GB: A common question many beginner students have about competition is feeling very nervous before the tournament.
What advice do you have to help with pre-competition stress?
Prof. Draculino: It is very common for beginners. I would say no matter what, that they are going to be nervous in any combat sport, competition will bring the butterflies.
It happens to all of us. Even after all of these years I still have it before competitions.
It is normal.
It is something that some people are addicted to, to be honest.
It is something that is always going to happen but you have to control it.
After all of these years, I have found out that it is inevitable that you will feel that.
It is very rare to see somebody going there without any kind of nervousness or being anxious. They always going to be.
I think that it is better to try to take your mind off of the task in times that you don’t need to be 100% focused.
You don’t need to be thinking about this thing 24 / 7 because then it drains you.
Try to get something that brings you pleasure and takes your attention out of the mission.
Then at the time of the competition, at the time that you make weight, at the time of the warmup then you focus 100%.
I think that a lack of focus is as bad as too much focus.
I try to watch a movie, have some friends that laugh, play video games or just play with my dogs.
Something to take my mind off of the task.
Prof. Andre Almeida loves to compete in national-level events and shared his thoughts on dealing with pre-competition nerves:
GB: Can you give some advice to Gracie Barra students who like to compete?
Many students deal with stress before the competition and ask for advice on how to overcome the nerves.
What was the most helpful advice that either of your brothers Ricardo or Flavio told you about competing?
Prof. Andre Almeida: You will always feel nervous, it’s not a friendly game, it’s fighting, you will feel stressed.
What can help is to start on smaller tournaments to get used to the nerves, start getting used to the tension, and then go climbing up the ladder little by little.
The best advice that I have gotten from my brothers was really simple, give your best and then you will be comfortable by knowing that you did all you could do.
They always supported me 100% and gave me all the tools necessary for me to perform at my highest level.
We asked GB Ambassador and GB competitor Lucas Norat if he had any training tips for GB competitors?
Lucas Norat: I think the way you compete is a result of your everyday habits. So in order to feel good competing, you need to check your actions on a daily basis: if you’re doing your best every practice; if you’re training your mind every day with positive thoughts and attitudes; if you’re focusing only on the things that you can control instead of the ones that are out of your control. If you do these things every day, when it gets to the tournament day it will be just another day. You will always get nervous before any competition, but with time, experience, and doing these things you will be able to control these feelings and adrenaline before the matches.
Brazilian Prof. Isaac Dull is a multiple gold medal winner in IBJJF competition as well as an active MMA fighter
GB: What advice do you have for Gracie Barra students who want to compete in jiu-jitsu tournaments? Many feel nervous before the matches. What is your mental attitude before a Championship match?
Prof. Dull: My advice is: don’t be afraid to lose, it happens. Don’t worry about win or lose! The magic happens when you leave your comfort zone. My mental attitude is to clean my mind, just be grateful to God because I am healthy, be impassible. Hoka hey, today is a good day to die.
Prof. Ulpiano Malachias has a fierce competitive streak and shares his advice.
Matheus has been training with us for years, and is one of the members of our Kids Competition Team! He is a regular in all of our classes, and we can't wait to see his development in 2022!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
One of the central philosophies behind the training at the Gracie Barra school is that the jiu-jitsu student can experience personal development along with their skills in arm locking and chokes.
That the hard work and challenges on the mats build positive aspects of our personalities that carry over into other areas of our lives outside the Gracie Barra school.
Perhaps the area where this is felt most profoundly is in the children’s classes. For a long time, parents have seen training in the martial arts as a way for timid, unsure young people to develop the qualities of self-discipline, respect, cooperation with others, and self-confidence. Interviews with Gracie Barra instructors tell stories of young people who initially entered the Little Champions program withdrawn and extremely shy and watching the young person blossom and open up as they started to experience success in learning their techniques and gained confidence in their growing abilities.
More than anywhere, the confidence acquired by young people in jiu-jitsu can help them deal with a disturbing cultural trend – the prevalence of bullying among young people. It is an extremely stressful reality for many young people that they deal with various forms of bullying from their peers. Jiu-jitsu not only gives young people the physical skills to deal with physical intimidation but the self-confidence that not only makes them less of a target to schoolyard bullies. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure goes the old saying.
What about adults who are less likely to experience this form of personal interaction in their normal, day-to-day lives? There are in fact stressful encounters where our confidence does play a role in our ability to successfully navigate these human interactions.
I would like to share the following quote from a book on coaching and training martial arts by Prof. John Kavanagh – perhaps best known as the coach of MMA superstar Conor McGregor.
“That ended up giving me confidence for a lot of things in life – negotiating a lease with an intimidating landlord, for example. That’s something that would have been daunting for me before. When you have confidence in the physical side of things, you become more confident in the non-physical. You become confident that if it did happen to escalate into a fight, you could handle it.”
In this way, our experiences confronting fears and overcoming challenges (even if those fears are private and entirely in our own heads) in our jiu-jitsu training can build a form of self-confidence that we can, in turn, apply to the other areas of our lives.
Many Gracie Barra professors I’ve interviewed have spoken of the idea of “learning to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations” as a key part of jiu-jitsu. As we are repeatedly subjected to stressful and uncomfortable situations (like that purple belt gaining amount on top of us in rolling) we learn to relax, breath deeply, and assess our best options in a difficult position. So it is in other stressful areas of life. We develop an ability to calm ourselves and think clearly about what is our best option.
Prof. Jefferson Moura puts it this way: “Your training opponent is like life, you need to use the Jiu-jitsu philosophy in your day to have respect, discipline, healthy habits, know when to breathe, wait for a good opportunity, use an extra movement, withstand the pressure until it passes and even when life takes you down, you know you can start again and do better, knowing the right time to be there to attack and if you reach a submission to emerge victoriously.
Anyone who understands this will be prepared for life’s challenges.“
Check out this amazing testimonial from Dymtro!
Our 7-year old son has been learning Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra Sydney for more than two years now.
It's been great to see his Jiujitsu and self-defence skills developed, but most importantly to observe him becoming self-confident, more disciplined and goal-oriented.
Great coaches and excellent place for kids to learn these important skills.
Prof. Jo, otherwise known as Professor Mum, has been one of the most consistent students we have ever had. Every week, four times a week, she is always on the mats sharing.
She was also the first female Gracie Barra black belt in Oceania!
Recently, a parent that knows I teach jiu-jitsu messaged me and asked “How old should a boy/girl be to start BJJ?”
Their son was already involved in swimming and the father – himself a Karate black belt – was looking to get his son involved in learning Jiu-Jitsu.
This is a common question from parents who recognize the value that training jiu-jitsu can bring to young people but are unsure if their child is physically and mentally ready to begin Gracie Barra kids Jiu-Jitsu classes.
Professor Fabio Villela and Professor Felipe Guedes are especially passionate about their school’s Little Champions programs and shared their knowledge and experience in running successful children’s jiu-jitsu classes.
First of all, the children’s classes at Gracie Barra are separated by age.
“While for adults the defining criteria for class separation are students’ level, with children it is age, then level. In other words, at Gracie Barra, we first separate students by age, then by level.
The reasons behind this are as follows: The difference in learning needs for children of different ages is more prevalent than between children with different levels of experience; It is easier to accommodate children from different levels but similar ages than children with same level but different ages.” ICP5
Now to answer the question: “At what age should my child start training jiu-jitsu?”
Prof. Fabio Villela: “We have our Tiny champs class is for kids potty train, as soon they get off diapers!”
Prof. Felipe Guedes: “Most of the Gracie Barra Schools are open for 3 years old to start training Jiu-Jitsu, at a class that is for 3 to 4 years old. Every child is different, and they are all welcome to come and try it, at that age 6 months is a big difference, so if the child is not ready the parents just need to try again in a few months.
But generally, at 3 years old, the child does not wear diapers anymore and can communicate with others.
Remember that at this age the benefits that most parents are looking forward to providing to their kids are, coordination, balance, control, interacting with other kids, listening skills, responding to commands, eye contact, fun activity, exercising, etc. Also, have in mind that kids don’t have to be “good” to come to Jiu-jitsu, they come to Jiu-Jitsu so they become “good”.”
** “Tiny Champs – 30 minutes
Little Champs 1 & 2 – 50 minutes
Juniors, Teens, and Advanced – 60 minutes ICP5
* “It is unsafe to teach submission to children under five years old.” PCI5
Prof. Felipe goes on to explain the multiple benefits of training jiu-jitsu for young people.
GB: Many parents are aware that enrolling their children in a martial arts program can help instill confidence, discipline, cooperation with others and respect in young people. What do you feel are the primary benefits for kids to be regularly attending jiu-jitsu classes?
Prof. Felipe Guedes: “I’ve been teaching martial arts for kids since 2008, to hundreds of families. And I’ve seeing Jiu-jitsu helping their kids in so many ways! Every child is different and we use Jiu-Jitsu to benefits each child in the best way possible. Some kids are on one side of the spectrum being very shy, for those the first benefits that the parents notice is the level of confidence becoming higher, they start to understand what they are capable of and not allowing anyone to take advantage of them and being comfortable on their own skin and even helping them to be more decisive and confident to make decisions.
Their abilities to interact socially with other kids improve so much, and they are not afraid anymore of looking others in the eyes when having a conversation and having to even speak in public.
Now for the other side of the spectrum, we see very physical and aggressive kids, learning how to control themselves, respect authority, and follow rules. They become more gentle with others and normally great leaders among their friends. So, we work on finding the healthy balance between building them up or mellowing them down.”
Prof. Felipe Guedes: “Fortunately many!
And it varies a lot from age to age, the specifics of the feedback we hear from the parents are different when is a 4 years old or a teenager.
– better confidence
– following commands
– healthier lifestyle by exercising and choosing a healthier diet
– better behavior at home and at school
– better attention span
– leadership skills
– learning how to lose and how to share
– helping with chores and sleeping on their own bed
– better grades
– not afraid of taking risks
– respecting others, and even saying no to drugs for the teenagers!”
Refer a friend or family member at any time, and if they sign up, we'll pay for 2 weeks of your training!
This is the moment you've been waiting for to share your passion for Jiu-Jitsu with those closest to you! The greatest compliment our students can give us it he referral of their friends and loved ones!
Plus, with this unique program, the more friends you refer, the more you get rewarded!
So what are you waiting for! Talk to the team at reception for more information on how you can benefit!
Felipe has been training with us since 2012, and has developed into one of the toughest guard passers in the school! After a lot of training and dedication, he was recently awarded his brown belt by Prof. Marcelo.
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Chayne!
My boy has been training at the school since he was 3 years old.
The Professors and Coaches are very good with the kids.
The training is about respect, learning and fun!
Our Little Champion Rhys has been an incredibly dedicated student.
He has taken to training like a duck to water, and recently got his new Grey/White belt!
At the end of the year of training at Gracie Barra, many of you reading this post will have enjoyed a new stripe or even a new colored belt at your GB schools end of year team photos and graduation ceremony. And for that, we say “Way to go!” Your hard work, discipline, and dedication have paid off.
With the new year approaching, we can also devote some time to thinking about setting some new goals for the upcoming year in jiu-jitsu.
Setting goals is a key part of achievement in any area of life. Most of us want to improve our skills in jiu-jitsu and setting goals is a very big factor in our motivation. Having a firm, clear goal in mind provides a focus for every single training session in the next year. Setting personal goals helps us establish those small disciplines that shape us over time and ultimately end up reaching heights higher than ever before.
Setting goals should push us to be better. To force us out of our comfort zone. To realize our potential as students of jiu-jitsu and as human beings.
We would like to share some ideas on specific goals that you may think about setting in your own jiu-jitsu.
1- Enter a competition
There is nothing quite like signing up to compete in a tournament to fire up your training efforts. In fact, setting this goal will automatically cause us to set numerous smaller goals (ex. cleaning up your diet in order to compete on weight) which will push us further than before.
For first-time competitors, this will certainly push you out of your comfort zone and expose you to a whole other side of training jiu-jitsu.
2- Reduce your body weight to enter a different weight class
For many bjj students, one of the main reasons that they train is as a part of their overall fitness regimen. And for many, controlling or reducing body fat is a really important aspect of their fitness.
Many of the highest level competitors in both bjj and MMA display very defined muscular physiques with low levels of excess body fat. This is mostly because making a specific weight class forces them to pay careful attention to their nutritional intake.
3- Correct a weakness in your game
Not everyone who goes to your Gracie Barra school is interested in competition, but everyone has a weak spot or two in their game.
A worthy goal that will make a definite positive difference in your jiu-jitsu is committing yourself to correct a weakness like standing up, passing the guard, or finishing from the back. It will require a focused effort to bring these areas up to the level of your other positions. This is going to mean a lot of extra drilling repetitions and study of the position.
Put your strongest game on the back burner temporarily and really develop tunnel vision towards shoring up those weaker areas for a month or two.
4- Develop a new position
When students say that they feel that they have gotten in a bit of a rut, I recommend that they look at learning s new position for a month or so.
For example, let’s say that you’ve always been interested in Outside Hook Guard (De la Riva) but never really spent much time on it before.
Enroll a partner to do supplementary drilling and positional sparring to increase your training minutes in that specific position. Study some videos on GB Online to extend your knowledge of the position. You will expand your overall game and inject some new enthusiasm into your training week.
5- Aim for that next belt
I know some people are dismissive of belts saying that it is the knowledge that counts and that they would be happy to wear a white belt forever. That’s all fine but there is nothing wrong with achievement-oriented students being focused on their next level of achievement.
Being within reaching distance of your next promotion is a great way to inspire you to show up to class 3+ times per week and put in the work on all of those little things that will lift your level higher than ever before.
Here is wishing all you Gracie Barra students all over the world the best for the new year and another chance to work on your jiu-jitsu goals!
We’ve seen a number of brand new students posting on the GB Online Community board and this article is written with them in mind.
Starting your training at a Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu school is an exciting time for new students. Every class seems to bring a new technique that provides an answer to a problem that you have been having. You are meeting a lot of cool, positive people and are getting in better physical condition.
Every Gracie Barra school has a list of guidelines for how the school is run that serves to create the GB school culture and ensure the best possible and safest experience for everyone.
There are, however, a number of unwritten rules in every jiu-jitsu school that is also very important to a smooth running BJJ class. Here are a few random tips that you may not find posted on the wall of the school, but nevertheless are important to know.
1- What is the number 1 “no-no” in the jiu-jitsu class if you polled a group of BJJ students?
By far the #1 answer is the unpopularity of the “smelly gi guy”. The student who did not wash their kimono after the previous training session and malodorous bacteria have multiplied giving the gi a pronounced and pungent aroma. Oftentimes the student themselves can not detect the foul odor…but their partner sure can!
Since jiu-jitsu is such a close contact activity, it’s impossible to avoid the discomfort if one of the training partners has a stinky gi. It is your responsibility to make certain that you have a clean, freshly washed kimono and rash guard for each class. For practical reasons, you should have a minimum of 2 gi’s so that if you haven’t had time to do laundry, you have an extra, clean gi available.
Don’t be the “smelly gi guy”!
2- Tap if you are caught in a submission.
This one seems obvious but all too often, there is a lesser experienced student who tries to tough out being caught in a Kimura or straight foot lock and….”aarrgghh!”…they end up with a painfully strained tendon and joint. This has happened to nearly all of us jiu-jitsu students at some time or another and you learn that it is a good idea to tap sooner rather than later. A sore elbow can keep you off the mat for several classes and serves as a reminder that you are not superhuman.
Moreover, your training partners don’t want to roll with someone who refuses to tap like it’s the finals of the World Championships. No one wants to be responsible for hurting another classmate during regular training. It is your responsibility to know your physical limits and simply tap when you get caught in a position from which you can not escape.
No one wants to get trapped during a roll. But over the years of your training jiu-jitsu, recognize that you will tap hundreds of times. It’s no big deal. It’s just training and tapping is a normal part of it. Tapping doesn’t mean that you “lost” or that you aren’t any good. It just means that your training partner executed a technique well and caught you. Tap early, retie your belt, bump fists and try again!
3- Who tapped who? It is considered bad etiquette to talk about who tapped who during training.
Because it is only training. It’s not a competition (you will get your chance to compete at a tournament soon enough if you are aching to compete). During training, we try new positions that we aren’t good at and often fail. We try to correct weaknesses in our games and lose position and can get tapped.
But it’s part of good training to experiment and try different things. That purple belt who you saw tapping to the blue belt may have been trying to add a new technique to his/her game and it didn’t work that time. Instead of sticking with only their strengths, they opened up their game to try to get better.
Too much gossip about who beat who can create ill feelings among classmates and have the undesired effect of making students NOT want to try new things in rolling for fear that other students will see them having to tap.
Remember…it’s just training and the primary purpose is not to treat it as an in-class competition, but instead to have fun and learn.
Prof. Larry started training with us way back in 2012! He has been a constant presence in our classes, and is always keen to give some advice to put everyone on the right path. After over 9 years of training, he received is black belt last December!
What does this mean for the average Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu student?
The primary philosophy contained in this short but profound sentence is about how we should look at the tapping or match losses that are part of the journey of jiu-jitsu.
All of us at one time or another – especially when you first start training and everyone knows more than you – experience periods where we are getting tapped and dominated by our training partners. And the feeling is even more acute after a loss in a competition match.
Self-doubt and discouragement enter into our thinking and can make us privately think that we have failed in our jiu-jitsu. That we aren’t getting any better. That everyone else is better than we are. That we feel like quitting training out of pure discouragement. These are private thoughts that most of us have from time to time.
However, as Grandmaster Carlos Gracie Sr. suggests, we can shift our perspective and look at “losing” or getting tapped as a natural part of our department in jiu-jitsu. EVERYONE who has trained jiu-jitsu has rolled with practitioners of a higher level and gotten humbled. And if it is not happening to you in your training, you need to challenge yourself more!
In fact, high-level combat sports athletes will proactively seek out training rooms where they will get tapped. They will move locations (often to a larger city) to a school or gym with a number of high-level training partners to push them beyond what they have so far experienced. Because they know that you are only as good as the people that you are rolling with.
Most of us have heard the biblical quote: Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another”. We NEED those training partners who will push us further than we ever could have gone in a more comfortable environment. And in Jiu-Jitsu that means tapping a whole lot.
Looking at tapping in training as “losing” is a negative and self-defeating way of looking at an inevitable part of rolling.
Because it interferes with the most important objective that we want out of rolling – to improve our jiu-jitsu!
When we are afraid of tapping it stunts our growth. We tighten up in rolling for fear that if we try something new, we might very well fail and end up getting tapped. Thus, our experimentation and exploration of different positions are limited. And our growth is stifled.
For example, let’s say you learned Single Leg X-guard this week in class. You like the position and feel like it’s a good fit for your game. But when you try to work it in live rolling you get smashed and tapped several times. It is very easy to get frustrated and say ‘to heck with this!’ and go back to your comfort zone. Of course, whenever you try new moves you will mostly be unsuccessful at first. After trial and error, you will refine your technique and it will start to work.
But you need to “lose” before you can get good at that position and “win”. And this is hard on our ego. No one WANTS to go to class and get repeatedly tapped. But if we accept that the error part of trial and error is an indispensable part of training, these failures are much easier to take.
Look instead at your taps in training as experiments to see what works – and as importantly – does NOT work as central to the learning process.
How many times have you heard an interview with a professional athlete looking back at a tough loss say “In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened to me”? They say that because it identified an area of their skills that needed improvement. The loss also provided a powerful form of motivation. They promise themselves that they will NEVER be caught unprepared again.
So when you are the proverbial nail instead of the hammer, try to heed the advice of Grandmaster Carlos and look at it as a natural part of your learning journey.
Try new positions. Get tapped. Learn from your mistakes and try again. Grow in your jiu-jitsu.
Check out this amazing testimonial from Peter!
My kids have been attending GB for just over a year, with myself starting middle of this year.
The team and members are super friendly and welcoming of all new joiners and all three of us have enjoyed training here.
I have been involved in various martial arts clubs over the years however this one is leaps and bounds above the others, both inclusive and family friendly.
Highly recommend coming down with the kids for an intro class and join the family.
Aruzhan is one of our newest members, and has been getting stuck straight into our kids classes!
We can't wait to see Aruzhan's developments in 2022!
GB Sydney will be closed for the following days over the Christmas period.
🔺 Friday 24th December
🔺 Saturday 25th December
🔺 Sunday 26th December
🔺 Monday 27th December
🔺 Tuesday 28th December
🔺 Friday 31st December
🔺 Saturday 1st January
🔺 Sunday 2nd January
🔺 Monday 3rd January
We will be open as normal on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th of December.
Normal classes will resume on Tuesday 4th January 2022.
Not sure what to get someone for Christmas?
There is no better than a GB Sydney gift card!
You can put it towards memberships, uniforms, private classes and whole load of apparel!
Contact the team to get yours now!
Dylan has been training with us for years, and has been one of the most consistent students in the school! He has also tested himself in competitions and started to see a lot of success too! We can't wait to see him develop into an amazing person in the future!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Cris!
I've bene training at GB Sydney for about two years and I love it!
The coaches and Professors are highly qualified. The training room has a very friendly and welcoming vibe.
On a sparring night, we are fortunate to train with a variety of belt ranks, and everyone is happy to help you life your game providing many helpful tips!
The facilities are spotless and it feels safe to train!
I would recommend GB Sydney 100%.
There has never been a better time to get together!
Our Christmas BBQ is the perfect opportunity to get to know your GB Sydney teammates off the mats, and share some awesome memories!
Our Brazilian BBQ will have:
- Rump Cap
- Marinaded Chicken
- Chicken Hearts
- Brazilian Sausages
- Garlic Bread
- Pineapple with cinnamon
Don't worry, we also have a vegetarian option available for you too, including:
- Vegan Sausages
- Mushrooms with Gorgonzola
- Pineapple with Red Onion
- Potatoes and Red Onion
- Capsicum with Cheese
Please feel free to bring your own drinks!
Register by filling out the form below!
5 years in a row!
Congratulations to our Gracie Barra team for placing 1st in the Academy Rankings for the 2020-2021 season!
Lucas joined us earlier this year, and has already become a massive Jiu-Jitsu fan! His Jiu-Jitsu has improved so much so quickly, and we can't wait to see him develop further!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Natasha!
Gracie Barra Sydney offer consistently professional coaching.
Their Professors are all very well trained and dedicated to their sport. They instill a sense of family that spills over to their member so that everyone is competitive but looking out for their training partner's safety.
With almost 4 years training with GB Sydney as a family of four, we feel very welcome.
We have also trained at many other GB schools around Australia and across the world and find this professionalism, consistency and warm welcome wherever we have been.
Cindy has been training at GB Pymble for a while, and transferred over to us in October. Ever since, she has been a constant presence, never afraid to get stuck in, and always keen to show techniques and learn from everyone else!
Congratulations to our GB Team on the amazing achievement!
Over the weekend, we managed to become Team Champions at the IBJJF World Masters Championship!
Thank you to everyone for your support!
Scott joined the team before lockdown, and is a mainstay in our lunchtime classes! He's been training hard after we've come back and recently took the next step in his Jiu-Jitsu journey with his 2nd stripe! Congratulations Scott!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Royce!
It's an awesome place to train, with an excellent family atmosphere, quality technical advice and a commitment to excellence in training, and relationships with others!
Sam has just transferred from GB Pymble to us at GB Oceania HQ. He's dived straight in to become an awesome part of the team, and we can't wait to see him smash all of his goals!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Commonly known as "Street Jesus", Henry joined us at the start of 2021. He has constantly spoken about the power Jiu-Jitsu has had in improving his life, and loves being on the mats. He is the person that brings a unique energy to GB Sydney, and we can't wait to see his development!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Join Prof. Marcelo for a very special GB1 class this Friday!
Learn from a direct student of Master Carlos Gracie Jr, and why the fundamentals are so important!
Bookings are essential! Save your spot, or speak to the team at reception!
Kai has been one of our newer members. While he started out quite shy, and didn't want to get on the mats, he has flourished into an enthusiastic and excited child!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
After joining us in 2020, Sam has been studying a lot of areas to improve quickly! Not only that, but he has been a great asset to our newer students, helping them settle in, and is always a friendly face around the gym!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Leonardo and Melody have been training with us for a few years, and its been amazing to see how much they have grown up! Not only has their Jiu-Jitsu improved, but its been incredible to see them growing up on the mats!
Make sure you say hi next time you see them!
Zoe joined us a few months ago, and got stuck straight into the classes! She's become an amazing energy around the gym, and we can't wait to see her progression when we get back to Jiu-Jitsu
Check out this amazing testimonial from Bea!
We are part of the Gracie Barra Family for over a decade now, the environment is very friendly and professional and you will give your kids(or yourself) a chance not only to learn the art of Brazilian JiuJitsu, but also more than a few life lessons along the way.
The motto of the Gracie Barra school is “Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone “ and they do stand by their word. JiuJitsu made my kids more resilient, self confident and they also built friendships for life. Gracie Barra Sydney is an amazing school and I highly recommend.
We hope everyone enjoys the time off.
We will be running our online schedule for the rest of the week.
We can all agree, Arthur is one of the most engaging students that we've had in our Kids Program! He is always willing to talk, help and make students feel more welcome!
Make sure you say hi next time you see him!
Kai has been growing up with the team at GB Sydney! Since joining us, Kai has progressed through the belts and classes to become a leader for our GB Kids. We can't wait to see how much Kai improves once we come back from lockdown!
900 SCHOOLS WORLDWIDE!
Congratulations to everyone who has made this a reality!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Andre!
I have been training Jiu-Jitsu for 5 years in Brazil before I moved to Australia, and Gracie Barra Sydney made me feel like I was at home.
Very welcoming staff, amazing technical level, fantastic kids program!
I've been to schools in Brazil and Canada, and GB Sydney is hands down the best Jiu-Jitsu school in the world!
Alex has been one of the most consistent students since he joined the GB Sydney team! Since he joined us, he has been actively involved with all the Gi classes, and has even started the No-Gi classes
Make sure you say hi next time you see Alex!
Ava has been training with us for over a year, and has been one of the most charismatic members of our Kids Program!
She is always willing to give other students some help, and is never shy of getting involved
👊 Check out the kids highlights 👊
We can't wait to have you all back on the mats with us!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Saori!
It’s been the best decision to join Gracie Barra!
Not only do I go there to get a workout but to see and socialise with the beautiful community the team and created there.
If your looking to try something new, challenging and create new connection look no further than GB Sydney!
Jason has been training with us for many years, and has had his entire family come through GB Sydney at one stage. He's dedication and persistence have seen him become an inspiration at GB Sydney!
Samson has been training with us for a few years, and progressed to the our Kids Competition Team! He is one of our most dedicated students and competitors, and is always there as a helping hand to our students!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Prof Felipe Guedes!
I have a chance to travel all over the world and train in many GB Schools.
Gracie Barra Sydney with Prof. Marcelo and his team is top notch.
What an incredible welcoming and positive atmosphere, for kids and adults and at the same time incredibly technical training sessions.
I definitely got my body, mind and heart worked here!
Suthi started training with us earlier this year, after her partner Clint encouraged her to get involved! Once she started, she's been hooked ever since!
Check out this amazing testimonial from Prof Eduardo!
Gracie Barra Sydney is a great place.
The structure of the school, the programs they offer to us, the staff members, the students, they’re all amazing.
I strongly believe it makes a lot of difference when a new student come and see this amazing structure.
Definitely it becomes my home, and they become my family. I recommend it to all my friends!
This week, our member is our Little Champion Tim!
Tim joined us last year and immediately got involved nearly every day. Tim will be training nearly every day with us, and has developed so quickly in our Tiny Champions, and Little Champions 1 programs!
Make sure you say hi next time you see them!
Don't wait! This is only available to the first 35 students!
We can't wait to see everyone take to the mats and represent the Red Shield!
Talk to the team at reception for more information about the competition!
"Something that teaches my son discipline, respect, and self-defense. And once he got into it, I wanted to learn with him and now I love it, It's like physical chess!" 🔺
Strong, powerful, empowered.
GB Sydney received a question from a new student starting Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 52 years old. The student had a background in athletics – including competitive triathlon – and was very excited after being introduced to Jiu-Jitsu.
They asked a few questions about more mature (over 40 years of age) beginning and staying with Jiu-Jitsu.ㅤ
“…can I survive long enough to become a black belt by (likely age 62)? And what should my goal be to survive that long? (I didn’t think I had aged much until this past week…)”
Great questions and in fact, very common thoughts among our over 40 Gracie Barra students.
Q. “…can I survive long enough to become a black belt by (likely age 62)?”
GB: Earning a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu is a long process with many ups and downs. Forget the young phenoms who train full time and graduate to black belt in 3 or 4 years. The typical black belt you meet will have been training upwards of 10 years.
Even very fit younger guys feel overwhelmed when they start bjj. It is just a whole different world on the ground. The Gracie Barra professor who I trained to black belt under had the philosophy that any of the students can be a black belt. Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone. Becoming a black belt was not only the providence of young, talented competitors. It was more a matter of being consistent over the long haul and So, yes…the over 40 beginners can one day acquire the skills to wear the black belt.
Q. “…what should my goal be to survive that long?”
GB: As an over 50 athlete, your approach needs to be a little different than the 23-year-old competitors who have faster metabolisms as well as the ability to recover quickly from those inevitable training injuries.
Here are some practical tips for over 40 Gracie Barra students.
1 – Pick your training partners carefully. After age 40 your capacity to recover from hard training and injuries is diminished. An injury will set you back and keep you off of the mats. Roll with students who have the same goals as you do and avoid students that you find spazzy (which you probably are at the beginning). Your #1 goal is to stay healthy enough to train consistently
Prof. Carlos Lemos shares some great advice:
“My advice for anybody training Jiu-Jitsu is something that I always tell my students: please remember… CONSISTENCY over intensity. Intensity is going to ruin you, going to destroy you.
You can not squeeze too hard essentially. It’s subtle pressure. That is what chokes people out. If you squeeze too hard you will burn your grips. You burn out your hands. You can’t really win.
The mindset that you have when you are squeezing a choke is the same mindset that you should have with your training. Consistent. Not intense!”
2 – Train with the purpose to learn (not “win” the roll) and leave enough in the tank to be able to come back again next class. Leave the “go hard or go home!” to the young meatheads. A lot of students get frustrated when they think their progress “should be” faster than it is. Just show up and try to absorb something from each session.
3 – Find a way to have fun. Training should not be a deadly serious business with your ego at stake in every class. The only way you will stick with it is if you love the day to day process. It takes a LONG time to even get to purple belt. You need to find a way to have fun drilling and rolling without getting discouraged or burning out.
Getting a few solid, regular training partners will be invaluable and you can support each other through the inevitable ups and downs.
Check out the benefits of joining the team at Gracie Barra Sydney!
- Learn the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- Increase focus, energy and concentration
- Enjoy significant gains in your overall fitness level
- Learn the GB Self-Defense System
- Become part of the GB Family
- Increase self-confidence
- Train in over 30 different locations in Australia and over 800 worldwide
- Free access to the school’s events and special classes
I have been asked by students “Once you are a black belt, is it necessary to continue to try to learn about Jiu-Jitsu?” The underlying assumption behind this question is: Don’t you know everything about Jiu-Jitsu by the time you graduate to your black belt?
I am currently renewing my Gracie Barra instructor’s certification course ICP which features short video interviews with many Gracie Barra professors from all over the globe. One of the common themes expressed by black belt professors with over 20 years experience in Jiu-Jitsu is how they feel a strong need to continue to study Jiu-Jitsu.
What can they possibly mean by this?
There are a few angles to look at this sentiment.
1) Jiu-Jitsu is in a constant state of evolution
Especially when we are talking about the sport Jiu-Jitsu competition where new guards with exotic names are being unveiled at each major competition event of the year. At the highest levels, it is an arms race. Jiu-Jitsu teams get their top competitors together and brainstorm and develop new variations on positions and strategies to surprise their opponents.
The black belt who wants to be the best instructor, must keep current on all of the new developments in order to provide their students with all of the tools they need to be successful. Jiu-Jitsu that we know of today has some new positions (ex. berimbolo, reverse De la Riva guard) that were virtually unknown 5 years ago.
What will the art look like in 5 years from today?
2) The depth of the basics
Talk to any black belt and they will sincerely express their love of the basic techniques of Jiu-Jitsu. An armlock from the mount is a basic move and everyone knows it right? Not correct!
There is an enormous depth to the techniques of Jiu-Jitsu. Advanced belts can be astounded at the additional details that a top level black belt can explain on positions they have been already using for years. The details on the strongest grip, the timing of execution, “move your hip a little to the side”, “break the opponent’s balance before trying to sweep”etc.
As a new black belt, I had a private lesson with a 4th degree master and I asked to go over basic techniques that I had as part of my game for over 15 years. It was a very humbling experience to discover that my understanding of “basic” techniques such as cross collar choke from guard were not as complete as I had previously thought.
The next time you attend a seminar with a top level instructor, ask them for tips on your best technique and you will be astonished at how deep Jiu-Jitsu is.
3) Different games
I had the pleasure of attending a Romulo Barral seminar a few years ago as a brown belt. Romulo is famous for his dangerous spider guard and spent the seminar explaining the basic grips he used and then a tree of possibilities of sweeps and attacks from his favourite position.
What impressed me – above and beyond the specific techniques – that he had a system setup around the grips and basic position:
– He knew his best options for sweeps and attacks
– He knew what to expect in his opponents defensive reactions
– He knew his combinations between the key techniques
– He understood how one move connected to and combined with the next
The depth to which he understood the nuances and complexity of the position was a real eye opener to me. When I saw the depth of knowledge and experience that he had about that one position, I more clearly understood how deep one could learn different games. It is not only how many moves you know, but on a deeper level, how do you use them and combine them effectively?
How deeply do you know the positions in your own “A Game”?
This reveals some of the bottomless depth of the art of Jiu-Jitsu and why it is never ending learning.
Hello GB Family,
May is here and many changes are to come.
2020 is definitely a year that has entered into world history and has become extremely important for the development, growth, and unity of our team.
As members of Gracie Barra, we always choose to look at things on the positive side, learn from challenges and turn problems into solutions.
As practitioners of Jiu-Jitsu, we know that adapting and being ready to deal with the unpredictable is essential for our survival on and off the mat.
Gracie Barra is once again taking the lead in the search for solutions for the next steps in the world that we will live.
Today we have started a new phase where the search for the safety of our students, adaptation and excellence in teaching come first.
Over the last weeks we have prepared a great video for you.
Present, past, and future will be present in the images and in the voiceover.
Prepare your heart, stay connected, and remember:
At GB safety comes first. Always!
We're in this together.
Congratulations to our Little Champions, Isabella!
Jules was one of the winners from our GB Sydney Easter Colouring Competition!
Need something to do during isolation? Click here to download the colouring book!
Congratulations to our Little Champions, Jules!
At the time of this post, we are training online. In addition to trying to stay active and keep your bodies flexible and muscles working, we must also make an effort to keep our attitudes positive.
It is easy to have a positive mental attitude when everything in life is going smoothly. Our resolve is tested however when life isn’t going so well. At these times, we need to reflect on maintaining a positive attitude.
While Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t carry the same emphasis on philosophy as say the Shaolin monks and their Kung Fu, Jiu-Jitsu tradition does have some precepts for how to think and live in the best way.
Some of you may remember reading this important piece of philosophy from Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr.
Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr. – 12 commandments
1 – To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
2 – Speak to every one of happiness, health and prosperity.
3 – Give all your friends the feeling that they are valuable.
4 – Always look at events from a positive point of view, and turn positivity into a reality in life.
5 – Think always in the best, work solely for the best and expect always the best.
6 – Always be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
7 – Forget about past mistakes and concentrate your energies on the victories ahead.
8 – Always keep your fellow men joyful and have a pleasant attitude to all that address you.
9 – Spend all the time you need in perfecting yourself, but leave no time to criticise the others.
10 – Become too big to feel unrest, too noble to feel anger, too strong to feel fear and too happy to tumble in adversity.
11 – Always have a positive opinion about yourself and tell it to the world, not through words of vanity but through benevolence.
12 – Have the strong belief that the world is beside you if you keep true to what is best within you.
How can we as students of Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu put our positive attitude into action?
Here are a few ways we as GB students can spread a positive attitude.
1. Be the first to say hello. Do you remember how apprehensive you felt in your first Jiu-Jitsu classes? You didn’t know what to expect. The school was full of people who all seemed to know each other and you felt like a stranger.
As an experienced student in your GB school, make the effort to be the first person to go up to a new student and say hello and ask them how everything is going in their training. This simple ice breaker can alleviate much of the nervousness of new students.
A story from my own experience about being friendly with new students. I received a message from a student saying that several years ago they had trained at our Gracie Barra school. I met a lot of new faces and I felt a little disappointed that I failed to recall that specific meeting. The student (now an instructor himself) said “I only trained at that school short time, but I remember how nice you were to me. I really appreciated it.” Let’s create more of this feeling inside our GB school by being open and positive with new students.
2. Catch someone doing something RIGHT! When Jiu-Jitsu students are learning new positions, it can be a challenge to understand and apply all of the details and correct mechanics of the techniques. Most of the necessary corrections will be in the form of “Oh, your grip is wrong” or “You are not performing the movement like the instructor taught.” This is an awful lot of negative feedback at times.
As senior students, helpful training partners we need to balance the “oh, you are doing this or that wrong” with positive feedback.
A good way to be more positive is to “catch” them doing a move correctly and pointing out how they have a nice sweep or escape.
3. Help out in small ways around the school. In running a clean, safe school that everyone enjoys attending several times every week, there are hundreds of minor tasks that are necessary. Taking ownership of your school is something that we all can do and contribute in small but significant ways to the overall positive attitude in our GB school.
Pick up empty water bottles left on the mat after class. Toss that forgotten t-shirt in the change room into the lost and found box. Ask if one of the students needs a ride home after class. Post a photo on your social media tagging your school and expressing how much you enjoy the class. These minor acts all build a positive atmosphere in your school.
4. No negative talk about other schools. Yes, I know some of the top personalities in combat sports generate a lot of attention by trash talking. Leave that negative talk to these professional self promoters. Most of us have witnessed negative bjj politics at some point between rival Jiu-Jitsu schools. Someone said or posted something negative about another school…they heard about it and responded with some negative words of their own and on it goes… and grows into bad feelings.
Stick to positive posts on social media. Don’t speak idly and say negative things about other Jiu-Jitsu schools around the other students. Refuse to participate. Be the positive example like Grandmaster Carlos Gracie Sr says “Spend all the time you need in perfecting yourself, but leave no time to criticise the others.”
The work never stops for our GB Women!
Saori took to the mats like she normally would for a special class in their living room!
They studied the material at GB Online, and then put it into practice!
Do you want to be like Saori?
The work never stops for our staff!
Jack got innovative, and took to the matress like he normally would for a special class in their living room!
They studied the material at GB Online, and then put it into practice!
Do you want to be like Jack?
The work never stops for our GB Kids!
Samson, Sophia and Scarlett took to the mats like they normally would for a special class in their backyard!
They studied the material at GB Online, and then put it into practice!
Do you want to be like the Hein family?
Samson, Sophia and Scarlett took to the mats like they normally would for a special class in their backyard!
They studied the material at GB Online, and then put it into practice!
Do you want to be like the Barton family?
We've put everything you need in one convenient place! Click the link below:
Watch Our Virtual Classes
Create Your Free GB Online Account
GB Sydney's Internal Facebook Group
Master Carlos Gracie Jr: Lifes Lessons
Master Carlos Gracie Jr Free Seminar
GB Sydney is providing online classes for all our active students! All these classes are available on Zoom. Contact us to find out how to participate in these classes!
Plus, GB Online will be providing free seminars with some of the best Gracie Barra has to offer. Click here to create your free GB Online account!
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Registration is FREE. Just create a profile and you have access to Gracie Barra content and community.
Create your GB Online Account and get access to awesome content taught by some of the best instructors in the World. Braulio Estima, Victor Estima, Roberto Alencar, Romulo Barral and more... All access available to Gracie Barra members.
Click here to register now!
What is inside GB Online?
- GB Online News
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You won’t find this original content anywhere else
Take advantage of our extensive GB Community now!
Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members.
If we are to keep the numbers low and make sure those affected can be taken care of by a functioning health system, we all need to do our part, temporarily changing our daily routines to embrace social distance.
However, we will not allow this virus to prevent us from continuing to pursue our mission of bringing Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone. We understand that, especially in times like this, you and your family need Jiu-Jitsu to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
Starting Wednesday 18th March, we will be limiting our school’s activities to distance learning over the internet for two consecutive weeks. We will then evaluate what federal and local health officials are recommending or mandating before bringing back group classes.
We are joining forces with GB Online to provide a wide array of Jiu-Jitsu learning experiences along with using effective digital learning platforms.
While the COVID-19 outbreak develops, we will continue to adapt to bring Jiu-Jitsu to your daily life while keeping your health and safety our top priority.
We will continue to monitor the situation, and let you know when we intend to resume regular training at our school.
Lastly, we kindly ask you to not freeze or cancel your membership. Now, more than ever, we need your trust and support in our work. The situation is concerning, but it will pass.
On behalf of GB Sydney family, we ask for your continued support to help us weather this storm. Please click on the link below and create your GB online account. Thank you in advance for your continuous support.
See you online tomorrow!
Prof. Marcelo Rezende and the entire Gracie Barra Sydney Team
Over the past few weeks, we have observed a growing public-health concern regarding the Coronavirus or (COVID-19).
All Gracie Barra Schools around the World are and will remain committed to providing the highest level of Jiu-Jitsu instruction in a healthy and safe environment.
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus as a global concern, we have been researching preventative guidelines issued by the World Health Organization and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, we have been in close communication with health care providers and local public health authorities to create a comprehensive plan to ensure the highest level of safety to both our students and instructors.
Initially, we aimed to gain a better understanding of the Coronavirus and the potential threats the virus may pose to our team as well as the identification of best practices in ensuring each school maintained the highest level of cleaning standards.
As we learned more about COVID-19, it became clear that our schools must not only implement every preventive measure possible but must also serve as a source of information to create more awareness about this virus and its potential risks.
What Can You Do?
There are many things you can do as an individual to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Additionally, there are things you can do to raise the level of awareness on this virus, reduce unnecessary fear, and create a level of engagement directed at the prevention of the illness with those closest to you.
BE SMART - Stay informed, be aware of risks, but don't panic. Use the discipline you learned in Jiu-Jitsu to create enhanced personal hygiene routines in your life. Wash your hands frequently, wash your uniform, and take a shower after practice, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. The CDC has put together an excellent website with plenty of information on the Coronavirus www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
STAY HEALTHY - This is a crucial time to make your health a priority and do all you can to boost your immunity. This means eat well, sleep well, consider taking additional supplements to boost your immunity systems, and of course, keep training!
TRAINING HYGIENE - To protect yourself and your training partners, make sure to sanitize your hands when entering the school before shaking anyone's hands or touching anything. Instructors and staff will require all students to sanitize their hands before class. Lastly, only put on your uniform after you enter the school premises.
BE A GOOD TEAMMATE - If you are feeling under the weather, if you are coughing or sneezing, if you have a mild fever, headache, or any other cold / flu-like symptoms, take a break from Jiu-Jitsu. Stay home, rest, eat well and look for a doctor in case the symptoms get worse or don't go away.
TRAVELING FROM AFFECTED AREAS - If you have been in touch or have traveled from areas affected by the Coronavirus, avoid contact with others for a few days, observe cold or Flu symptoms, and seek medical advice if needed.
Mia has been training with us over 5 years now, and it's been amazing to see her growth over that time!
We can't wait to see her grow into a fantastic woman!
We wanted to address the latest news on the emerging threat of the Corona Virus. We would like to ask all families, if they have travelled Overseas to effected areas over the last few weeks to follow the same guidelines that have been given from our local Schools.
We also ask for you to please keep us in mind of any updates of risk so that we can keep all of our members informed and safe.
Please see below for the latest update from the Minister for Health NSW.
Please click here to see the latest update.
There are as many different types of martial arts as there are languages in the world. Learning a new martial art is a lot like learning to speak a new language. Accommodating to a new martial art style like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be difficult and frustrating. Here are a couple helpful tips to help those transitioning into Jiu-Jitsu from a standup art.
1st: Learn to walk before you fly…
The fundamentals of Jiu-Jitsu are the most important techniques you will ever learn on the mat. Understanding the fundamental concepts of Jiu-Jitsu is essential before moving on to complex moves. With that said, a new students should stay clear of YouTube when possible. Though a great resource to showcase the abundance of techniques, many new students can get drowned in advanced moves and never properly learn basics. Any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teacher will tell you that fundamentals are key.
2nd: Empty your cup…
The first step of construction is demolition. Go into each class with an open mind. Striking styles are very different from grappling arts. Some techniques in Jiu-Jitsu will seem odd first. Be open-minded to learning and don’t let old habits follow you onto the mat. Many martial arts styles have been relatively unchanged for thousands of years but Jiu-Jitsu is still constantly evolving with new techniques.
3rd: Enjoy the ride…
A white belt taught the basics of grappling could tap a world champion striker. It can be disheartening for experienced martial artists to experience the climb from the bottom again. Perseverance through this step is necessary for personal growth and development of a good martial artist. If life were about getting to the destination, we would all want to die as soon as possible.
4th: The GB1 Online
The GB1 program is an extension of learning at your GB school to your home.
With GB1 Online, you can study before and after your classes, and it is the best program on the market for a GB1 student. Right now, we have 3352 GB students enjoying the full version of the program and improving their learning process in Jiu-Jitsu.
Do you want to get better in Jiu-Jitsu?
Do you know why GB1 Online is the best program for you?
Because the GB1 Online program follows the 16-week cycle of the GB1 curriculum, precisely the same your instructor is following at your school.
Besides, GB1 Online is a unique opportunity to watch Master Carlos Gracie Jr. take action and demonstrate in detail every technique learned in class.
This is one of the most dreaded times of the year for many students. Summer break is over which means students will be heading back to school. For most students, this means dealing with homework, midterms, sleepless nights, and trying to find a date to the dance. Not to mention trying to figure out what they want to do in life. Finding time and motivation to train Jiu-Jitsu can be difficult. Here are some benefits to doing Jiu-Jitsu as a student.
1. Breaking Barriers
School kids tend to form groups depending on interest. This is especially true in high school. For the most part, interaction at lunch, or after school stays within the group. Jiu-Jitsu attracts many different types of students. It can be a great way to bridge the gap between different groups in school. This can help create a better experience in school for many students.
Side note: Don’t be afraid to suggest to other students to give Jiu-Jitsu a try. Most Jiu-Jitsu Academies offer a free intro class. Many people start BJJ through a friend’s recommendation. You just never know who will catch the bug.
Students may also participate in sports such as football, or basketball. Cross training in BJJ can be beneficial during the regular or off-season. Jiu-Jitsu can help athletes achieve greater strength. By utilizing muscles in a different way, athletes can develop additional strength. Jiu-Jitsu utilizes a person’s flexibility. Increased flexibility is advantageous in many other sports. Athletes wishing to supplement there sports with Jiu-Jitsu would notice increased flexibility.
3. Fighting the Freshman Fifteen
The freshman fifteen is a term used to describe the weight freshmen gain in their first year of college. The weight gain could be due to a variety of reasons. Increased stress, input of junk food, and a typical college lifestyle can be causes. Regardless, going to Jiu-Jitsu on a regular basis can be a great way to stay in shape and avoid the dreaded freshman fifteen.
4. Getting a Clear Head
Whether you’re a part time or full time student, school can be overwhelming. The stress of a final exam, turning in a 20-page term paper, or worrying about passing a class can get to you. Jiu-Jitsu is great to relieve the temporary worries students may have. You tend to forget the stress of a term paper when you have someone trying to choke you! Studying is great, but too much can burn you out too. Manage your mental health, just as much as you’re physical if not more.
Both Instinct & Awareness in BJJ Will Help You Grow as a Fighter
Jiu-Jitsu is for every person of every age and weight who dreams learning how to defend him or herself without getting hurt or hurting anyone.
Its practice involves two aspects: instinct and awareness. Both are important for the advance of the fighter who debates these points in his/her mind.
In a recent talk, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. spoke about the subject.
“Many people know a great deal about Jiu-Jitsu, but have very little instinct for the fight. In these cases, the knowledge overrides the instinct. On the other hand, a person with very little knowledge of the fight has a great deal of instinct. The instinct alone is enough to save him/her, protecting from harmful situations, from submission, and allowing the person to be a good fighter,” explains the red-belt Carlinhos Gracie.
“I’ve seeing many times a fighter get out of a position with pure instinct, but not able to explain the position, for not having the awareness of what he/she is doing. If that person one day becomes an instructor, he/she won’t be able to explain the position. During training many times I asked black-belts to explain the position and they always begged me not to do it. They were terrified” remembered the founder of Gracie Barra.
Carlinhos mentions that now at Gracie Barra, we have many black-belts who are training with beginners, as a refresher of the fundamentals, to teach better, eliminate bad habits, and to remember basics that were forgotten.
“The game of a well-trained athlete works only in the beginning. When tired or getting old, his/her Jiu-Jitsu declines sharply,” said Gracie. “The technique, the knowledge and awareness allow us to be calmer in a bad position. A bad position drains a lot of energy and you have to get out nicely in the precise time when your adversary makes a mistake.”
“I’ve always been a fan of the basics. After you have a good solid foundation of Jiu-Jitsu, the rest comes by instinct. You create, invent. The rest is easy. The difficult part is the beginning,” concluded Carlinhos.
Check out more about India below!
What is your favourite technique?
Pull Guard to Triangle
What are your main titles?
- 2x Australia National Champion
- IBJJF Pan Pacific Champion
- 3x NSW State Champion
- 3x Canberra Open Champion
- 2x QLD State Champion
- 3x GB Compnet Champion
Who is your Gracie Barra idol?
Prof. Glauco de Almeida, Prof. Matt Schwass, Prof. Jo Thomson & Coach Ruby Matic
What does being a Gracie Barra Ambassador mean to you?
Being a GB Ambassador means being the best I can be, trying my hardest and pushing myself to my limits non stop. It also means to never give up and always have a positive mindset. It also enables me to inspire other young kids as well as adults to know that they can do anything they put their mind to.
What are your goals for 2020?
Become 2021 GB Ambassador, National Champion, Pan Pacs Champion, train my hardest every day on the mats!
Click here to follow India on Instagram!
Prof. Rob was lucky enough to meet Master Carlos Gracie Jr!
Prof Rob is currently enjoying a holiday in Brazil, and while he was there, travelled to Floripa to train at a local GB School.
When he arrived, he was greeted by Master Carlos Gracie Jr himself! They trained together, took plenty of photos, and of course, had a great chat about everything Jiu-Jitsu!
We can't wait to hear all about it when he comes back!
Along with the rear mount, the mount is considered the most dominant position on the ground in jiu-jitsu. Yet, many students struggle with the mount, preferring to stay on top in side control.
The students feel that their opponents replace the guard or bridge and roll them more easily and they lose their hard fought position. Make no mistake, the mount is a powerful position and worth devoting the training time to make it a solid part of your jiu-jitsu game.
Here are 3 Tips to improve your mount
1) First priority : Maintain the position
All too often, students achieve the mount and are in too much of a hurry to grab an arm lock.
They have not yet stabilized the mount position (you need at least 3 seconds to be rewarded the 4 points in IBJJF competition) and try to attack. The opponent has room to escape and the top loses their mount.
When you achieve the mount, your first priority is to control the opponent and prevent their escape.
Once you have prevented your opponent’s escape attempts, then you can look at tip 2.
2) Attack the collar / neck
If the opponent on the bottom is not threatened by an attack, they can be free to look to escape.
However, the moment that the person in mount gets a hand deep in the collar, the choke must be defended!
This also tends to bring the arms of the bottom person up and allows the top mount to slide their knees up to a higher mount.
In a “high” mount with your knees in the opponent’s armpits, their ability to effectively bridge is greatly reduced.
3) Develop the arm lock / choke combination attack
Legendary competitor Roger Gracie is famous for this “basic” but powerful attack from the mount.
One year at the World Championships,. Roger Gracie had a mission to mount and submit all of his opponents in the black belt division.
Roger advises to train your straight arm lock / cross collar choke combination. The opponent can not defend both of your attacks with 100%. As you threaten both attacks, and change between the techniques, your opponent falls behind and you gain an advantage.
The top mount allows you to apply your bodyweight and leverage to make the opponent uncomfortable and cause them to commit a mistake.
Threaten the choke to get the arm. Threaten the arm to make your opponent forget their collars and get the choke.
Jiu-Jitsu is a good problem to have. If you share the addiction to BJJ, hopefully some of these will stick out to you!
1. You frequently try new techniques on love ones who don’t train in Jiu-Jitsu
Sometimes you see a move or think about a submission. Many people who are addicted to Jiu-Jitsu will not wait till they get to class. They will simply go over to a loved one, friend, or even a random stranger and say, “Let me try this thing real quick.”
2. You check websites like GB Online every night
You go over all the blogs, GB videos, techniques videos, and more. There's always something new to read, watch, and learn.
3. You subscribe to one or more Jiu-Jitsu magazines
Just in case the power ever went out, Jiu-Jitsu addicts will always have a hard copy of Jiu-Jitsu literature lying around. Jiu-Jitsu Magazine, Gracie Mag, and Jits Magazine are a few you may subscribe to.
4. Your YouTube history is cluttered with Jiu-Jitsu videos
For you, YouTube is a database of Jiu-Jitsu techniques. You probably also subscribe to channels such as BJJ Hacks TV, GracieBreakdown, and BJJ Scout.
5. You wear Jiu-Jitsu apparel 24/7
Your clothes have the words “Jiu-Jitsu” or “Gracie Barra” on them.
6. You find yourself hip escaping in your sleep
Sometimes this happens and your head hits the headboard or the wall.
7. You start looking at movies and analyzing how they’re submissions are all wrong
Action movies often don’t portray realistic fighting. People addicted to Jiu-Jitsu tend look at submission in movies and start pointing out all the things wrong with it.
8. You prefer Açai over of Ice Cream
Many people are introduced to Acai through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a tasty treat.
9. When talking to someone you don’t like, you daydream of ways to submit them
Admit it. This happens.
10. You’ve tried a submission attempt on a pillow
Sometimes no one is around to try a new technique on. Pillows don’t ever argue or fight back.
11. When you give someone a hug, you must always get under hooks
Under-hooks are important! It gives you the leverage you need to control someone if you ever needed to. Just in case!
12. You experience withdrawal when you don’t train
The mat has become a 2nd home to me. The academy has been a place I can go to relax and break free. If I don’t train, I begin to miss it and actually have trouble sleeping.
One of the more common challenges faced by Jiu-Jitsu students is the dreaded training plateau. Although we would like to think of our progress as a steady, uninterrupted upward progression, real life seldom works that way. There are periods where we seem to have stalled in our improvement.
In many cases, it can merely be your own internal perception that you aren’t performing at your best. “It feels like everyone else is improving but me!” you might feel at times. The truth is you are getting better, but the rate of progress is so slow as to be almost imperceptible. Couple that with the fact that everyone else in the class is also improving and you get the misguided idea that you aren’t improving.
Then there are those periods… where your progress truly has flat lined. You may be having fun training in class, but your game has not made any significant progress. You may be in the athlete’s dreaded comfort zone. You seem to be doing the same things that you have always done and rolling the same way with the same training partners week in and week out. But this has led to a type of stagnation.
Dare To Be Great – Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
It is going to take venturing out of your comfort zone to get your Jiu-Jitsu up to the next level.
How can we escape our Jiu-Jitsu comfort zone?
Here are a few suggestions to help you get out of that comfort zone and “level up” your game.
Set a goal to enter a tournament.
There are few things that will light a fire under you like the knowledge that you will be testing your skills under the bright lights of the competition stage! You will increase your physical conditioning and ramp up the intensity of your rounds. You may have to tighten your diet and cut a few kilos to make a certain weight division. You will examine your game with a critical eye and look to sharpen strengths and patch weaknesses. You won’t be skipping training sessions. You will seek out rolls with the other competitors on your team in order to sharpen each other. The impetus of competition will take you out of a comfort zone for sure.
Not everyone has a goal to compete in a tournament and there are other ways that you can create conditions to get out of your comfort zone. One of the best ways is to set a period of time to focus on a position that you are not that good at. For example, you have a pretty good guard and have been content for a long time to pull guard or start from bottom position in rolling. Takedowns? Well…maybe you will get to that later. Now is the time to devote a focused period of study to learning new entries and finishes for your single leg, drilling the technique every class with your favorite training partners, and resolving to start every roll from standing position and refusing to simply do the familiar and pulling guard. Those first several times if fighting for grips in a foreign position you will definitely feel some discomfort! But therein lies how you will jump to a higher level.
Train your weak side.
This might be considered a more advanced area to focus your training. When we are at lower belts, we are often trying to experiment with new positions and acquiring proficiency with those positions. However, once you are confident in those positions and are able to use them in live rolling, it is time to look at another aspect of the position: are you a left side specialist? That is to say – are ALL of your guard passes ONLY to your left hand side? Do you ONLY use Lasso Guard with your left hook? If you are like the majority of Jiu-Jitsu students, I’ll bet the answer is yes! I challenge you to take your knowledge of that strong position and train it on your weak side. It will feel awkward for sure! You will feel like a white belt at first. But that lasts only a short time until you develop the muscle memory to execute the position on your unused side. The good news is that you will quickly get over that initial difficulty and find the former weak side is now every bit as good as your strong side. The secret is that your opponents are awkward at DEFENDING on that weak side so your technique is even more difficult to defend.
All of these suggestions involve moving beyond our normal routines, what we are already comfortable doing.
We are at our best when we are challenging ourselves to get out of our comfort zones and sharpen our Jiu-Jitsu.
Congratulations to our GB Sydney team on incredible performances at the NSW Summer Cup!
Together, along with our other GB Schools, we managed to come 1st in the Kids, Gi and No-Gi divisions!
Congratulations to everyone involved, this was an amazing success for our team!
Congratulations to our new black belts!
At the GB Oceania Awards Night 2019, GB Sydney promoted 5 new black belts! Congratulations to:
- Prof. Carlos Schiezaro
- Prof. Gabriel Oliveira
- Prof. Jeremy Mateo
- Prof. Mohamed Abdi
- Prof. Murilo Pinamoura
We would also like to congratulate these black belts on getting another stripe on their belt:
- Prof. Diogo Reis
- Prof. Jo Thomson
- Prof. Marcelo Moyses
On average, it takes about 8 to 10 years to achieve a black belt. Congratulations to these student on their incredible achievement!
Check out all the photos from the GB Oceania Awards Night 2019 here!
Have a look at some of the GB Sydney team at the
opening of the Gracie Barra HQ in Florianpolis, Brazil with Master Carlos Gracie Jr!
Don't forget we have over 800 GB Schools across the world!
Whenever you are going to another city, or another country, make sure you take you uniform and get a Visitors Card for the team at reception!
Any training you do overseas will count towards your next stripe and attendance back here at GB Sydney!
Talk to the team for more information!
Check out the awesome video below!
Get excited for 2020 and let's represent the Red Shield!
2 months ago, we brought you the story of Richie Harris. Here is the latest update!
Richie's journey started at nearly 150kgs, and he is now at an amazing 93kgs!
Richie has recently travelled to the IBJJF World Masters Championships, and last night received his purple belt from Prof. Marcelo Rezende!
We are all incredibly proud of your Richie!
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Learn more about Coach Sean Fong!
Click the button below to check out this amazing video about him, his outlook on life, and how Jiu-Jitsu has inspired him!