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How to get started

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that teaches a smaller person how to defend themselves against a larger adversary by using leverage and proper technique. The Gracie family, credited as the founders of BJJ, modified Judo and traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu to create the art.

So, how does BJJ compare to other martial arts? Every martial art is unique even when it may be influenced by another martial art. In some martial arts training, students are trained to rely more so on punches, kicks, and standing defensive maneuvers whereas in BJJ, the focus is ground-based training. BJJ students are ranked through a belt system based on color and in addition to the belt system, most academies award stripes as an intra-belt recognition of progress. Lastly, some classes require the use of a Gi (a lightweight two-piece garment worn with a belt) or No Gi.

So how do you determine which BJJ class is best for you? We can help.

                                                                                    Example Award Schedule


1. Check out a class

Seeing this martial art in person will help showcase how students warm-up, practice drills and maneuvers, go over techniques and train with each other. Additionally, observing how Enrique conducts class and works with his students will show you the level of attention and detailed instruction he provides. Talk to the Enrique afterwards and share any questions or concerns you might have so he guide you down the best path.

2. Fundamentals Gi Class

Fundamentals is a great place for the beginner to start. This slower paced class focuses on BJJ concepts and basic drills and techniques.  In this class you will learn how to relax while training using breath control and weight distribution to better reserve your energy. You will learn bridging and shrimping, gripping and grip breaks, guard pass, escaping side mount, several guard and mount positions, escapes and submissions.  We focus on quality not quantity, you will learn a few things each class and drill them with correct form.  This is also a great refresher for the advanced student.

3. Decide Gi or No Gi/Submission Wrestling (or both)

Now it’s time to decide if you would prefer a Gi or No Gi class or both. While it may appear to simply be a preference in clothing, there is more to consider. One difference between gi and no-gi grappling has to do with strategy. In gi grappling, use of the gi - sleeves, collar, pant legs - figures prominently in gaining and controlling position, as well as in applying submissions. with the Gi you can can execute collar chokes, or use the sleeve or the hem of the gi to tie up a partner’s arm or hand. In no-gi grappling, on the other hand, grabbing the clothes is generally not allowed. Instead, you can try to control an opponent by gripping the body’s natural handles: the neck, the wrist, the elbow, the knee, the hips, etc. This is also allowed in gi grappling, but is the only option in no-gi.  The lack of heavy cotton cloth to soak up sweat in no-gi grappling also tends to affect the pace of a match and the ease with which an opponent can slip out of a bad position. Gi classes use belt rankings which means you’ll be given belt promotions based on your progress. Also, the Gi’s thick woven material makes it more capable to withstand many styles of takedowns you’ll learn in a BJJ Gi class. No Gi / Submission Wrestling is our very own unique fusion of BJJ and Wrestling techniques that teach wrestling style takedowns to give you a better advantage during an altercation or in competition. No-Gi/Submission Wrestling classes tend to move at a faster pace. If you still feel undecided, you can always begin with a Gi class and later transition to a No-Gi/Submission Wrestling class.

4. Be patient

The skills practiced and instructed by Southside BJJ are meticulously learned over time. If you are new to BJJ, be patient with your progress. Enrique and the other coaches will help you learn all the skills you need at the appropriate pace. BJJ is a full body workout that teaches valuable fight skills while delivering athletic results. BJJ is a combination of tactical skill and physical skill which takes time to master.

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