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  • What is BJJ?
    BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) is a martial art and combat sport deriving from Judo. It originated in Brazil in the early 20th century, and was popularized in the US and Europe following the success of BJJ fighter Royce Gracie in the first UFC mixed martial arts events in the 90s. Like in Judo, the traditional uniform is a sturdy cloth jacket and trousers called a gi, with the jacket held closed by a belt. Also, the focus is on grappling techniques rather than strikes. Unlike Judo, BJJ also has a no gi variant, and the emphasis is on ground techniques rather than throws (though throws are still a part of the art). BJJ also has a wider range of trained ground techniques, with more submissions being legal under the sport rules.
  • Do I need to be fit to start BJJ?
    No. BJJ will help you get fit. Being in good shape helps to be successful in competition and sparring, but training BJJ is a great way to lose weight and get in shape. Fitness and strength is an advantage in any combat sport, but it is by no means essential to have before starting.
  • BJJ is a sport?
    Yes. There is an organization called the IBJJF who run some high profile competitions in both gi (with Judo style uniform) and no gi. The IBJJF is a private company, but in some respects functions as a governing body for the sport. They run the most prestigious gi competitions (in particular the world championship), and they maintain a list of athletes and their IBJJF approved ranks to control registration for these. They also run no gi competitions, which are also prestigious, but not as much as their gi competitions. There is also an organization called ADCC who run no gi competitions (in particular the ADCC world championship, which is the most prestigious no gi competition). ADCC competitions are not specifically BJJ, and athletes from any other grappling arts can enter their competitions, but BJJ athletes typically dominate the results. There are also many smaller competitions run by independent organizations. Most smaller competitions use minor modifications of IBJJF rules in the gi, and some variation of ADCC or IBJjF rules in no gi.
  • What are the rules of the sport of BJJ?
    The exact rules vary according to the organization putting on the competition, but they all have several things in common. First, there is no striking, only grappling, which starts on the feet and continues on the ground if one athlete throws the other or chooses to sit down into what is called a guard position in BJJ terminology. There is no way to win by pin or by takedown, but if one athlete forces the other the other to 'tap out' or 'submit' to a submission hold, they immediately win the match. If there is no submission during the match, in most competitions the winner will be decided based on points scored for various actions during the course of the match. Which submission holds are legal depends on the organization running the event and the experience level of the competitors. But typically arm locks and strangles will be legal, along with some basic leg locks, with more leg attacks becoming legal as the athletes progress through the ranks. In no gi, gripping the clothes is against the rules.
  • What is 'tapping out'?
    In sport BJJ, the ideal is to win by putting the other athlete into a submission hold of some kind. This is a position like an armlock or a strangle where, if the attacker followed through with the technique, the defender would suffer an injury such as a broken arm, or go unconscious. In a position like this, the defender should 'submit'. Traditionally this is signified by tapping on the attacker's body, or on the mat. Ideally this tapping is done with the hands, but can also be done with the legs if the hands are not able to move. I also recommend tapping verbally by saying 'tap!' loudly, to leave no doubt, as sometimes physical tapping can be confused with defensive movements. It is an important principal of BJJ that the tap must be respected. In other words, if someone taps while you are sparring you must stop what you are doing, even if you don't think they are in danger. Always respect the tap!
  • I'm new to BJJ, what class should I attend?
    We have fundamentals classes for both gi and no gi on the schedule. These are intended to provide an overview of the most important positions and concepts in BJJ. These classes are designed for beginners, and we recommend that people new to grappling come to some of these first if they can, but if this is not possible they are also welcome to attend the general classes. These are mixed level, so not everything in them will be aimed at beginners, but there should be something for everyone.
  • What should I wear to my first class?
    If you are coming to a no gi class you should wear something like shorts and a t-shirt. You should avoid zippers and buckles, and your clothes should be loose enough to move around in comfortably. Be warned that there's a lot of rolling around and waving legs in BJJ, so you don't want your clothes to be so loose that there's a risk of various body parts falling out of them. If you're coming to a gi class then we have should uniforms we can lend you (no charge). Let us know in advance and we can make sure we have one available in your size.
  • I already have a gi/rashguard/whatever from my old gym, can I wear it?
    Yes sure. We don't care.
  • Do I need to do anything else to prepare for my first class?
    Be clean and make sure you have short trimmed fingernails and toenails. Make sure your training clothes are clean too. BJJ is a close contact activity. Don't be stinky.
  • What is a typical training session like?
    This depends on whether it's a general class or a fundamentals class. The general evening class is roughly 1.5 hours long and starts with a short warmup consisting of basic grappling movements and lasting about 5 minutes. After this there is a technical portion where the instructor shows some positions or moves according to the syllabus and students have time to experiment with these ideas with a partner and receive feedback from the instructor. This technical section usually covers 2 or 3 techniques, and lasts about 40 minutes. Following this comes specific sparring. This is competitive sparring constrained to specific positions and movements, and is designed to encourage students to apply the ideas from the technical portion of the class. This lasts about 20 minutes. After this comes free rolling. Here students will partner up and spar with each other under some variation of BJJ rules. This lasts about 30 minutes. The one hour long weekday afternoon general classes have a similar structure, but all parts except the warmup are condensed to fit into the shorter timeslot. The fundamentals classes are also one hour long. In these, the free rolling portion is cut, the specific sparring is reduced in length, and the warmup is lengthened so that the basic movements can be better explained to new people. Since the general class comes right after the fundamentals class, many people choose to do both.
  • How often do I need to wash my training gear?
    Wash all your gear after every use. For one thing, unwashed gear smells bad, and for another thing, it provides a great environment for potentially harmful bacteria and fungi to flourish. Skin infections of various kinds can be a problem in any close contact activity, and BJJ is no exception. Washing your gear helps to protect everyone. Wash your belts too. They get dirty just like everything else. Avoid washing your gi hot though, unless you want it to shrink. Avoid tumble drying for the same reason.
  • Do you have any general gym rules?
    Yes. 1) Make sure you and your training gear are clean before training. 2) Keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed short. 3) Put your shoes or flip flops on when you go to the toilet or leave the mat/changing area in general. 4) Treat your training partners with respect. 5) Always respect the tap. 6) Don't do banned techniques.
  • What techniques are banned?
    Generally, we spar with IBJJF rules in the gi, and modified ADCC rule in no gi. The exception to ADCC rules is that white belts are not allowed to use heel hooks or similar twisting leg attacks unless they've been given permission by the instructor running the session. Blue belts and above can go for them, but they need to agree with their partner first. Similar applies to neck cranks like the twister submission. Also, ADCC allows slamming to escape submissions, which we do not allow at our gym in normal sparring. We do not allow jumping guard at any rank. Here's a summary of banned moves. This doesn't cover all the nuances of IBJJF rules, but it hits the most dangerous things: 1) Strikes, i.e. punches or kicks etc. unless specifically included by the instructor (e.g. if the class is on grappling for MMA). This is a grappling sport for the most part. 2) Slams. That is, lifting your opponent off the mat while they are in guard or attempting a submission hold and bringing them back down with force. 3) Jumping guard. Sitting to guard is fine, but jumping up onto your opponent to try to drag them down into closed guard is not. This is due to the high risk of serious knee injury. 4) Kani basami AKA the jumping scissor takedown, for the same reason as in guard jumping. 5) Heel hooks, neck cranks and twisting leg locks in general, unless you're blue belt or above and have agreed with your opponent. 6) This isn't so much a move as a concept. Don't throw your body weight at people without control. In particular, don't do this in positions where you might drop onto their leg from the front or the side while standing. Jumping guard and kani basami are both covered by this, but the principle is more general. 7) Pulling on fingers. If you want to grip someone's hand you must grip 3 or more fingers at the same time. This is due to the risk of annoying finger injuries. 8) Choking people by putting both hands around their neck from the front and squeezing, Homer Simpson style. This is due to the risk of damage to the trachea.
  • Do you have contracts?
    No. Just sign up. Membership payment recurs automatically but you can cancel whenever you want.
  • How do I cancel my membership?
    You can do it by logging onto our site using the account you used to register. You can find the option to cancel in your account details. If you have trouble with this for any reason you can also message us and we'll do it for you.
  • I'll be away for a while, can I pause my membership?
    Yes. If you're going to be away from training for more than a few weeks, just let us know and we'll pause your membership. This stops the clock on your payments. We'll unpause when you get back so you won't have to pay for the time you missed.
  • If I'm a member of your gym, can I train BJJ elsewhere too?
    Yes for sure. Train wherever you want. The only thing we ask is that you're clear with all the gyms involved about which is your 'home' gym. The home gym will be the place that awards you your belts, and the place you will usually represent in competition if you compete. This is just so different instructors don't get their wires crossed and everyone involved understands the situation.
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