• Improved Focus:
Kids participating in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and any other martial arts learn how to set goals, the knowledge necessary, and to do the work needed to achieve them. BJJ is a structured program with belts and patches acknowledging personal achievement. Belts display both effort, time, and experience in training. For kids under 15 years of age, the belts are white, yellow, orange, and green. Each belt has tested requirements (skills/knowledge) in order to be promoted to the next belt level. Kids become aware of the requirements and are encouraged to set goals, and work toward their achievement.
Participating in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or any martial arts will improve the overall fitness level of kids who attend class regularly. Kids engage in a series of conditioning, stretching and strength exercises as part of their regular training. The program is designed to be progressive so each student progresses at their own speed. Consistent training produces better muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. Benefits derived from training include a lower percentage of body fat, increased energy, and enthusiasm for physical activity.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu contains a progressive series of movements that improves the coordination of participants. Training in BJJ requires learning grappling techniques and putting them together in a string of movement. This combination develops both specific and sequential improvement in the coordination of the body. Through repetition kids practice single movements as well as combinations, subsequently enhancing coordination through the development of mental pathways and muscle memory.
Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and any other martial arts improves the confidence of kids that will carry over into all venues of their lives. Through a series of challenges kids learn how to approach new situations and successfully navigate them. Challenges are progressive, and graduated, becoming more challenging at each step of the program. This format produces a foundation of self-trust and a willingness to approach challenges. The success which develops produces the confidence needed to achieve more challenging goals in the future as well.
Kids develop enhanced self-esteem as a outcome of consistent training in Martial Arts. The success that kids experience as part of their training builds a self-respect that translates into self-esteem. They learn to trust, respect, and like themselves for who they are. The self-esteem they develop is strong and durable because it is based on achievement. Enhanced self-esteem will impact positively on how they relate to others, authority, and themselves. One of the most consistent improvement for kids training is the development of positive self-esteem.
Although most students of Martial Arts do it for the sport, kids learn valuable self-defense skills as well. Kids training in Martial Arts not only learn how to defend themselves in various situations, but develop the confidence that helps them to avoid many of the bully traps. Kids trained in the grappling arts learn how to avoid, evade, and escape from many physical confrontations so common to the young. Self-defense is only one of the many benefits of learning martial arts, but it is a valuable benefit for kids nonetheless.
Code of Conduct
At all times, The Martial Arts Training Centre (TMATC) students, must:
- promote and support TMATC’s values
- have no ego on the mats and be respectful of training partners and coaches
- practice techniques with control and cooperation
- control their temper (bullies and physical outbursts are not tolerated)
- be clean, hygienic and void of body odour (this includes trimmed nails)
- train in clean and appropriate attire
- never use foul language
- apply submissions with extreme care and control
- report all accidents and injuries accordingly
- appropriately cover abrasions and open cuts before training
- listen while the coach is teaching
A BRIEF HISTORY OF JIU JITSU
In order to fully understand Jiu-Jitsu, it is important to know where it came from.
Although its origins can arguably be traced to Buddhist monks of India, Jiu-Jitsu (sometimes referred to as ‘Ju-Jitsu’) in its modern form comes from Japan.
Jiu-Jitsu was the battlefield art of the Samurai of Japan. These samurai warriors were well-armoured and usually on horseback and the art of Jiu-Jitsu was essentially developed to allow the samurai to fight effectively in the event that they found themselves disarmed and on foot.
Because of the restricted mobility and agility associated with fighting in armour, jiu-jitsu evolved to include throwing, joint-locks and strangles, in addition to striking moves found in other martial arts.
By the mid-1800’s Jiu-jitsu had fractured into several styles or ‘ryu’. Although the techniques varied from style to style, they all generally incorporated most aspects of hand to hand combat including strikes, grappling and weapon-based attacks and disarms. In the 1880’s, a stand-out young jiu-jitsu, Jigoro Kano, developed his own ryu which was based around ‘randori’, or full-power practise against resisting skilled opponents. This was a complete deviation from the partner practise that was prevalent at the time. Kano’s style later evolved into Judo, which became one of the most widely practised sports in the world.
THE GRACIE FAMILY
A student of Kano’s, Mitsuo Maeda (also known as Count Koma – ‘Count of Combat’) emigrated from Japan to Brazil in 1914. He was assisted by a local politician named George Gracie, whose father had also been an immigrant, hailing originally from Scotland. As a token of his gratitude, Maeda taught jiu-jitsu to George’s son Carlos Gracie. Carlos later shared his knowledge with some of his brothers, with whom he opened Brazil’s first jiu-jitsu academy in 1925.
Over the years, the Gracies’ (notably Carlos and Helio) and their students refined their art through brutal no-rules fights, both in public challenge matches and on the street. They focused their attention on submission ground fighting, which allowed a smaller man to defend against and ultimately defeat a larger attacker.
In the 1970’s Rolls Gracie began to further refine the art, incorporating, among other things, moves from wrestling into the curriculum. Alongside this he devised the first point and rule systems for jiu-jitsu specific competition.
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP
In the early 1990’s another Gracie, Rorion, moved from Brazil to Los Angeles, hoping to showcase his family’s fighting system to America.
Although no-rules, mixed martial arts contests (known as “vale tudo”) had been popular in Brazil since Carlos Gracie first opened his academy in 1925, they were largely unknown in the rest of the world.
Rorion and Art Davies conceived of an event called ‘The Ultimate Fighting Championship’ (UFC), which would pit various martial arts styles against each other. UFC enabled challengers from various martial arts disciplines to battle each other in an effort to prove the credibility of their sport and illustrate their martial art as the best.
The first UFC took place in 1993 and was completely dominated by Rorian’s younger brother Royce. Royce was not a big man, and was outweighed by the other competitors. In spite of this, he exploited the other contestants’ naivety of ground fighting and emerged victorious, defeating four opponents in a single night. His wins led to a huge interest in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, particularly in the USA and Japan, consolidating the sport’s status as a truly global martial art.
THE MODERN ERA
Today, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is riding the wave of the ‘Mixed Martial Arts’ (MMA) explosion, and is the fastest growing martial art in the world. There are now thousands of jiu-jitsu academies spread across every corner of the globe.
Sport jiu-jitsu has also grown massively in popularity. There is an established governing body, the International Brazilian Jui-Jitsu Foundation (IBJJF), which runs a yearly competition circuit that attracts thousands of entrants.
Staying true to its roots, jiu-jitsu continues to be effectively utilized in all MMA competition – all fighters, regardless of their speciality, require at least a working knowledge of jiu-jitsu to stand any chance of success.
The art is constantly evolving and being refined by its practitioners. New moves and techniques are being invented every day – a testament to the dynamic and ‘live’ nature of the art.
Grading and The Belt System
As with other martial arts, the progress of a student is marked with a series of coloured belts. Unlike other martial arts where a Black Belt marks a person’s proficiency in a style, in Jiu-Jitsu the rank of Black Belt is conferred to individuals who have mastered the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The belts in order are: White, Blue, Purple, Brown and Black. Often schools award four stripes for White through Brown belts. Black Belts then progress through degrees typically awarded one degree every three years, based on skill level, teaching ability, and contribution to the art, up to tenth degree. There are special classifications for Black Belt fighters and instructors. Instructors have Black Belts with red bands and Black Belt fighters have white bands. Typically, Black Belt instructors are not permitted to promote others up to Black Belt rank until they receive their first degree.The ranks for children are different. Blue belt and higher ranks have age requirements so children have the following ranks beginning with White, Yellow, Orange and Green. Each belt has 4 stripes. These belts are utilized until age 16.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is famous for its informality and conservatism in regards to promoting students to a higher grade. This is largely due to the type of martial art that it is and the style that is used to teach it. There are few specific set “rules” about what a student should know before promotion occurs, and it is generally up to the instructor to decide if the student is ready for advancement. The success of Jiu Jitsu as an effective martial art is largely due to its teaching and grading methods which, as well as drills, techniques and fitness, places such a large emphasis on live sparring and associated performance in this, as well as competition. The individuals performance and skill level is one of the key foundations of grading. Therefore Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that places an emphasis less on theory and more on performance in application of the martial art, and students are graded as such.
It is an accepted principle to never promote a student before they are of a skill level equal to or higher than others of that level that they will be competing against, this ensures that students are promoted conservatively and are representing the sport and their school/team as best as possible. This policy of conservatism is a key aspect in making Jiu Jitsu one of the most effective martial arts in sporting and real life applications.
White belt (0 to 4 stripes)
White belt is the beginning rank for all Brazilian jiu-jitsu students. White belt is the first belt within Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The rank is held by any practitioner new to the art and has no prerequisite.
At this belt level, students will learn the basics of body movement both when standing and when on the ground. We introduce to them the concept of positional strategy. A number of more commonly faced self defence scenarios are taught, for example escape from headlocks and hair grabs. Sparring is introduced. Submissions are introduced but the main priority is on understanding position so in most
cases, white belts spar but without submissions.
Grey Belt System (grey+white, solid grey, grey+black: four stripes each belt)
As the student progresses, the techniques taught will advance on the basic fundamentals taught a white belt. There is more emphasis on transitions from one position to another and we begin to look a submissions in closer detail. Work on standing and ground based self defence scenarios continues as well as sparring. Sparring from set positions and sparring with specific submissions are also taught.
Yellow Belt System (yellow+white, solid yellow, yellow+black)
At yellow level, students expected to have a good understanding and be able to apply core basic techniques. They will be able to apply them when sparring and begin to utilise gameplan, strategy and tactics for sport jiu jitsu. There is more training on advanced guard and guard passing systems, submissions, transitions and other more advanced aspects as well as a continued study of self defensive scenarios.
Orange belt and Green belt system
Currently at TMATC, students who reach orange belt will more than likely be old enough to join the adults class. They will therefore follow the adult syllabus, albeit with special caution over techniques that are banned for under 16’s by the IBJJF system.
Beyond the junior belt system
There is no recognised grade of BJJ black belt for juniors. At the age of 16, junior students move on to adult belt system. In general, a student who has trained regularly for several years and is at least an orange belt, will be promoted to blue belt on the year of their 16th birthday. They are eligible to
compete in juvenile blue belt categories, but not full adult divisions until they are 18.
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a blue belt for a minimum of 2 years.
Blue belt is the second adult rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. At the blue belt level, students gain a wide breadth of technical knowledge and undertake hundreds of hours of mat-time to learn how to implement these moves efficiently. Blue belt is often the rank at which the student learns a large number of techniques.
The IBJJF requires that a practitioner be at least 16 years old to receive a blue belt, thereby officially entering into the adult belt system.
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a purple belt for a minimum of 1.5 years.
Purple belt is the intermediate adult ranking in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The purple belt level practitioner has gained a large amount of knowledge, and purple belts are generally considered qualified to instruct lower-ranked students. In other martial arts, students with a similar amount of experience are often ranked as a black (instructor) level belt.
The IBJJF requires student to be at least 16 years old and recommends they have spent a minimum of two years ranked as a blue belt to be eligible for a purple belt, with slightly different requirements for those graduating directly from the youth belts.
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a brown belt for a minimum of 1 year.
Aside from the exceptional belts awarded at the highest levels, brown belt is the highest ranking color belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Brown belt typically requires at least five years of dedicated training to achieve. It is often thought of as a time for refining techniques.
The IBJJF requires that students be at least 18 years old and recommends they have spent a minimum of 18 months as a purple belt to be eligible for a brown belt.
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a black belt for a minimum of 31 years.
As with many other martial arts, the black belt is the highest common belt within Brazilian jiu-jitsu, denoting an expert level of technical and practical skill. Estimates of the time required to achieve the rank vary, but all holders of this rank have thousands of hours of experience. Brazilian jiu-jitsu black
belts are often addressed within the art as professor, although some schools and organizations reserve this honorific for more senior black belts.
The IBJJF requires that a student be at least 19 years old and recommends they have spent a minimum of 1 year ranked as a brown belt to be eligible for a black belt.
Adherence to TMATC Code of Conduct
A student’s adherence to TMATC Code of Conduct will be considered in their grading. A student who continuously demonstrates an inability to do so will be advised accordingly, and may not be considered for grading until their behaviour is adjusted.
Demonstrated knowledge of BJJ expected of level
A student must be able to demonstrate knowledge of BJJ that is expected of their level. This includes being able to demonstrate a technique upon request, as well as during live sparring (as observed by the
coaches during classes). This includes, at a minimum, the basic BJJ movements such as hip escapes, break falls, and various warm–up drills (e.g. forward roll, bear crawls, etc.).
Safe execution of BJJ techniques
Safe execution of BJJ techniques is crucial to keeping an injury–free training environment. A student must be able to demonstrate their ability to execute BJJ techniques safely, without potential to cause injury to themselves and others. Various pinning positions, sweeps and escapes from different positions
Escaping various grappling holds from both ground and standing positions is a very important element of effective BJJ and self-defence. Students must be able to demonstrate a number of escapes from various holds and pins. This includes escaping side control, mount, headlocks and bear hugs. Depending on level, students must also be able demonstrate various submission escapes, such as rear naked and triangle choke escapes.
Pinning and holding positions are two of the key elements of effective BJJ. Students must be able to explain and demonstrate a number of pinning techniques expected of their level. This includes variations of side control, scarf hold, mount and knee ride. As grading advances, students will need to demonstrate their ability to move from one holding technique to another without the release of pressure from the opponent.
Sweeping is another key element of effective BJJ. Students must be able to demonstrate a number of sweeps from various BJJ guards. Novice belt levels will need to demonstrate sweeps from various open and closed guards (e.g. butterfly guard and half guard). More advanced belt levels (Green belt and above) must be able to demonstrate sweeps from more complex guards (e.g. X-guard, spider guard, De– La-Riva guard, etc.).
The most important thing to demonstrate, before any submission or takedown, is a student’s ability to effectively ‘tap out’. Tapping out is very important and all students must demonstrate their ability to tap out once they have been placed in submissions they cannot escape. Tapping out safely includes using various ways to let our training partners know we’ve had enough. This includes verbally saying ‘tap’, and physically tapping our opponents and the mats, using both hands and feet.
Throws and takedowns
Although BJJ is mainly a ground-based grappling art, students will still be required to demonstrate a number of throws and takedowns in both static and moving scenarios. These takedowns must be followed up with a groundwork technique, such as knee ride, side control or any other technique. Students will also need to demonstrate a number of counter attacking movements such as sprawling and grip fighting.
Strangles & Choking techniques
Students must be able to demonstrate an understanding of both choking and strangulation techniques. Students will need to show control when applying these techniques from positions such as back, mount, guard and side control. Additionally, students will need to be able to recognise an unconscious opponent and what to do in this situation (this is a possibility, although very unlikely if proper training etiquette is practised).
Joint locking techniques
Students must be able to demonstrate a number of Joint locking techniques expected of their level. These include arm locks, wrist locks, ankle locks, heel hooks, knee locks, toe holds, calf and bicep slicers. These techniques need to be applied from a number of different positions and setups depending on the student’s ability level.
Sparring ability and ‘flowing’
In addition to technical proficiency in submissions and takedowns, the ability to spar safely and effectively must be demonstrated. BJJ is a martial art, sport and a self–defence strategy, and therefore the ability to execute techniques in a live spar is a great demonstration of a student’s ability level. Equally important is the ability to ‘flow’ with a training partner, especially with someone that is at a lower level or has lesser bodyweight. This is a great demonstration of technical proficiency and will be considered in grading.
Demonstrate self defence
BJJ as a martial art encompasses self-defence elements. Students (especially children and teens) must be able to demonstrate basic self–defence techniques. This includes both techniques and the ability to assess, and escape from, a dangerous situation.