Archive for July, 2013

The first things people usually ask me about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is what is it and how do I get started.
If you are interested in bjj, start off with a little research. Start with a simple internet search on exactly what bjj is and if it is something that you want to give a try. I always make sure people have more exposure to jiu jitsu than what they get from watching the UFC. Granted the UFC has given bjj a lot of exposure. Sometimes the casual fan is not fully acquainted with what Brazilian jiu jitsu truly is. I want to build the jiu jitsu community and the only way is through education. The history of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is another good place to start.
After the basic education, the next thing a person needs to do is find a reputable gym. Look for jiu jitsu as close to the source as possible. What that means is find an instructor that is as close to the original Gracie lineage as possible. Time to do more research. Not to say someone further removed from the Gracie line couldn’t be a good instructor or that it couldn’t be a good school. It is just a good measuring stick of a quality school. Look for affiliations, look for quality equipment, and look for quality instructors. In this day and age of information, there is no excuse for not doing your homework on local schools. If there is no school close that is associated with a large group or association, try to find as much information about the schools you do find. Most quality schools will have a presence online. Then with websites like Yelp and others, reviews are a lot easier to find. Check to see if the school has a website. If so check out the instructor. See who he is associated with. See where he has trained and with who. I’ve know some very good instructors from smaller schools who just couldn’t afford some of the large association fees.
The next step, go visit the schools. Most schools will let you try a few classes if you want, but at least watch a class. Watch how the class is structured. Watch how the instructor teaches the students. Do they offer a beginners class? If you get a chance, talk to some of the other students. Try to get a feel for the school. Do you feel comfortable there? Do you feel comfortable talking with the instructor? Do they offer classes that will fit your schedule? Find out if you have to buy an academy gi or do they require a certain color gi. Do you need a gi to start classes or will they let you do a few classes without one. Once you decide to join a school this should definitely be your first purchase.
After you decide that this might be the place for you, now you have to handle the business transaction. Make sure you get all of the details. What are the monthly dues? Do they offer any specials? Do you have to sign a contract? Do they use electronic bank transfer? Are there any other fees associated with signing up? Some schools charge students a membership or association fee when joining. Make sure all the costs associated with the school are down on paper. Always make sure to look over any contracts before you sign up. Check to see if there is a fee if you want to cancel your contract. A lot of electronic bank transfer contracts have to have a 30 day notice to cancel. Then some will take an extra month out after you cancel. Make sure you ask all of these questions and more. Then get it all down in writing. Knowing all of these things up front will make your joining a school a lot more pleasant with no unexpected surprises.
This is just the first step on the journey. Be prepared. Do your homework and check out all of your options. Ask questions. Make sure you find a school that fits you. Jiu Jitsu schools are not always one size fits all, but remember jiu jitsu is. Now you have chosen a school. You have got your brand new gi. Time to hit the mats and train.


I have not made time to post in a while and figured I need to get back to it. My training schedule over the last couple of months has been horrible. I have maybe been getting one day a week of jiu jitsu and maybe one or two more days of workouts. I have had some sickness, a child in the hospital, and a relative pass away all here recently. The blog kinda took a backseat to life. Hopefully I am now back in the swing of things.
I will start off with my recent tournament experience. I competed at the Southeast Missouri Open. It was not a large tournament but a good solid start for a first annual region tournament. The guys at put on another very professional tournament. It was well run and well organized. The brackets were good with some tough jiu jitsu matches. Some of the best teams in the Midwest put on some very good matches.
Here is the rundown on how I did. Now understand I am in the blue belt masters division. This division is notorious for not having enough competitors to fill a bracket. So what usually happens is that we get thrown in with the young guys. No big deal. Well on this day they did not have a light heavyweight division, so I get grouped with the heavy/super heavy division. I am by far the smallest guy in this division with the largest topping out at 300 plus. Luck of the draw I get the first bye. My first opponent in the semifinal round is 6’5” 250. Myself I am 5’7” 201. I have to say I played a pretty good match and finished 11-0 on a solid tough opponent. This put me in the finals with only one match. Well with the move in division it placed me in the finals against a teammate. We have the rule as do most schools, we won’t compete against our teammates. So what do you do in this situation, we had an epic rock, paper, scissors battle to the death. Needless to say I am still here and crushed his rock with my paper. So I could not complain about my showing in the gi. Next was what they called an Old Man Superfight. I didn’t have anyone in the light heavy no gi division so I had a teammate from the main academy step and challenge me. By the way, thanks Michael Collins for the match. I was able to secure a darce choke and win the no gi superfight.
So all in all it was a good day and a great tournament. I was able to get some mat time. I felt good even though it had been some time since I had put in any hard training. I also received a very good compliment from a respected higher belt, and that was the best of all of it. It was a good day.