FAQ

Jiu-Jitsu began with Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese Jiu-Jitsu master and member of the Kodokan. Maeda emigrated to Brazil in the 1910s where an influential businessman named Gastão Gracie helped him get established. In return for his aid, Maeda taught the fighting art to Gastão’s son Carlos Gracie, who then taught the art to his brothers and sons. When Maeda taught the art to the Gracies he called it Jiu-Jitsu. The Gracie family refined this art form into what is now known as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu arms the practitioner with techniques for all phases of a self-defense situation, from protecting oneself and closing the distance while standing, to preparing for landing on the ground, to escaping from inferior positions on the ground, to achieving a superior position, and to subduing an attacker with a submission hold. BJJ prepares the practitioner for the dynamic nature of a self-defense situation.
A Gi (sometimes referred to as Kimono) is the uniform that is typically worn when training Jiu-Jitsu. It consists of 3 pieces: a jacket (or top), pants, and a belt. The material in which the three pieces are made is specially reinforced to withstand the rigors of daily practice. Many Jiu-Jitsu players regard their Gi in the same way a knight would their armor. Most practitioners of Jiu-Jitsu who advocate the usage of the Gi cite the more technical aspect of grappling with a Gi.
As with other martial arts, the progress of a student is marked with a series of colored belts. Unlike other martial arts where Black Belt marks a person’s proficiency in a style, in Gracie 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 are typically awarded one stripe every three years up to ten stripes. There are special classifications for Black Belts fighter and instructors. Instructors have Black Belts with Red bands and Black Belt fighters have White Bands. Typically, Black Belt instructors are not allowed to promote others up to Black Belt rank until they receive their first stripe. 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.
Typically, it takes anywhere from 8 to 15 years to attain the rank of Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu. Each belt (with the exception of Blue) takes about 2-5 years of dedicated practice; Blue Belt can often be attained in about a year of dedicated study.
At the Ann Arbor Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy safety is paramount. Accidents may happen, however, lack of seriousness during training and the resultant careless application of technique or counters contribute greatly to injury. Careless practice is disrespectful to the spirit of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can provide you with far more extensive results than typical aerobic exercise. The resistance encountered while rolling provides you with a good base to improve your core strength through intense abdominal workout, increase your muscle tone, and reduce you body fat while improving your balance, bodily coordination, cardio vascular capacity, and muscular endurance.
The best thing to wear to a first class is a shirt and shorts. A mouthpiece is also recommended and although it’s not required it is recommended that guys wear an athletic support.
We begin class with some light calisthenics and stretching. Following our warm-up we then begin drilling technique. These drills when done over and over help form muscle memory and help our students retain technique. After our drilling is completed then we begin to spar (or roll), except in Fundamentals 1 class. Rolling is when students are able to put their techniques to the test with training partners who can resist and counter just as they would in an actual fight, providing valuable real-world experience should the techniques ever need to be applied in an actual fight.
We invite you to take a free class. You don't need to setup an appointment, just drop in on a class. Note: If you're new to Jiu-Jitsu, we recommend you drop in on a Fundamentals class. Give yourself a few minutes to change and complete a waiver form. See our class schedule here.