How can I check out a Gracie Jiu Jitsu class?

Anyone is more then welcome come and watch a Gracie Jiu Jitsu class in action! Some people prefer to watch a class first then decide if it’s the best for them. We can work around you to make an appropriate time.

What do I wear?

We provide you with a Kimono (the white/blue suit) for your first class or private lesson. Thereafter we provide Kimonos in a variety of colors and sizes for you to purchase. Men generally wear compression clothing under the pants and a shirt or compression top to cover your torso. Women wear compression clothing also or a one-piece swimsuit.

What do I bring?

Here is a quick list to check off before you arrive to your first class or private lesson:
•It is a good idea to arrive 10 minutes early to class so you can be introduced to the students training and become familiar with the dojo.
•Water bottle (there is a water fountain provided).
•Change of clothes if you want to shower afterwards.
•An open mind.
•It is also a good idea to not eat 30 minutes before class to prevent reflux.

Is there anything special I should know?

There are a couple of key thing you should know before you start your journey into Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

Basic Rules:

No eye gouging or hair pulling.
No twisting or grabbing fingers.
No slamming (picking someone up and dropping them).
No heelhooks (twisting the foot or knee).
No neck cranks.
Remember that Gracie Jiu Jitsu is designed to be trained safely without serious injury.These rules are to help keep you and your training partners safe and healthy.

If anything hurts at all during class repeatedly tap your partner three or four times with your hand so your partner can feel it. This will immediately notify you partner to stop the technique and reduce the pressure. If you arms are trapped use your voice or legs.

What is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

When the days of the Samurai came to an end, the gun replaced the sword, and new sportive ways to practice martial arts were developed. Eventually, in Japan many different variations of Jiu-Jitsu took shape, including Karate, Aikido, and Judo. But these arts were missing essential pieces of what the complete art of Jiu-Jitsu originally held.

This lack of reality created years of confusion in the martial arts community, a confusion that legendary Bruce Lee would later refer to as the ‘classical mess’. Bruce Lee was actually a student of Judo and did many studies on grappling while he was alive. He criticized traditional martial arts as being ineffective. The more traditional combat schools were simply practicing techniques no longer suitable for modern day combat, and with no way to safely test them, practicing these arts became like swimming without water.

It wasn’t until the sport art of Judo and the combat art of Jiu-Jitsu were introduced to the Gracie family in Brazil that the real art of Jiu-Jitsu would be brought to life again. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu (practiced as Judo) was introduced to the Gracie family in Brazil around 1914 by Esai Maeda, who was also known as CondeKoma. Maeda was a champion of Jiu-Jitsu and a direct student of Kano, at the Kodokan in Japan. He was born in 1878, and became a student of Judo (Kano’s Jiu-Jitsu) in 1897.

In 1914, Maeda was given the opportunity to travel to Brazil as part of a large Japanese immigration colony. In Brazil, in the northern state of Para, he befriended Gastão Gracie, an influential businessman, who helped Maeda get established. To show his gratitude, Maeda offered to teach traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu to Gastão’s oldest son, Carlos Gracie. Carlos learned for a few years and eventually passed his knowledge to his brothers.

Helio Gracie, the youngest son of Gastão and Cesalina Gracie’s eight children (three were girls), was always a very physically frail child. He would run up a flight of stairs and have fainting spells, and no one could figure out why.

At age fourteen, he moved in with his older brothers who lived and taught Jiu-Jitsu in a house in Botafogo, a borough of Rio de Janeiro. Following doctor’s recommendations, Helio would spend the next few years limited to only watching his brothers teach.

One day, when Helio was 16 years old, a student showed up for class when Carlos was not around. Helio, who had memorized all the techniques from watching his brothers teach, offered to start the class. When the class was over, Carlos showed up and apologized for his delay. The student answered, “No problem. I enjoyed the class with Helio very much and, if you don’t mind, I’d like to continue learning from him.” Carlos agreed, and Helio became an instructor.

Who is Helio Gracie?

Helio soon realized that due to his frail physique, most of the techniques he had learned from watching Carlos teach were particularly difficult for him to execute. Eager to make the techniques work for him, he began modifying them to accommodate his weak body. Emphasizing the use of leverage and timing over strength and speed, Helio modified virtually all of the techniques and, through trial and error, created Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In order to prove the effectiveness of his new system, Helio openly challenged all the reputable martial artists in Brazil. He fought 18 times, including matches against onetime world heavyweight wrestling champion, WladekZbyszko and the #2-ranked Judoka in the world at the time, Kato, whom Helio choked unconscious in six minutes. His victory against Kato qualified him to enter the ring with the world champion, Masahiko Kimura, the best Jiu-Jitsu fighter Japan has ever produced, and who outweighed Helio by almost 80 pounds. Kimura won the match but was so impressed with Helio’s techniques that he asked Helio to go teach in Japan claiming the techniques Helio presented during their bout did not exist in Japan. It was the recognition by the world’s best to Helio’s dedication to the refinement of the art.

At 43 years old, Helio and former student, Waldemar Santana, set the world record for the longest uninterrupted no-holds-barred fight in history when they fought for an incredible 3 hours and 40 minutes!

Widely regarded as the first sports hero in Brazilian history, Helio also challenged boxing icons Primo Carnera, Joe Louis, and Ezzard Charles.

They all declined.

A dedicated family man who exemplified a healthy life-style he was the epitome of courage, discipline, determination, and an inspiration to people everywhere. A modern-day legend, Helio Gracie gained international acclaim for his dedication to the dissemination of the art and is recognized as the creator of Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Is there a difference between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Yes. Gracie Jiu Jitsu is a complete Self Defense system using distance management, striking, clinching, takedown, joint locks, strangles/chokes, positional dominance and breathing exercises. All of our matches at started from standing unless in the positional sparring section of the class. Other BJJ schools might not cover all of these aspects and that would be the difference. Gracie Jiu Jitsu is a education and has a syllabus with structured classes and learning outcomes to help navigate new students through the wide world of Jiu Jitsu.

What is the Mat Etiquette?

1. Bow to the centre of the mat when you enter and bow to the centre of the mat when you exit.
2. Shake hands and greet all students and instructors on the mat once you enter the dojo.
3. Classes begin and end with a formal bow to the instructor and then to the picture of Helio Gracie, students lining up in descending grade order.
4. For safety reasons, if you are late stay by the side of the mat and wait for the permission from the Professor before entry.
5. For safety reasons, if you need to leave the mat or leave earlier you must ask permission from the Professor before leaving.
6. Absolutely no foul language or belching inside the school.
7. Keep finger and toe nails short and clean for everyone’s safety.
8. All students must wear the official Gracie Humaitá patches. The kimono pants and top must be the same color (white or blue). Wash the kimono at least once a weekly. A dirty kimono is a sign of disrespect.
9. The belt is represents your progress. Keep it on.
10. Refer to Black-Belt Instructors as “Professor”.
11. All metal objects, jewelry, piercing, necklace or other such items should be removed.
12. No shoes, food or drink on the mat.
13. No Cell Phones in the dojo area.
14. Enjoy!

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