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What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Brazilian jiu jitsu is a grappling-based martial art whose central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him or her to submit. Due to the fact that control is generally easier on the ground than in a standing position, much of the technique of Brazilian jiu jitsu is centered around the skill of taking an opponent down to the ground and maneuvering for dominant control positions from where the opponent can be rendered harmless or submitted.  If you have seen a UFC or MMA fight, it is what is happening when the fight is taken to the ground.

What should I expect for my first class?

Stepping through the doors is one of the hardest parts of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Once you step inside the gym, take off your shoes, as we don't allow outside footwear on the mats.  You should be greeted by one of the instructors or students.  From there, you can get changed into shorts and a t-shirt or a gi and will be asked to join the rest of the team on the mat area.

Our Kids and Fundamental classes follow the same format.  We spend 15 minutes warming up with drills and exercises that help with your fundamental movement in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and ensure your muscles are loose.  We then spend 45 minutes going over the technique of the day with time to drill each aspect of the technique.  We then spend the remaining 15 minutes doing  development drills to enforce the technique we learned with increasing resistance from our partners.  For kids, we also play games that help with the fundamentals of BJJ which are fun and challenging for all ages.

For advanced class, we follow the same structure as above but increase the class time by 30 minutes.  These 30 minutes are used for positional sparring and full rolling.

What is 'Rolling'?

Rolling is another word for sparring.  We use this time to use all the techniques we have learned with the goal of controlling and submitting your partner.  Partners can 'tap' on the ground, on their partners, say the word "tap" or all 3 at once to instantly stop the rolling session.  Your goal in rolling is to control your opponent and use techniques that apply leverage on their body that forces the partner to admit defeat by tapping or essentially making them say 'uncle' or 'mercy' like when we play wrestled as kids.  Because we are a team, our partner's safety should always be the top priority when rolling.  We roll to learn, not to win.

Do I have to Roll?  Can I choose who I roll with?

In kids and fundamentals class, we do not focus on rolling but do focus on drills that take you through the techniques.  Ultimately it is your decision if you want to roll and who you want to roll with.  The goal is for you to become comfortable enough that you can roll with anyone.  If you are concerned, talk to the instructor and they will partner you with a more advanced partner who can show you the correct movements without worrying about getting hurt.

Do I need to be fit or have martial arts experience before attending a class?

Not at all.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will help you get fit and our fundamental and kids programs allows new students to start at anytime throughout the curriculum with no previous knowledge needed to attend.

Can I try a class before I sign up?

Yes, in fact, you can try a whole week of classes before you sign up.  While everyone can do BJJ, it definitely isn't for everyone and we want to ensure everyone can try it and make an educated decision on if they like it or not before having to even think about paying money for classes.

Do women train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Absolutely!  BJJ is for everyone.  We work hard to create a non-intimidating environment for all genders, ages, races and sexualities.  So long as you bring a positive attitude to the team, we are happy to roll with everyone.

Will I get hurt?

While in Japanese, 'Jiu Jitsu' translates to 'the gentle art', it is still a physical sport and there are possibilities of being injured.  At Kootenay BJJ, we strive for a safe environment that focuses on using correct technique and leverage over force which minimizes potential injuries.  BJJ is a unique martial art in that you can train realistically, using near maximum force, without hurting your training partners.

What is a Gi?  Do I need to wear one?

A gi is the traditional robe that is worn during class.  Our kids class and fundamentals program focuses on techniques that work anywhere so you don't have to wear a gi to these classes.  For our advanced classes, we focus on both self-defence and sport techniques which include the use of the gi.

It is recommended to purchase a gi and a belt in order for you to gain the full understanding of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  You will need a gi and a belt to receive promotions on your Jiu Jitsu Journey.

What are Belts?

Jiu-Jitsu uses a color system adopted from the Judo belt system to signify the level of knowledge of a BJJ practitioner. Each colour belt also has four stripes which measure progress through a particular rank.

  • White – all beginners start at white belt – you have to start somewhere, right?
  • Blue – a blue belt should have a firm grasp on the fundamentals and has usually trained for about two years.
  • Purple – at this level BJJ practitioners should be starting to use pure leverage rather than force.  You can teach other students at this level.
  • Brown – brown belts have a skillful, precise, practiced, and proficient understanding of the sport.
  • Black – a black belt denotes an expert level of knowledge in BJJ.

Should I wash my Gi?

Yes! You should wash any gear that you used after every practice.  Because this is a sport where our bodies touch it is important to wash your gear and yourself to stop potential bacterial infections such as staph or ring worm.

Gis can shrink when put in the dryer, so ideally hang dry the gi for best results.

How often do you clean the mats?

At Kootenay BJJ, we take pride in offering a clean environment to train in.  Our mats are swept, vacuumed and mopped twice a day, everyday that we have classes.  The mats are first swept, sweeping all dust and debris off the training surface.  The collected dust and debris is then vacuumed and finally the mats are mopped using an athletic surface disinfectant that is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria, is virucidal* including staph, ring worm, HIV-1, HCV & HBV and inhibits the growth of mold and mildew and their odors.