Below are some frequently asked questions about Brazilian Jiu-Jjitsu. If your question isn’t answered, or you have a suggestion, please email us at info@smithbjj.com or call us at 678-438-0739.

Frequently asked questions

What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)?

Brazilian jiu jitsu is a sport, self-defense system, and a fitness program. It has proven to be the most practical and effective self-defense system in the world. It relies on leverage and technique, rather than strength and size. This allows you to defend yourself against much bigger, stronger attackers. As a result, BJJ is a great sport for everyone – including women and kids. It is one of the fastest growing martial arts, due (in part) to its great success in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and Mixed Martial Arts in general. BJJ focuses on grappling and ground fighting with the goal of getting into a position to force an attacker or opponent to submit or give up. BJJ is also an intense, aerobic and anaerobic workout so your overall health and fitness will improve, including your flexibility, strength, cardiovascular fitness, ability to burn fat, and muscular endurance.

Do I need to be strong, flexible, and in good shape?

No. You do not need to be strong, flexible, or in particularly good shape to start jiu jitsu. By practicing jiu jitsu, you will most certainly improve your strength, flexibility, and conditioning (plus balance, coordination, and more), but you do not need to have those traits to begin with. Disclaimer: Doctors’ recommend anyone who starts any strenuous activity, including Brazilian jiu jitsu, receive a physical examination to ensure they can safely participate in the program’s activities.

Who can / should do BJJ?

BJJ is for everyone – regardless of sex or age. Brazilian jiu jitsu was originally formulated for use by smaller, weaker people to allow them to defend themselves against larger, stronger attackers. In that way, jiu jitsu is perfectly suited for women, kids, young and old. Anyone and everyone can participate!

What do I wear for practice or to train?

You generally wear either a gi (sometimes called a kimono) or nogi attire to practice/train. If you are in your trial classes, you can wear any comfortable clothing and we will loan you the appropriate attire. When you sign up, you will receive a gi as part of registration. A gi consists of a cotton jacket, reinforced cotton pants, and a belt. It was adapted from the uniforms used in traditional martial arts like karate. When using the gi, you and your opponent have more “things” to hold onto and use against each other. We also practice and compete (for those who want to compete) without the gi. This is called “nogi” jiu jitsu or “submission grappling”. The “nogi” attire consists of fight/board shorts and a rash guard.

How should I prepare for my first class?

No preparation is required. Just bring your attire (gi or nogi), flip flops, and come ready to learn and have fun! If you don’t have a gi, you can borrow one of ours for your introductory class. Once you sign up, you will get a gi. If you already have a gi, ensure is without any other academy patch.

Do I have to compete?

No. The majority of people who learn and train jiu jitsu do not compete. Of course, competition can be a reason to set goals and a great way to challenge and test yourself. We encourage anyone who wants to compete to do so, but there is no expectation or requirement to do it. Come learn, get in shape, and enjoy the sport. You can decide later if you’d like to compete.

What are the belt rankings in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

The belt order for adults is: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, Black, Red/Black, Red/White, & Red. Some schools award “stripes” for white, blue, purple, and brown belt, based (typically) on time/ practice frequency. At Smith Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, we award stripes as follows: White: 1 stripe at each 30th class (appropriate level class required), up to 4 stripes. Blue, Purple, Brown: 1 stripe at each 100th class, up to 4 stripes. The decision to promote any individual from belt to belt is a subjective process based on criteria beyond simply participation. Generally, attitude, technical knowledge, and demonstrated skill are important elements for belt promotion with character traits, leadership, etc. become increasingly important at higher ranks. Kids, until 16 years of age, use a different belt ranking system which includes White, Gray, Yellow, Orange, and Green. This chart depicts the IBJJF belt ranking system that is generally followed by Smith Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

How long does it take to get your black belt?

The journey in jiu jitsu is much more rigorous that most other martial arts but when you see a black belt, you know it was earned. Although each person is unique, it generally takes between 8-15 years to reach black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. It takes 9 months – 18 months to go from white to blue belt and then 2-5 years each for the subsequent belt, up to black.

Is BJJ safe?

Jiu-Jitsu is a very safe sport, and safety is a core principle at Smith Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Our mat etiquette, curriculum design, practice process, and instruction methods all ensure safety first.

Is BJJ good exercise?

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is one of the best workouts you can get, and it provides far better results than a typical aerobic workout. It is also much more fun and interactive than most exercise programs, so you end up working out more and harder. Many people practice it primarily for the health / exercise benefits, which increase muscle tone and reduce body fat while improving your balance, coordination, cardio vascular capacity, and muscular endurance.

How do I get started?

Today is the day you can begin your journey that will definitely change your life. Click the Free Trial Link and Sign Up for a FREE Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class.

Why is BJJ is more effective than other martial arts?

Jiu jitsu has proven itself in actual 1-on-1 combat situations: (1) challenge matches, (2) the Ultimate Fighting Championship (Mixed Martial Arts), and (3) the military/law enforcement: 1- One of the primary methods of advancing the sport during its early development was to issue or accept challenge matches to test the art against other martial artists, fighters, and/or tough guys. Jiu Jitsu practitioners consistently won those confrontations, and losses or weaknesses that were exposed resulted in adjustments to the sport (less useful moves/positions were changed or eliminated and more effective techniques added). 2- Inspired by the challenge matches and subsequent videos, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was created in 1993 by Rorion Gracie, Art Davie, and John Milius to showcase the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Royce Gracie (Rorion’s younger brother) entered the first four UFCs. Despite being the lightest competitor in all 4 events, he won 3 of them (UFC 1, UFC 2, & UFC 4). He withdrew from the finals of UFC 3 due to dehydration. He didn’t lose a match and won 11 consecutive victories by submission, a record that still stands today. Perhaps the only more meaningful attribution to jiu jitsu is that every Mixed Martial Artist and nearly all serious martial artists now incorporate Brazilian jiu jitsu as a core part of their training program. 3- The US Army’s Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) is based largely on brazilian jiu jitsu, and its founder, Matt Larsen, is a black belt under Jacare Cavalcanti. These are evidence of jiu jitsu’s effectiveness, and they are also an explanation for its effectiveness. Most martial arts are based on philosophy or form but Brazilian jiu jitsu has always stressed reality as the ultimate arbiter of effectiveness. By testing the art against others, the sport evolved into one that works in real life situations. This is furthered by the fact that one can practice BJJ in class at 100%… basically in exactly the same way you might do it in real life. Most martial arts are based on powerful, fancy punches or kicks, but you can’t really practice those kinds of strikes at 100%, lest you render your partner unconscious or hospitalized. As a consequence, most martial arts practice in the air (forms), or they hit pads/bags/boards, or it is done at partial speed/power. Neither the air, boards, nor bags hit back. It is almost impossible to know whether or not the kicks would work in a real life encounter, and history has shown us that they often don’t — especially if the attacker/opponent is bigger or stronger. Since BJJ can be practiced at full speed, practice is almost exactly like a real life encounter. Every day you practice, you get instant feedback on what works and what doesn’t, and you are constantly adjusting your technique to improve effectiveness.

I'm not sure if BJJ will be right for me. Can I try a class before signing up?

YES! You can try out any of our Fundamentals classes for FREE.

I dont have a gi. Do I need to buy one to try out the class?

No. We will provide you with a practice Gi when you arrive for your FREE trial class. You should wear comfortable athletic clothing (tshirt or compression shirt, sweatpants or shorts or board shorts). Females – you will feel more comfortable with a top that is not low cut, plus a sports bra, and leggings.

I am over 40 years old. Am I too old to attend BJJ classes?

No, many of my top students are over 40! As long as you make sure to work within your own abilities and give yourself time to recover you will do great! Remember, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is based on technique and leverage, not athleticism or youth. Train smarter, not harder!

What is the basic etiquette while in class?

Keep your uniform clean Avoid foul language Respect everyone. The instructors are your friends, but you must still maintain good conduct. Show respect, get respect. Check your attitude and ego at the door. Bad attitudes will not be tolerated. Be on time for class (If late, ask the instructor for permission to enter class) Let the instructor know ahead of time if you need to leave class early Always bow or shake hands before rolling NEVER get too aggressive while rolling. You should pace yourself – don’t grind or crank away in order to get the submission No shoes on the mat Refrain from horseplay, talking, and interrupting while your instructor is teaching Keep yourself properly groomed Wear flip flops/shoes to restroom/shower

What is the difference between gi and no-gi?

Gi training involves wearing a cotton jacket and pants, while nogi (also written as no-gi and no gi) is normally done in a combination of a rash guard or t-shirt with shorts. The main difference between rolling with a gi and without is that the gi allows a person to slow things down and use position and technique rather than strength or speed. Physical attributes come into it a lot more with no-gi: though they’re certainly not absent in the gi, they can at least be negated to a certain extent by all the handles a gi provides. No gi is normally also, therefore, faster paced than gi.

What is a Gi?

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. Most practitioners of Jiu-Jitsu who advocate the usage of the Gi cite the more technical aspect of grappling with a Gi.

What is the youngest age you teach?

We recommend age 6 and over but really it all depends on the child. We want to make sure that this is a positive and fun experience for each child and therefore we would like them to be able to follow direction, focus and feel confident enough to get on the mat.

How mych does a membership cost?

The cost you pay per month depends on the type of membership you choose. Just a few bucks a day can get you enrolled in our award winning program(s). There are no hidden costs at all.

I'm a woman. Is BJJ right for me?

BJJ is an excellent choice for women. In terms of self-defense, BJJ is perfect from a female perspective, as it deals with the unfortunately common self-defense situations: BJJ features a lot of attacks and defenses when you are on the ground. It is also a martial art which was designed for a smaller person to overcome a larger one, which again has clear applications for women's self-defense.

Would BJJ benefit my child?

Absolutely! Jiu-Jitsu, which means “gentle art”, emphasizes the use of technique and leverage. So your child won’t have to rely on size, strength, or speed, while also learning to defend themselves and subdue their opponent in a safe way without having to rely on kicks and punches. Your child will develop physical awareness of balance, reflexes, flexibility and coordination, as well as build on the mental aspects of their personality such as self-esteem, discipline, confidence, compassion, and good work ethic. The classes are taught in a positive, fun, and friendly manner, so your child will enjoy learning the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What's a typical class like?

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). 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.