Things you need to know about BJJ Belt System

The journey from white to black belt in BJJ

The belt system in BJJ is highly regarded, and for good reason. Unlike many other martial arts, where rank promotions can be acquired in relatively short periods and often with very little practical requirements, the Brazilian jiu jitsu belt system is quite strict and difficult to progress through.  You know that unless he ‘bought’ it from a scumbag instructor or awarded it to himself, the holder of a belt is usually at the expected level of competency.

It can take upwards of 10 years to achieve the dan (black belt) grade, and requires not only technical knowledge, but also verifiable ability in sparring. Competition experience is also often expected. And as there are only a few belts, you will spend a long time on each one. Also, your progress will not be linear. You might spend 1 year at one belt and 5 years at another. It’s both an extremely challenging and rewarding institution, and it’s no surprise that the community pounces on anyone who messes with it.

Belts Are Not Always Good Indicators of Ability

Belt promotions don’t always go with hand in hand with skill or even knowledge and vary according to the coach and student. Sometimes it’s just down to time in service. Or it can be closely related to the practitioner’s raw fighting ability and competition performance. In fact, sometimes competitive performance can even slow belt promotion as coaches ‘sandbag’ their best students to increase their likelihood of medalling at tournaments.

In jiu jitsu the different belt levels generally equate with the student’s ability. But keep in mind that the dynamism and complexity of the art means that there are many parts to the equation, with physicality and athleticism being two that weigh heavily. So don’t be surprised (or judgemental) when the 56 year-old businessman who just received his blue belt after 2 years of hard training is smashed by the 22 year-old linebacker who just started coming to class 3 months ago.

The Plateau is Your Friend

Within each belt level there will also be many invisible sub-levels.  You will often spend weeks or months on plateaus before being rewarded with a jump in ability. Sometimes it will actually seem as if you are getting worse instead of better. But the plateau is actually your friend and is itself an indicator of progress. It is those who have the mental strength to keep going when they find themselves on a plateau that break through to a higher level of ability.

No matter what, remember to enjoy the process.

Don’t be too focused on achieving the next belt or winning competitions and miss the ride.



3 Reasons Your Friends Should Try Jiu-Jitsu

Most of us students of Brazilian jiu-jitsu can not imagine our lives without going to the academy several times per week. At a social gathering some of your friends will ask how your jiu-jitsu is going and might express curiosity about what you do at the academy.

Many people are interested in trying a martial art or are looking for another fitness activity to get involved in, but they may be unsure what it is all about and how to get started. The best way for them to over come their inertia and inhibitions is to come along with their friend – YOU! and try a class or 2.

If you think they need a little convincing, here are 3 Reasons Your Friends Should Try Jiu-Jitsu:

1) See your friends more often

For most of us who are busy with work, family, and all of our other obligations, we don’t see our close friends as often as we would like. A bbq once or twice each summer and maybe a birthday party, but most of time we struggle to socialize with some of our favorite people.

If our friends are training at the jiu-jitsu academy a few times each week, it is FAR easier to stay in contact and keep the friendship strong. Due to the nature of close contact and cooperation of jiu-jitsu training, many friendships are made and strengthened in the academy.

There is no complicated arranging of schedules to meet – “I’m training Mon/Wed/Fri this week, see you there!”


2) Hang out with your friends while getting fit

Instead of meeting in a bar for happy hour, deep fried foods and alcoholic beverages to socialize, how about a fitness oriented activity?

It is far easier to adhere to a healthy lifestyle when you are surrounded by people who also eat healthy and who avoid self destructive behaviors like smoking and excessive drinking. Trying to quit smoking, drinking and get more active in your lifestyle?

You are also more likely to stay regular with your training if you know your friends will be expecting you at the academy. If you centre your socializing around a fitness activity like jiu-jitsu, you are “killing two birds with one stone” by working out and seeing your friends at the same time.


3) Making new friends and REAL face time

With most people owning a smart phone and connected to social media 24 / 7, we are starting to lose actually interacting with friend sin real life!

Consider for a moment how many of your friends that your primary interaction with them is to “like” a Facebook post or Instagram photo of theirs. While social media and online communication does make it easier to stay in touch with our social circle, it is not the same as REAL “face time” with our friends.

Many of us feel a little guilty about the amount of time we spend online and know instinctively that we should see our friends in person more often. Outside of work our opportunities to meet new people can be limited.

The jiu-jitsu academy is a great place to meet some new friends are the positive “can do” types of personalities that we want more of in our lives.

In addition to learning how to protect yourself and your loved ones, getting fit around a group of positive people is a great reason to invite your friends to come visit your academy and try a jiu-jitsu class.

So… Bring your friend to train and lets share the happiness of what Jiu Jitsu can bring to us!

Failure is Part of Success

In the minds of most people, including people who have never even tried a martial art, training in the martial arts represents a method for the development of the character.

Guilherme Goraib, Gracie Humaita Competitor, said the following :
“I have lost so many fights that I have learned how to win.”

He is nowadays one of the most successful jiu jitsu competitors from our team, including World Championship.

This has proven true for countless people from different walks of life who.have had their lives improved by jiu-jitsu.
Along with teaching the values of mutual respect, discipline, cooperation, jiu-jitsu can also teach us how to deal with failure.

One of the short comings of many motivational quotes is that they are high on inspiration but low on the specifics about how this is actually achieved.

Let’s take a closer look at one specific way that training jiu-jitsu helps the individual in their lives outside of the academy. Overcoming failure.

Many martial artists say that the jiu-jitsu black belt is the hardest black belt to earn in all of the martial arts.

If we look at our ability to overcome discouragement as a type of “mental muscle”, we understand how training jiu-jitsu strengthens the mind and character. When confronted with an obstacle, we can concede defeat and accept the failure. Or…we can draw a deep breath, examine the situation, learn what went wrong and adjust our strategy. Each time we do this, we strengthen that mental muscle.

The truth of not only training jiu-jitsu but in life in general, is that we deal with failure more often than quick successes.How often do you attempt a sweep or submission (that you expected to work!) only to have your training partner shut you down completely? The answer of course is in the thousands!

The jiu-jitsu mind is not to accept the failure and give up. It is for the mind to quickly look for another different solution. Instead of lingering and lamenting the failure, you leave that behind and look for the next best solution.

Your ability to adopt this mindset of :
A) Not becoming discouraged by failures
B) Learning from what went wrong and making a correction to your efforts
will be essential to your success on and off the jiu-jitsu mat.

In this way, your problem solving mind and resilience against failure are strengthened in jiu-jitsu training.


Side Control: 5 Tips For You

You have defended the triangle, passed your opponent’s guard and achieved side control…Now what? How do you keep the position without your opponent recovering their guard and squandering all of your hard work?

Side control can be the most secure top position with numerous submission possibilities, but requires some technical details to be effective.

Here is a 5 point Side Control check list for you:

1) Control the head

The best way for your opponent to escape your side control is to turn in towards you. By controlling the opponent’s head with a “cross face” you prevent their ability to turn and face you. Applying pressure with your shoulder is critical to controlling the head! There is a saying in bjj: “If you control the head, you control the body”

2) Get the underhook

After your opponent replacing the guard, the next biggest threat to them escaping is for the bottom person to dig an underhook and use that to get to turtle position (or even take your back!) Your job on the top position is to get the underhook and prevent your opponent from squirming up and out towards your back. This is one of the things your coach will be shouting at you from the side of the mat.
* Important! Whoever gets the underhook is likely dominating the position!

3) Apply your bodyweight

UFC fighter and top grappler Josh Barnett says “There are no free rides on the bottom!”
What does this mean?
Barnett is saying that the top guy should be applying their bodyweight on the bottom. It should not be easy for the opponent to move and breath if you are applying your bodyweight and pressure! When your opponent is uncomfortable, they make mistakes and leave openings for your submission attacks.
* Tip: If your knees are on the mat, your bodyweight is likely on the mat and NOT on your opponent.

4) Keep them flat

Most of the best escapes from side control must be executed when the bottom person is not flat on their back and gets onto their side. Your job is to keep applying pressure by driving in with your weight to keep them flat.
Toes on the mat, drive forward into the opponent pushing them flat. Don’t rely only on squeezing with your arms…use your ENTIRE body!
* Tip: If you have the underhook, drive the shoulder you are using to underhook into their far shoulder to drive them back flat.

5) Change side controls

There are in fact several different variations of side control – (in addition to the cross face / underhook common variation).

Scarf hold / kesa gatame
Reverse scarf hold
Knee on belly…etc

As your opponent changes their strategy to escape, you must also adapt your position to counter their movements. Be willing to move along with your opponent instead of being static and stiff and giving them an opening.
ex. Opponent is attempting to put a knee inside to regain their guard > change you underhook hand to use to block their leg from sneaking inside for guard.

Keep it in mind and use it next time you train. See you on the mat!

Gracie Humaita BJJ Australia Wins the Central Coast BJJ Open 2016

Once more our Competition Team had an awesome performance on the weekend and won the Overall Academies Result at the Central Coast BJJ Open, great event organized by Tiago Ferreira and Alex Prates.

Congratulations to all instructors, competitors, students and supporters, WELL DONE!COMP

*In this photo Gracie Humaita Coaches Hugo, Marcos Nevel and Alex Prates.

Father Day Sale!

It’s Father Day and we are celebrating with a WEEK LONG SALE from August 29th – September 6th.

We’ve got some great discounts on bjj gear going, all official Gracie Humaita Australia wear especially for or from DAD.
ACADEMY HOODIES- $40 | ADULT JUMPERS- $35 | KIDS TRACKIES- $29 | ADULT TRACKIES- $39. This sale is In House ONLY- Stop by the academy to check it out!