What’s the difference between BJJ and Judo?

While BJJ and judo share their origins, they should be considered entirely separate sports and martial arts. BJJ teaches a more ground-based grappling system and it is also more full-contact than judo; there are also fewer joint locks allowed in judo than in BJJ. Rule changes have been made to improve safety in judo which, along with the Gracie family’s desire to create a national martial art for Brazil, have seen a divergence of the two systems.

What’s the difference between ‘Gi’ and ‘No Gii’?

These are two different forms of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. A ‘gi’ is the traditional BJJ kimono that is normally worn during a contest (heavy cotton pants and jacket). ‘No gi’ grappling is a modern version where the kimono is replaced with board shorts, rash guards, or other alternatives. This style may be used in cage- style fighting events. We teach both versions here at the Roger Gracie Academy Milton Keynes. Find out more about our classes.

Do many women learn BJJ?

Yes, we welcome women at the Academy. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is increasingly popular for women as it teaches self-defence and is especially geared towards defeating larger opponents. It is an important way for ladies to feel safer and more confident, as well as the side benefit of losing weight.

What is ‘rolling’?

Rolling is another way of saying ‘sparring’. It is an important part of training, along with live drilling. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is geared towards actual performance rather than theory – what you learn is meant to prepare you for use in real life.

How does the ranking system work?

Like judo, there is a system of belts for indicating level of technical knowledge and practical skill with Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  However it has important differences to judo and is more based on competitive demonstrations of skill. There are differences between colours for youth and adult belts, a striping and degree system. Adult belts for 19-year olds and older are either black, red or white; for over 16 year olds colours are white, blue, purple, and brown; and for under-16s they are white, grey, yellow, orange, and green.

How do you win a BJJ fight?

A BJJ fight is won by forcing a submission from your opponent. This is usually due to holds such as joint locks or chokes; compression locks may also be used. A joint lock isolates an opponent’s limb and creates a lever with the body position which will force the joint to move past its normal range of motion, while pressure is carefully increased; a choke hold disrupts the blood supply to the brain. Submission is signified verbally or by tapping the opponent or the mat.

How long does it take to learn BJJ?

This is a difficult question to answer, as some might say there is always something more to learn with Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Progression through the ranks depends on your level of skill and commitment to the sport. Typically it might take 8-10 years to achieve the rank of black belt, providing there is a consistent training schedule.