The fact is that most self-defense situations happen as a surprise, involve a larger attacker, quickly move to a very close range and eventually end up on the ground. Gracie Jiu Jitsu is the only martial arts system that has proven it self effective over and over with regard to these four criteria. Demonstrated to be so effective in the original Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), it is the official and only martial art used in the U.S. Army Combatives program.
One of the great advantages of this system is that it was developed by a smaller person who was looking for reasonable answers for the problem of having to fight a much bigger stronger person. Grandmaster Helio Gracie, the systems founder, was 135 lbs when he developed GBJJ. He quickly realized four things. First, an attacker is most likely to be bigger and stronger than you. Second, most real self defense situations start as a surprise attack and so you must be able to defend from such attacks in order to survive a self defense situation. These include headlocks, grabs, sucker punches, bear hugs, chokes, and gun, stick and knife attacks. Third, the last thing you want to do if attacked is get fatigued trying to defend against a superior sized attacker. Forth, a bigger taller opponent has really only one major advantage, the length of his arms.
Jiu-Jitsu, which means gentle art, is the oldest form of martial arts. The samurai clans in Japan adopted Jiu-Jitsu as their own traditional style to defeat an opponent regardless if the situation was striking, throwing, or grappling. With the passing years, they split the techniques and developed other martial arts styles, such as judo, aikido, karate, etc.
In 1914, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu champion Esai Maeda migrated to Brazil, where he was instrumental in establishing a Japanese immigrant community. His efforts were aided by Gastão Gracie, a Brazilian scholar and politician of Scottish descent. As an expression of his gratitude for Gracie's assistance, Maeda taught the Brazilian's oldest son Carlos the essential secrets of the ancient martial arts technique. Carlos taught Maeda's techniques to his four brothers, and in 1925 they opened the first Jiu-Jitsu academy in Brazil. For the Gracie brothers, teaching the art was more than an occupation. It was their passion.
One of the brothers, Helio Gracie, paid special interest to the use of the techniques. Helio being of small frame, light in weight (only 135 pounds), and in frail health, was 16 when he began learning Jiu-Jitsu. Being unable to participate in classes, he would sit and watch his older brother teach every day. One day when Carlos was unable to make it to class, Helio was asked to instruct. Because of his size and stature, he began to work with and adapt the basic rules of Jiu-Jitsu. He introduced the application of leverage to the art, making it possible for a smaller opponent to defeat a larger one. He began experimenting, modifying and enhancing the basic techniques to make them effective for a person regardless of his or her stature. Thus began the development of a new and more effective art - Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Helio's skills eventually enabled him to beat some of the world's greatest fighters. Helio's feats include the longest fight in recorded history - 3 hours and 45 minutes, nonstop - and the historic match against Masahiko Kimura, who was probably the greatest fighter Japan ever produced. Now in his 90's, Helio Gracie still teaches and is widely recognized as a living legend.
Helio's quest became today's Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art that is continuously evolving as a result of input from practitioners throughout the world.
The kid’s jiu jitsu program has three equally important goals:
First, we want to focus on winning character attributes that will help your child succeed in the future. Specifically we want to teach the children the three R’s. Respect , Responsibility, and Resourcefulness. We emphasize to the kids how important it is to demonstrate these attributes at home, school, and the academy. With these attributes in place and the physical skills of jiu jitsu in their possession you child will develop true self confidence. This confidence will go with them the rest of their lives and give them the ability to over come life’s obstacles.
Second, we want to introduce a life long love of fitness and combat the epidemic of childhood obesity in our nation. Classes are a great physical work out with lots of movement and all the elements needed to build a great athletic foundation. These include balance, flexibility, coordination, strength, speed, and cardio vascular conditioning. We will get your child in the best shape of their life while focusing on healthy lifestyle choices such as what to eat and drink as well as what we do not put in our bodies.
Third, we want each and ever child to have the confidence and physical skills to defend themselves against a larger stronger opponent. The two main goals here are to teach children how to effectively escape from being grabbed by an adult and to defend against another child without having to hurt them or risk being hurt themselves. Gracie Jiu Jitsu is the only martial art uniquely qualified to address these two goals.
I have never taken martial arts before, do you have a beginners class?
Great! If you are new to the martial arts then there will be no bad habits to break. Our classes are designed so you can begin right away and you will be learning the most basic techniques first. Then as you attend more classes the techniques build on one another, however, we never drift to far from the basics. The difference between a white belt and a blue belt, is a blue belt is better at the basics. The difference between a blue belt and a purple belt, is a purple belt is better at the basics, and so on.
I don’t know if I’m in good enough shape to do Jiu-Jitsu?
The truly great thing about the Chattanooga Jiu-Jitsu Academy is that we build our students from the ground up. It doesn’t matter if your overweight, underweight, tall, short, old, or young, there is a place for you to develop your self-defense skills and reach your physical fitness goals, and that place is the Chattanooga Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
Am I required to compete?
Absolutely not! We teach a self-defense system, not a sport based martial art. If students choose to compete in either Sport Jiu-Jitsu or mixed martial arts competitions, the Academy will support and help them in any way possible. But never will students be expected to compete, and competition performance has no influence on rank promotions.
What is the difference between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts?
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is the only martial art that effectively deals with self-defense in the standing and ground position, with an emphasis on the ground techniques. Statistics show that 95% of all street fights and violent attacks end up with one or both subjects on the ground. If you end up on the ground and have only trained in arts that focus on punching and kicking then you are in for a long day.
How long until I receive my black belt?
I can tell you if your immediate goal is to be a black belt then Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is not for you. It takes an average of about 10 years, which is substantially longer than most other martial arts. However, if your goal is to learn how to defend yourself then Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is just what you are looking for.