Learning Brazilian Jiujitsu

 in London - Sherbourne Martial Arts Academy: SMAA

Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

- first and foremost it's about survival...


Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an ambitious goal no matter who you train with.  Whether the club focus is self defense or tournaments, or a combination of both, you are beginning to train in an art that is more complex than most in its applications.   You will progress more quickly in the direction you want to take if you have clear goals at the onset of your training that match the programs and training emphasis within the club you choose to train at.


Our approach at SMAA/WKKJO to teaching BJJ is not soli about learning “fighting” techniques, or how to use a point system to win a match – but to employ self -defense strategy - starting with position before submission is the key to success in learning the “gentle art” and defending yourself with Jiu Jitsu. It is often necessary to bait the opponent in order to gain superior position and this allows you to progress to a submission, rather than forcing your way to a finish. When learning: it does not benefit you or your partner to sit in a position of endless stalemate. If your opponent wants something it is sometimes more advantageous for the learning process to give them better position, and then attempt to anticipate their movement and defend yourself accordingly – this is an exploratory approach to learning, and we believe this benefits both sides in the journey of developing appropriate responses when practicing and learning Jiu Jitsu.


Beginners in BJJ (white belts) should first seek to understand the importance of alignment (base, posture, structure) and position (both superior positioning and inferior positioning). Once a solid foundation is laid and the student becomes adept at the fundamentals, the student can then explore defending or marginalizing attacks, controlling the opponent, and maximizing overall positioning.  Great progress is made by asking questions of their seniors. Through this process, students can explore and learn by asking their respective partners about weaknesses in certain areas – what works, and what does not work as they roll through techniques on the mat with their partner. Senior students are then viewed more as coaches to assist the junior students, rather than competitors or obstacles standing in the way of personal triumph or success in competition.


After the beginner student has gained a firm grasp on the basics and has navigated through trial and error to understand the importance of basics and positioning, the student can then take things to the next level by experimenting with finishing techniques to eventually achieve high levels of competency with submissions. It is hard to effectively get to "C" if you don't know about “A” and B", or how to navigate efficiently between them.


The WKKJO is also the home of Gracie/BJJ Self-Defense in London, Ontario.  This system of self-defense is widely known to be one of the most comprehensive and practical sets of self-defense practices in martial arts and real world applications.  New developments have and are also being incorporated in this curriculum to keep the applications current.


Tempering the Mind and Body for the purposes of Self-Improvement, Self-Regulation and Self-Defense:


When you engage yourself in a practice that requires you to be in the continuous pursuit of self improvement, then this is the state of mind that you perpetuate.  This applies to not only your acquisition and application of technique, but to your character and overall interactions with others you encounter every day. Your approach should gradually transition from being more focused on self improvement, to one of making adjustments to improve your day to day life and that of others around you.  Through consistent daily practice and self correction with guidance from a skilled teacher you will move toward knowing and realizing your potential abilities.


This does not mean doing the same thing over and over… but it does mean repeating movements and making adjustments to fine tune your movements toward the mastery of technique and related applications.  Martial arts are generally for individuals looking for a way to improve themselves. They are reflective practices unlike other sports that focus on the aspirations of the team and the coach; Jiu Jitsu in this case focuses on the development of helping people realize their potential and stretch their capacities to do so with regard to: self-improvement, self-regulation and self-defense.   


A person who embarks on this journey will not only be stronger as an individual, he/she will also be a more capable and responsible team member.  Your vision of your new and improved self can only be manifested if you take the risk to invest in yourself in this way.


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