Frequently Asked Questions

What is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has proven to be the most effective and most humane system of self defense, the only one in which a smaller person can defend successfully against a more athletic, bigger, stronger attacker. One of the reasons why this is possible is because its unique set of principles based in the philosophy of the founder of the art, Grand Master Helio Gracie.

What is the difference between the Japanese style and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

In the early 1900’s Mitsuo Maeda arrived in Brazil from Japan and started teaching Japanese Ju-jutsu. Due to his frail physique, Helio Gracie couldn’t perform the fast and explosive movements of this art. Instead he had to adapt and refine the techniques taught by the Japanese Master to make them work for him. By doing so, he created Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, a new martial art based on leverage, timing and natural body movements rather than strength, speed and explosiveness.

What are the principles taught by GM Helio Gracie that enables a smaller person to defend against a bigger opponent?

Some of them are:

-In a fight instead of exchange strikes one should learn to manage the distance to stay safe from potential knockout punches.

-The goal of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is to achieve a dominant position where he can control the fight, but also should be ready to remain calm and successfully react in the worst case scenario.

-When facing a bigger, stronger opponent, the Jiu-Jitsu practitioner must not worry about defeating his adversary. Rather, he/she should learn how to defend properly to avoid defeat at all cost.

-Gracie Jiu-Jitsu teaches that the only way to defeat a stronger opponent is by saving one’s energy and forcing the attacker to spend all of his in the process.

-The students should develop reflexes that will help them react instinctively in a real self-defense situation.

These and others basic principles along with the techniques that made them possible are taught and discussed in The Basics GJJ.

Why is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu considered the most effective form of self-defense?

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu had been put to test by the Gracie family for over 85 years in countless real street fights. It confirmed its superiority against other systems in 1993, when in the first 4 editions of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) the smaller fighter, Royce Gracie (Helio Gracie’s son), defeated bigger opponents from more traditional martial arts in a series of fights with no rules and no time limits. Watch

What are the techniques used in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t rely in flashy kicks or “deathly” punches like we are used to watch in the movies. Instead Jiu-jitsu relies mostly in grappling techniques using timing, leverage and natural body movements to apply takedowns, joint locks, chokes and minimal strikes. This is the most realistic and effective way to protect yourself and even have complete control of how much you can harm the attacker.

What is the difference between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Sport Jiu-Jitsu?

Grand Master Helio Gracie didn’t create a sport; he created a self defense system. In The Basics GJJ our priority is to prepare the student to successfully defend in a real street fight, where there is no points, no time limits and where punches and kicks are allowed. Most of the techniques used in sport Jiu-Jitsu, because they focus on competition, do not translate effectively in a self defense scenario, reason why we address them later in the curriculum to avoid creating unrealistic reflexes and a false sense of security in the beginner students.

The Basics Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’s goal is to prepare anybody regardless of physical attributes to be able to defend themselves in any situation rather than to train athletes for competitions. Finally, The Basics GJJ has a very well structured path, a nicely design curriculum that helps the student to have a clear idea of the training process. This, unfortunately, is not the case in most sport Jiu-Jitsu schools.

I’ve never been an athletic person and I’m not so young anymore, can I still learn the techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

GM Helio Gracie did not create a sport that only the young, athletic and strong can practice. He himself was not an athlete, so he developed a martial art with a set of techniques that anybody regardless of size, age or physical condition can perform. Besides, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’s unique teaching methodology has been perfected by three generations of the family, so we can guarantee that everyone can learn and execute the techniques 100% perfect.

I am afraid I’m going to get hurt if I decided to learn Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

There is nothing to be afraid. After each technique is presented the students would drill the technique with a cooperative partner (not a fully resistant opponent), because the idea is to build the reflexes and give the opportunity for the student to experiment with each position. The instructor will supervise that each drill is performed in a very controlled manner ensuring the safety of the practitioners. We encourage the students to help each other and to give each other feedback so they all can learn together and benefit the most from the class.

Is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu the same as Mixed Martial Arts?.

No. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is one of the styles that professional fighters have blend with other fighting arts to compete in Mixed Martial Arts events such as the UFC, which after its first editions decided to include rounds, judges, weight categories and points system to be more appealing to the general public. In the Basics Gracie Jiu-Jitsu we don’t train fighters for mixed martial arts events, we teach regular people to defend themselves in real self defense situations.

Why your slogan reads a “way of life for everyone”?

We believe that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is more than a martial art, is a way of life that everybody can practice and embrace. Because through the practice of the discipline, the student also learns important values that will help him deal with other aspects of their lives such as self-confidence, respect, patience, a healthy lifestyle (we will be giving tips of the amazing Gracie Diet), positive mindset and the list goes on.

How is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu different from more traditional martial arts such Karate or Tae Kwon Do?

All martial arts are important and contribute positively in the education of people. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’s approach is just different than the more traditional systems. There is a difference in the strategy, the mindset and the set of techniques used in a self-defense scenario. We believe in the efficiency of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu because its approach had been put to test by the Gracie Family and proven successful many times either in real street fights or in events where no rules and no time limits apply.

How kids can benefit from learning Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

In recent years, where the cases of bullying in schools have become more notorious, we believe that teaching martial arts as part of children’s education will help do away with bullying. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu offers a set of effective techniques that rely more on ways to defend, restrain, control and neutralize the attacker rather than using violent strikes. The child will gain enough self-confidence to stand up for himself and avoid the need to fight altogether.

More important, the confidence that can be passed to a child through Gracie Jiu-Jitsu will without a doubt transfer into everything the child does. Most children lack the confidence to face the bully so chances are they will lack the confidence to face future bullies or life obstacles. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a gift they will be grateful forever.