BJJ Training in NYC
There are two approaches to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training in NYC—the tournament approach and the self-defense approach. The tournament approach is about learning how to succeed in BJJ tournaments. The self-defense approach is about learning the principles of Jiu Jitsu to prepare you for any of life’s challenges including (but not limited to) physical altercations. This typically means real world situations, but it can also apply to scenarios like those one might encounter in an MMA fight.
The Tournament Approach
With the tournament approach, fighters must learn the rules that have been adopted by BJJ organizations. By knowing these rules, they can avoid losing points or, worse, being disqualified. Fighters must then devise strategies that work within the rule system to win matches and tournaments. On top of learning these rules and BJJ techniques, fighters need to train inside and outside of their gym. Most training regimens include:
- Gi and Submission Wrestling (No-Gi) training;
- Conditioning: Running, cycling, swimming, etc.;
- Strength training: Lifting weights, calisthenics;
- Learning BJJ techniques and moves;
- Practicing isolation drills
Practicing isolation drills is key to the tournament approach because they recreate situations that are likely to arise during competitions. When fighters are placed in a control position, this allows them to perfect certain holds, devise ways to finish matches, and prevent escapes. When they are in a situation where they have been mounted, it teaches them how to prevent submission holds, stop additional attacks, and escape.
The Self-Defense Approach
The self-defense approach has a longer-term view of Jiu Jitsu training. It is a constant improvement and the benefits are far more impactful than competition wins. Like the tournament approach, it also incorporates conditioning and strength training, which may or may not take place in the gym, but the self-defense approach differs in how BJJ techniques are taught.
Instead of focusing on tournaments, the self-defense approach focuses on learning the fundamentals of BJJ, its principles and how its tactics can be applied to real-life situations. The manifesto of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is about ENDURING and ‘Weathering the storm.’
Helio Gracie viewed self-defense as not merely defending oneself from another person but using Jiu Jitsu’s principles to endure against any challenges in ones life.
Jiu Jitsu principles employed in the physical can also be employed to the metaphysical. In a physical altercation against a larger heavier opponent, a Jiu Jitsu student is taught to stay calm and employ defensive techniques until his or her opponent depletes their energy, at which point a counter measure is employed to reverse the control of the situation. This principle is also effective, when one faces a challenge in their life, such as stress. The student applies their learned skill in staying calm, defending and maintaining, while looking for the right opportunity to reverse or escape the situation.
The Difference Between Tournament and Self-Defense
To use an analogy to better explain the difference between the two, think of the ways a beginning musician learns their instrument. One way is to pick out songs, and then learn how to play them well. Another way is to learn scales and theory. Ultimately, both routes may produce excellent musicians. However, in practice, the former produces a musician who can play certain songs very well and has learned certain techniques that are very impressive, but they may find it difficult to deviate from the given structure of the song. The latter method, meanwhile, produces a musician who may not have perfect technique, but they appreciate how songs are put together and they are typically more capable of improvising.
Those who follow the tournament approach often end up like the musician who only knows how to play individual songs. Those who take the self-defense approach often end up like the musician who can improvise. As we meet the different personal challenges in our lives, we tend to require far more improvisation. The beauty if Jiu Jitsu is its scalability to be the right tool for everyone individual. Which approach do you prefer?
How long does it take to get my Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
There are a number of factors that go into evaluating a student’s progress and assessing their prospective promotion. Among the most common are … technical mastery of a given set of assigned techniques (typical in curriculum based learning) technical performance while sparring with other White belts and Blue belts, frequency of training hours logged in. Every coach places a different emphasis on which criteria they value the most, but it’s not uncommon to take a combination of all these factors into consideration. This means that the average training time needed for promotion to blue belt can be anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 years. Some people may do it in a year or less, others, especially if there’s a layoff from training to factor in, may take longer than 2 years.
How long does it take to get a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
The path from Blue Belt to Purple Belt is often one of the most arduous and it can be stated that it boasts the highest drop-out rates from any belt progression. A blue belt is seen as the most attainable, often cited as a consequence of grit,” just keep coming and you’ll get there”, and indeed from White Belt, there’s no other direction to go. Purple Belt however, is seen as the first sign of true competence and expertise in the art, so some will argue that it encompasses the biggest jump in skill level between belt progressions. In Jiu-jitsu, this progress and technical enlightenment is usually the consequence of countless of hours on the mat, most of those on the receiving end of more technical and experienced players. For this reason, it may take a Blue Belt, 2 to 3 years (with consistent training) to be awarded their Purple Belt. When you factor in the time it may take this student to get their Blue Belt (each belt progression journey can be different even for the same practitioner) the average White Belt may expect to get their Purple Belt in and around the 5-6 year mark in their training
How long does it take to get a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Purple Belt to Brown belt, like the previous climb in belt rank can also be quite the arduous journey. The difference being that Purple Belt is the halfway point, and at this point there has been a great deal of time invested in practicing the art/sport. An analogy that can be helpful would be the difference in skill level between a High School Basketball player, that same player’s skill level once they are a seasoned College level player, and how their skills may mature if they become a seasoned NBA pro … it wouldn’t be inaccurate to equate HS, College, and Pro to Purple, Brown, and Black, respectively. With all this in consideration, it may take the average Purple belt 3-5 years to be awarded their Brown Belt
How long does it take to get a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Obtaining a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a long and arduous task. It is perhaps one of the hardest (if not THE hardest) martial art to obtain a Black Belt in. This is due largely to the meritocratic nature of skill evaluation and progression that is inherent to the art. While there are differences between the competitive nature and physicality and fitness of Black Belts, there is always a testable baseline of technical performance and strategic understanding of how to play the game and use their skill set which can yield tangible results. This varies with the individual like it would for any other sport, even among the spectrum of professional NBA players, there are “average professionals” and there is Lebron James, or amongst musicians, there are wonderfully talented musicians and there are those that play New York Philharmonic. The average time a new White Belt may expect to reach Black Belt, barring any layoffs and keeping their training consistently is 10-12 years. There are always people who can obtain it in less time, prodigies and professionals like BJ Penn and Demian Maia have received their Black Belt in a 4 year time frame, and it’s not uncommon to see someone (due to life circumstances) need over 12 years to be awarded their Black Belt.
How often do I need to train to be good at Jiu Jitsu?
It is often thought that more is better. However in BJJ there may (for most of us) come a point of diminishing returns, especially in regards to the durability of our physical body. While there are people who train nearly every day, or multiple times a day, make great gains in skill and knowledge, they are also often plagued with injuries that may halt their ability to train. Striking the balance between maximum saturation and making your body holds up is imperative, and consistency will always remain key. However, the most important factor particularly as you advance through the ranks seems to be whether or not the practitioner takes ownership and responsibility for their own progress and uses and active and critical mind to make the most of analyzing all their hours on the mat. Someone who trains 3-4 times week can be assured to see great results
Is BJJ better than Muay Thai?
This will depend on your goals but mostly personal preference – Muay Thai is a very well rounded striking art incorporating not only boxing hands and trademark low line kicks, but also elbows, knees, and immersive clinch work. BJJ sits at the other side of the spectrum emphasizing more of the grappling aspect, both standing and on the ground, with minimal emphasis on striking for offensive measures. Muay Thai would also generally be a considered a more intense and high impact practice.
What are the belt ranks in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
The Belt Ranks for BJJ (for adults) are: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black Belt
Why is Jiu Jitsu so effective?
There are many reasons why Jiu-Jitsu is effective, particularly when compared to other more traditional striking martial arts, the most obvious is that it specializes in a range where a serous combat encounter most typically happens, in the clinch or grappling range. Even two combatants who are committed to striking each other, will through aggressive force unwittingly find themselves in this range and often be unable to avoid it if they do commit to exerting any form of offense (think of how often you see two pro boxers clinch or two street brawlers headlock each other and hit the ground) The other more nuanced element that makes Jiu-Jitsu so effective is their training methodology which places a premium on accomplishing their strategic combat goals against a resisting opponent. But unlike the striking arts, whose frequency of striking sparring is limited by nature of high impact injuries (usually in an effort to prevent major head trauma) BJJ sparring typically does not involve striking and this affords them the opportunity to spar much more frequently and often with a higher intensity that would not be possible with any consistency in the striking arts. This amplified time of perfecting their techniques in a resisting opponent tends to hone their skills more sharply.