Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Our training method
At Team UCT we strive to help students get the most out of their training. For students with consistency and dedication, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu becomes a life-style and students can readily enjoy all the benefits of the Jiu-Jitsu of the ‘Gentle Art’.
Working from the assumption that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu must be embraced as a lifelong journey, we at Team UCT have developed an effective learning plan or program of study that allows for students to naturally progress from the white belt to the black belt. Thus, classes and their respective curriculum at Team UCT are not isolated from one another, but elements of a larger structured learning plan.
The 5 main elements of the program:
- Curriculums: Set of coordinated techniques organized in the best possible way to facilitate students’ learning processes. Divided in blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and black belt curricula.
- Class: The defined period of time during which the student learns the techniques that comprise the curricula using several different training methods or appropriate instructional techniques
- Training Methods: Specific drills and training practices designed to convert the knowledge represented in the curricula and taught by the instructor into knowledge and skills
- Minimum Attendance: minimum attendance required from the student so him or her can progress and be updated with the Team UCT Curriculums
- Specialized training: minimum attendance required from the student at technique specific seminars given by specialists.
All Team UCT students have the dream of becoming a black belt. However, this is not an easy goal and a lot of consistency and dedication is required. To fulfill the promise of facilitating students’ learning, Team UCT’s classes are structured logically to keep students motivated to learn, practice and perform.
A typical Team UCT student starts with an introductory class, where he or she will learn the overall self-defense strategy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a beautiful art and everyone is capable of learning it and enjoying its many benefits. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has succeeded in improving the life quality, self-esteem, discipline and health of thousands of individuals around the world, as well as building some of the best MMA fighters ever known.
The official uniform of Jiu-jitsu in which you will be training is called a "Kimono" or "Gi". This uniform consists or 3 pieces: a jacket or top, a pair of drawstring pants (usually padded at the knees) and a belt. The uniform is made out a specially weaved cotton material that will be able to withstand the rigorous practice of Jiu-jitsu without immediately tearing. Your Kimono should be kept as clean as possible and treated as your armor.
Why Train with the Gi?
As you practice Jiu-jitsu, you will find it useful as both an offensive and defensive tool; you will also realize its value as a common uniform to promote safe and technical practice of Jiu-jitsu.The gi game obviously has a lot more to it. Everything that can be done with the gi can not always be done without it, making it a more complex game. Additionally, taking away the gi allows physical attributes such as size strength and slipperiness to come to play with greater effect due to the lack of levers and friction. Working with the gi is generally considered more of a 'thinking man's' game. Not that no-gi isn't, it's just that the gi removes many physical advantages and ads more techniques.
For now, you should view your kimono as a set of training wheels. As you develop a higher level of proficiency, you will learn to perform Jiu-jitsu techniques both with and without a kimono. For now, the kimono will add a level of sophistication to your game that will result in you as a student becoming a more advanced and technical fighter.
About Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
The benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are far reaching and will touch every aspect of your life. At Team UCT Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, our students become leaders. UCT International nurtures your independent thinking, supports your fighting spirit, and helps you achieve your personal BJJ goals.
Through Team UCT BJJ, you will begin to understand yourself, on and off the mats, in ways you never imagined. You will test your limits and become the best you can be. Team UCT respects that each student has their own goals and we support you in reaching them. The more you train, the better you will become and the more completely you will reach your true potential in life. Team UCT BJJ is for anyone who wants to learn how to defend him or herself in combat. What most people don’t know, is that Team UCT BJJ will also allow you to apply those same principles to fighting the daily battles of life, like weight loss, stress, relationship issues, and self-confidence. You will learn how to think through problems more constructively than before, on and off the mats.
At Team UCT, you are a part of an extended family. You will join a team that will support you in your quest for self-improvement. Training the techniques and participating in live training sessions, with your partners and coaches, will give you an arsenal of weapons at your disposal whenever you should need them. The more you train, the more you will arm yourself with knowledge and skills to fight all your battles in life like a black belt.
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is taught at UCT International is strongly influenced by several well known and some lesser known BJJ Instructors from around the world. It started all with the Instruction by Cadu Francis. Sifu Benno Wai started his training with him in 2005. Since then he has trained under the likes of Mathieu Peters, Remco van Baardewijk and Vagner Boca. Sifu Benno Wai eventually got his Black Belt after being tested by Remco van Baardewijk from Vagner Boca.
Throughout the years of training Sifu Benno Wai and his training partner Pele Nguyen have had great instruction training sessions with the likes of: Marcello Garcia, Joao Miyao, Tiago Barros, Saulo Ribeiro, Marco Barbosa, Vagner Boca, Mauricio Christo, Cadu Francis, Eduardo de Lima and others.
Along this way of training Sifu Benno Wai and Pele Nguyen keep aiming to improve their technical skills as to pass the information on to their students.
Sifu Benno Wai and Pele Nguyen together with their Assistant Instructors run Team UCT as a very technical, ever evolving BJJ / Submission-Grabbling team in a very friendly atmosphere.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu Levels
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ranking system is a means of signifying a practitioner’s increasing levels of technical knowledge and practical skill within the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Colored belts that are
worn as part of the uniform are awarded to the practitioner. While the ranking system's structure shares its origins with the Judo ranking system and that of all colored martial arts belts, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ranking system grew to incorporate unique aspects and themes. The system has minor differences from Judo in areas such as a division between youths and adults and the issuance of stripes and degrees. Some distinct differences have become synonymous with the art, such as a marked informality in promotional criteria, a focus on a competitive demonstration of skill, and a conservative approach to promotion.
White belt is the first belt within Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The rank is held by any practitioner new to the art and has no prerequisite. Some instructors and other high-level practitioners think that a white belt's training should emphasize escapes and defensive positioning since a white belt will often fight from inferior positions, especially when training with more experienced practitioners. Most academies will additionally require that a white belt level practitioner works to obtain a well-rounded skills set, with a knowledge of basic offensive moves, such as common submissions and guard passes.
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a blue belt for a minimum of 2 years. Blue belt is most often the second adult rank in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu. At the blue belt level, students gain a wide breadth of technical knowledge and undertake many hours of mat-time to learn how to implement these moves efficiently. Blue belt is often the rank at which the student learns a large number of techniques. The IBJJF requires that a practitioner be at least 16 years old to receive a blue belt, thereby officially entering into the adult belt system.
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a purple belt for a minimum of 1.5 years. Purple belt is the intermediate adult ranking in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The purple belt level practitioner has gained a large amount of knowledge, and purple belts are generally considered qualified to help instruct lower-ranked students. The IBJJF requires student to be at least 16 years old and recommends they have spent a minimum of two years ranked as a blue belt to be eligible for a purple belt, with slightly different requirements for those graduating directly from the youth belts.
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a brown belt for a minimum of 1 year. Aside from the exceptional belts awarded at the highest levels, brown belt is the highest ranking color belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Brown belt typically requires at least five years of dedicated training to achieve. It is often thought of as a time for refining techniques. The IBJJF requires that students be at least 18 years old and recommends they have spent a minimum of 18 months as a purple belt to be eligible for a brown belt.
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a black belt for a minimum of 31 years. As with many other martial arts, the black belt is the highest common belt within Brazilian jiu-jitsu, denoting an expert level of technical and practical skill. Estimates of the time required to achieve the rank vary, but all holders of this rank have thousands of hours of experience. Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts are often addressed within the art as professor, although some schools and organizations reserve this honorific for more senior black belts. The IBJJF requires that a student be at least 19 years old and recommends they have spent a minimum of 1 year ranked as a brown belt to be eligible for a black belt.
Black / Red belt (Coral belt)
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a black & red belt for a minimum of 7 years. When a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt reaches the seventh degree, he or she is awarded an alternating red-and-black belt similar to the one earned at the sixth degree in Judo. This belt is commonly known as the coral belt. Coral belts are very experienced practitioners, most of whom have made a large impact on Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and are often addressed within the art by the title master.
White / Red belt
The IBJJF requires a practitioner remain a white & red belt for a minimum of 10 years. The International Brazilian jiu-jitsu Federation recently amended the graduation guidelines with respect to the transition between seventh degree and eighth degree black belt. The transition is specifically noted on page 6 of the IBJJF General System of Graduation, Section 1.3.4. In short, a practitioner who has achieved the rank of 8th degree black belt will wear a red and white belt.
The 9th degree red belt is the highest rank awarded to any currently living practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. According to Renzo & Royler Gracie, in Brazilian jiu-jitsu the red belt is reserved "for those whose influence and fame takes them to the pinnacle of the art". It is awarded in lieu of a ninth and tenth degree black belt. If a practitioner receives his or her black belt at 19 years old, the earliest they could expect to receive a ninth degree red belt would be at the age of 67. Brazilian jiu-jitsu red belt holders are often addressed within the art by the title grandmaster.
Technical and conceptual knowledge are judged by the number of techniques a student can perform, and the level of skill with which they are performed in live grappling, allowing smaller and older practitioners to be recognized for their knowledge, although they may not be the strongest fighters in the school. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a distinctly individual sport, and practitioners are encouraged to adapt the techniques to their body type, strategic preferences, and level of athleticism. The ultimate criterion for promotion is the ability to execute the techniques successfully, rather than strict stylistic compliance.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu has had an informal approach to belt promotions, in which one or more instructors subjectively agree that a given student is ready for the next rank. In recent years some academies have moved toward a more systematic, formal testing approach, especially true for lower ranked students, where the decision to promote is arguably the least contentious. One of the first instructors to publicly publish formal testing criteria was Roy Harris, who has formalized his promotion tests from white belt to black belt. Formal testing is now becoming more common at we at Team UCT follow the previous mentioned testing criteria.
Students are generally encouraged to compete, as this can help her or him gain experience. Competition allows instructors to gauge students' abilities while grappling with a fully resisting opponent, and it is common for a promotion to follow a good competition performance. At Team UCT and most other academies, competing is not essential for promotion, but in a minority of schools, competing is not only endorsed but is required.
Stripes / degrees
In addition to the belt system, many academies award stripes as a form of intra-belt recognition of progress and skill. The cumulative number of stripes earned serves as an indication of the student's skill level relative to others within the same belt rank. Stripes may consist of small pieces of cloth sewn onto the sleeve of the belt, or simple pieces of tape applied to it. Although the exact application, such as the number of stripes allowed for each belt, varies between institutions, the IBJJF sets out a general system under which four stripes can be added before the student may be considered for promotion to the next belt. Stripes are only used for ranks prior to black belt. After black belt is achieved, the markings are known as degrees and are awarded formally. Time-in-grade and skill level are both important factors.
Team UCT Passport
At UCT International all students receive on becoming a member the UCT Passport. In this passport the student can document his or her development in the arts taught at UCT International. The BJJ student can document here his level in BJJ.
Benefits of training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
In addition to being a very effective combat sport and self-defense method, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also offers its disciplined practitioners a variety of health benefits. It is an art that is extremely rigorous and difficult to master, and through this arduous process martial artists can expect to gain significant physical and mental benefits. There is perhaps no other form of combative training that can refine a person's mental faculties like martial arts can. Spiritual fulfillment is one of the hallmarks of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is integral in helping a practitioner be in control of several extreme emotions like fear, anger and anxiety. A person that learns to handle the emotional rigors of competition is well-equipped to handle the stresses of everyday life. You can be the best in your training program but you won't last two seconds in a tournament if you don't have your wits about you. If you are not capable of pushing through a tough situation, you are going to have trouble performing the way you were trained to.
This mental toughness carries over into all walks of life.
The first health benefit a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner can expect to gain is increased stamina. This is because of the long duration of the physical demands of practice. The average class length ranges anywhere from one to two hours. This is not idle time, this is time spent in motion, going through calisthenics, technique and sparring. Even the most fit individuals can expect to feel depleted by the end of a session. Over time and with consistent attendance to regular classes you will gain the ability to complete these grueling sessions feeling more composed and prepared.
The second health benefit you can expect to receive from practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to see greatly increased strength. Almost every class will incorporate some type of strength training or sparring. Sparring is when two students go over the live application of techniques in free motion. Strength is essential in order to apply the techniques. Also, the practitioner will develop more flexibility, endurance, isometric strength and explosion.
There are literally an infinite amount of techniques and positions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Expect to have your memory worked to its very limits. An arm bar, for example, is just one movement but there are hundreds of ways and angles with which to apply this attack.
Patience and perseverance
Patience is perhaps the most important benefits of practicing this art. This sport takes a lifetime to master, and even those who have achieved technical mastery will still face occasional defeat in competition or in the academy. It requires one to set aside the ego, and look for honest improvement and growth- no easy task.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as self-defense
Since Jiu-Jitsu allows a small and weak person to submit bigger opponents with the use of proper techniques, especially when the aggressor has no ground fighting knowledge, its use as a self defense system has increased over the last years. It's effectiveness has caused it to be recognized and incorporated into a variety of programs, from top military special forces to women's self-defense. In mixed martial arts, proficiency in grappling and ground fighting has become a prerequisite, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu remains one of the most dominant martial arts in MMA.
History of Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Brazilian jiu-jitsu was formed from Kodokan Judo ground fighting (newaza) fundamentals that were taught to Carlos Gracie and Luiz França by Mitsuyo Maeda and Soshihiro Satake. Mitsuyo Maeda won more than 2,000 professional fights in his career. His accomplishments led to him being called the "toughest man who ever lived" and being referred to as the father of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Brazilian jiu-jitsu eventually came to be its own art through the experimentations, practices, and adaptation from the Judo knowledge of Carlos and Hélio Gracie, who then passed their knowledge on to their extended family. BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using proper technique, leverage, and most notably, taking the fight to the ground, and then applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the opponent. BJJ training can be used for sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition or self-defense. Sparring (commonly referred to as "rolling") and live drilling play a major role in training, and a premium is placed on performance, especially in competition, in relation to progress and ascension through its ranking system. Since its inception in 1882, its parent art of Judo was separated from older systems of Japanese ju-jitsu by an important difference that was passed on to Brazilian jiu-jitsu: it is not solely a martial art, it is also a sport; a method for promoting physical fitness and building character in young people; and, ultimately, a way (Do) of life.
Geo Omori opened the first jujutsu / judo school in Brazil in 1909. He would go on to teach a number of individuals including Luiz França. Later, Mitsuyo Maeda was one of five of the Kodokan's top groundwork (newaza) experts that judo's founder Kano Jigoro sent overseas to demonstrate and spread his art to the world. Maeda had trained first in sumo as a teenager, and after the interest generated by stories about the success of Kodokan Judo at contests with other jujutsu schools that were occurring at the time, became a student of Jigoro Kano. Maeda left Japan in 1904 and visited a number of countries giving "jiu-do" demonstrations and accepting challenges from wrestlers, boxers, savate fighters and various other martial artists before eventually arriving in Brazil on November 14, 1914. Gastão Gracie was a business partner of the American Circus in Belém. In 1916, Italian Argentine circus Queirolo Brothers staged shows there and presented Maeda. In 1917, Carlos Gracie, the eldest son of Gastão Gracie, watched a demonstration by Maeda at the Da Paz Theatre and decided to learn judo. Maeda accepted Carlos as a student and Carlos learned for a few years, eventually passing his knowledge on to his brothers. Sibling Hélio Gracie gradually further developed Gracie Jiu Jitsu as a softer, pragmatic adaptation from judo that focused on ground fighting, as he was unable to perform many judo moves that require direct opposition to an opponent's strength. Although the Gracie family is typically synonymous with BJJ, another prominent lineage started from Maeda via another Brazilian disciple, Luiz França. This lineage had been represented particularly by Oswaldo Fadda. Fadda and his students were famous for influential use of footlocks and the lineage still survives through Fadda's links with today's teams such as Nova União and Grappling Fight Team.
The name Jiu Jitsu
"Jiu-Jitsu" is an older romanization that was the original spelling of the art in the West, and it is still in common use, where as the modern Hepburn romanization is "j ū jutsu". When Maeda left Japan, judo was still often referred to as "Kano jiu-jitsu” or, even more generically, simply as “jiu-jitsu". Higashi, the co-author of "Kano Jiu-Jitsu” wrote in the foreword: Some confusion has arisen over the employment of the term 'jiudo'. To make the matter clear I will state that jiudo is the term selected by Professor Kano as describing his system more accurately than jiu-jitsu does. Professor Kano is one of the leading educators of Japan, and it is natural that he should cast about for the technical word that would most accurately describe his system. But the Japanese people generally still cling to the more popular nomenclature and call it jiu-jitsu. Outside Japan, however, this distinction was noted even less. Thus, when Maeda and Satake arrived in Brazil in 1914, every newspaper announced their art as being "jiu-jitsu" despite both men being Kodokan judoka. It was not until 1925 that the Japanese government itself officially mandated that the correct name for the martial art taught in the Japanese public schools should be "judo" rather than “jujutsu". In Brazil, the art is still called "jiu-jitsu". When the Gracies went to the United States to spread their art, they used the terms "Brazilian jiu-jitsu" and "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" to differentiate from the already present styles using similar-sounding names. In a 1994 interview with Yoshinori Nishi, Hélio Gracie said, that he didn ́t even know the word of judo itself, until the sport came in the 1950s to Brazil, because he heard that Mitsuyo Maeda called his style "jiu-jitsu". The art is sometimes referred to as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (GJJ), this name was trademarked by Rorion Gracie, but after a legal dispute with his cousin Carley Gracie, his trademark to the name was voided. Other members of the Gracie family often call their style by personalized names, such as Charles Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and similarly, the Machado family call their style Machado Jiu-Jitsu (MJJ). While each style and its instructors have their own unique aspects, they are all basic variations of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Today there are four major branches of BJJ from Brazil: Gracie Humaita, Gracie Barra, Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Alliance Jiu Jitsu. Each branch can trace its roots back to Mitsuyo Maeda via the Gracie family or Oswaldo Fadda. More recently, the name "jitz" for the art has been gaining currency as a casual layman's term, especially in the US.
Divergence from Kodokan rules
Since judo was introduced to Brazil there have been changes in the rules of sport judo – some to enhance it as a spectator sport, and some for improved safety. Several of these rule changes have greatly de-emphasized the groundwork aspects of judo, and others have reduced the range of joint locks allowed and when they can be applied. Brazilian jiu-jitsu did not follow these changes to judo rules (and there is no evidence that some of the rules were ever used, such as the win by pin/osaekomi or by throw), and this divergence has given it a distinct identity as a grappling art, while still being recognizably related to judo. Other factors that have contributed towards the stylistic divergence of BJJ from sport judo include the Gracies' desire to create a national martial art, the influence of Brazilian culture, and the Gracies' emphasis on full-contact fighting. BJJ permits all the techniques that judo allows to take the fight to the ground. These include judo's scoring throws as well as judo's non-scoring techniques that it refers to as "skillful takedowns" (such as the flying armbar). BJJ also allows any and all takedowns from wrestling, sambo, or any other grappling arts including direct attempts to take down by touching the legs. BJJ also differs from judo in that it also allows a competitor to drag his opponent to the ground, and even to drop to the ground himself provided he has first taken a grip. Early Kodokan judo was similarly open in its rules (even permitting an athlete to simply sit on the mat at the beginning of a match), but has since become increasingly restrictive in comparison. BJJ has also become more sports oriented and has eliminated techniques such as picking up an opponent from the guard and slamming him.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu today
Jiu-Jitsu came to international prominence in the martial arts community in the early 1990s, when Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Royce Gracie won the first, second and fourth Ultimate Fighting Championships, which at the time were single elimination martial arts tournaments. Royce fought against often much larger opponents who were practicing other styles, including boxing, shoot-fighting, muay thai, karate, wrestling,and tae kwon do. It has since become a staple art for many MMA fighters and is largely credited for bringing widespread attention to the importance of ground fighting. Sport BJJ tournaments continue to grow in popularity worldwide and have given rise to no-gi submission grappling tournaments, such as the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.