What is Gracie Jiu Jitsu?
Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ as it is commonly referred to, is a tweaking of the Jiu Jitsu system as it was taught to the early Gracie family of Brazil, via the Japanese. Simply put, it is the art of ground fighting in which leverage, sweeps, joint locks and holds are all employed. BJJ gives the advantage to the smaller, weaker opponent because of the effectiveness of the techniques and the fact that little strength is employed. In the early 1990s, the Gracies burst onto the worldwide scene by proving how effective their fighting style was – and how prosaic other fighting styles were in stark contrast. The Gracies created the first ever Ultimate Fighting Championship, and tossed into the cage what they considered one of their more inexperienced fighters. His name was Royce Gracie. At 6-1, 180 lbs, Royce was far from intimidating. But what he did was groundbreaking. Royce Gracie continued to defeat fighter after fighter, despite often being outweighed, sometimes by more than 100 lbs. In one night, he once defeated four fighters.
Unlike other martial arts systems that employ multiple belts and often award black belts after only 4 or 5 years of training, the Gracie ranking system has just four belts: blue, purple, brown and black. What it takes to achieve each belt varies with, first and foremost, the individual. This includes dedication, attendance in class, perhaps staying after class for further clarity of techniques, and above all, a positive mental attitude. Other variables include instructors, opinion of mastery of techniques by students, as well as efficacy of these techniques. That said, students have been awarded blue belts after only a year in training, while others have trained for the better part of three years without achieving blue belt level. Therefore, the path to the Gracie black belt is a journey that can take up to 10 years. This is why, statistically, 60% of all blue belts never attain their purple belts, and from there, the numbers continue to decrease as you get closer to the coveted black belt. With a positive mental attitude, dedication, willingness to learn, and good attendance, it is certainly plausible that a student may be awarded a black belt after anywhere between 8-10 years. Do not be discouraged though. The journey to the black belt is filled with knowledge, networked friendships, and most of all, lots of fun.