What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was first made famous by Royce Gracie in the original Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). With no weight classes and almost no rules, Royce was able to defeat larger and stronger opponents of many different martial arts backgrounds. He did this by applying submissions.


Royce Gracie

The goal of Jiu-Jitsu is to get your opponent into a position where they cannot hurt you, or put them in a submission- which is usually a joint lock or a choke. A joint lock can damage an attacker’s shoulder, elbow, ankle, or any joint in the body. A choke puts an attacker to sleep. There are two huge advantages to submissions:

  1. Jiu-Jitsu submissions are based on leverage, so a smaller person can defeat a larger attacker.
  2. Once a submission is landed, the situation is finished, unless the attacker is able to continue without the use of one of their arms or legs.

How Was Royce able To Defeat So Many Fighters?

The Gracies exposed a major weakness of 95% of all martial arts: the lack of grappling. Someone may have three black belts in different striking arts, but they are a white belt on the ground. And the truth is that most self-defense situations end up on the ground. If you do not know how to defend yourself on the ground, you are not prepared for a self-defense situation.

How is BJJ Different Than Wrestling?

The goal of wrestling is to take your opponent down and pin their shoulders to the ground. Once you pin someone, the match is over.

In BJJ, it doesn’t matter if you’re on your back. If you’re not able to stop someone from taking you down to the ground, you can still defend yourself. The goal of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to put your partner in a submission, whether you are on your back or in the top position.

Also, most BJJ schools train most of the time in the gi, or uniform. In wrestling you are not allowed to grab onto any clothing, where as in gi Jiu-Jitsu, you can use the gi to control your partner and submit them.

Wrestling is a very powerful system for takedowns, and Jiu-Jitsu borrows many basics of wrestling, especially for their no gi training. We include wrestling into our no gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, as well as having special classes dedicated to no gi takedowns.

double leg

George St. Pierre executing a double leg takedown (from wrestling) in a MMA match.

Is Jiu-Jitsu Similar To Judo?

Judo came from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, and they have an intertwined history. The strength of Judo is mainly in their ability to take someone down using the gi (uniform). Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu uses takedowns from Judo for their gi training. We include Judo into our gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, and have special classes and seminars for Judo takedowns.

Should You Train with or without the Gi (Uniform)?

You should probably do both.

If you are training for self-defense, remember that in Michigan, 8 months of the year people have some sort of jacket on, and a gi is similar to a winter jacket or sweatshirt.

If you are training to get in shape, either will give you a great workout.

If you are training to learn the art form, it is good to do both, because there are differences between the two and to fully understand this amazing art form, you have to know both.

And if you are interested in getting belt ranked in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which most students do at Kaizen BJJ Plymouth, then you have to train both gi and no gi.

One of the differences between Kaizen BJJ Plymouth and other grappling schools is that we offer an mix of gi to no gi classes. Click here to see our adult schedule.

Leave Your Ego At The Door

The most confident people don’t need to intimidate others; because they’re confident they’re less threatened by others. Many people are aggressive because they feel threatened. When someone is very confident in their ability to defend themselves, and they have the right spirit, they’re actually kinder and more willing to help others because of the lack of aggression that comes from insecurity.

We have a teaching culture at our school where we expect students to help each other whenever possible. We believe that a rising tide lifts all boats.

World Class Black Belts Teaching At Kaizen BJJ Plymouth

The Owner, Ryan Fiorenzi, is the first to achieve the rank of black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Michigan. He is also the highest ranked in Michigan.

There are 6 BJJ black belts at Kaizen BJJ Plymouth, and over the next few years, there will be several more Kaizen BJJ Plymouth students and affiliates to earn this highly regarded rank.

What Are Classes Like?

Our beginner-friendly classes are usually a mix of:

  1. technique repetition with no resistance
  2. live training, or training with resistance

First of all, we don’t let someone train in our classes if we have reservations about their attitude. Of all of the great things that we offer, our culture is the most important. We train in a relaxed and friendly training environment. If someone doesn’t fit into that mindset, they won’t be able to train in our school.

For most of the students that first come to our school, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training is a new experience. So we prefer to ease you into it. We want you to meet the Head Instructor, Program Director, and other teachers. We want you to meet the other students.

We want you to take your time. Many beginner students are concerned that they are:

  • too out of shape to train
  • going to get hurt
  • going to be embarrassed
  • concerned that they are going to slow others down because they have no experience

People are pleasantly surprised that within a few minutes of their first class, they’re having fun, getting a workout, and feel at ease.

*If you or your child are nervous and would prefer to do a mini-private lesson with one of our instructors instead of starting with a group class, send us a text at 734.224.4BJJ or 734.224.4255 and mention that you’d like to start with an introductory private lesson. Or you can call us at 734.667.3206.