How do I check out the place?
If you have never visited Ballard Jiu-Jitsu before and would like to check it out, the best way is to show up about 10 minutes before a class. You will be greeted by a professor and you can ask questions, watch a class, or even attend a beginner class if you are so inclined!
When and why do we bow?
We bow before and after class as a sign of respect to each other and as a sign of respect and show of humility to the “masters” - which are those that came before us in the development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu allowing us to learn and practice it at the levels we are able to today. Without them it wouldn’t exist! (see next question).
We also bow as we enter and exit the mat as a sign of respect to the practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the space in which we practice.
Who are in the big photos on the wall above the certificates?
Starting on the left is a portrait of Mitsuyo Maeda (1878-1941) who is often credited as the person responsible for the existence of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well as mixed martial arts.
In the center is Carlos Gracie (1902-1994) who was a student of Mitsuyo Maeda and began the development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as we know it today.
On the right is Carlos Machado (b. 1963), one of the pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the United States and is who Ballard Jiu-Jitsu is affiliated with.
Do I need a gi?
You will need a gi for the vast majority of the training at Ballard Jiu-Jitsu. When you first join, we have loaner gis you can use. Just talk to the professor running the class and they can get you set up. After class, you just leave it in the hamper in the dressing room area. You will need to purchase your own gi at some point whether it’s in the dojo or another vendor online.
What is rolling? And how do I do it?
Rolling is practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with a resisting opponent. This is how we get better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We learn that trying techniques on a resisting opponent is not as easy as it is when just learning the techniques with a willing partner.
During Open Mat sessions at the dojo, people are free to work with most anyone wanting to “roll”. Usually we set a timer for 5 or 6 minutes with a minute between rounds. This makes it easier to work with different partners. You’ll find that with no timer it can be easy to get really involved with a particular partner talking about and/or trying techniques.
Your goal is to control your opponent and ultimately get to the place where you are able to submit them. Your goal is ALSO to protect yourself from that happening to you! You will find it is a steep learning curve in the beginning and yet it can be so fun! It won’t be long before you find rolling to be some of the most enjoyable parts of your BJJ journey.
Am I supposed to help clean after class?
Cleaning done by students is very much encouraged as a part of your practice and respect for the space. To help with the cleaning, just ask the professor or any other students that are cleaning and they can help guide you. We also ask that students pick up after themselves in general and to keep an eye out for garbage and misplaced items.
As a beginner can I take an all levels class or no-gi class?
Yes! Both All Levels and No-gi classes are open to literally all levels, including beginners. The professors are very conscientious about running a class in a way that includes all students. These classes are a great way to start to open up your learning of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. At some point you will start to feel like the beginners classes are not offering you as much as before and you will naturally start attending more all levels classes - and/or no-gi classes.
Can I take the advanced class?
The advanced class is reserved for 3-stripe white belts and above. If you are a white belt without 3 stripes but still want to take the class, you are free to talk to the professor and it will be at the professor’s discretion.
Can I wear a mask in class?
Yes, absolutely. Although we require COVID vaccination to attend classes, many people are more comfortable with the added protection of wearing masks. We allow training with and without masks.