Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Frequently Asked Questions

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (or BJJ) is an internationally recognized sport which is a combination of martial art, combat sport, and self defense. BJJ focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. The origin of BJJ comes from elements of Judo, specifically the ground fighting. With the use of proper leverage and technique, a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger attacker.
Rolling is another word for sparring. Sparring is when we put into practice the techniques we’ve learned during the instructional portion of the class. Think about sparring as a game where you try to “get” each other with submissions.
Ultimately, participation in sparring is by choice. While in our fundamentals programs sparring is optional, the goal is eventually to work towards it. If you’re very concerned, you would most likely be paired with an advanced student who is able to exercise excellent control until you’re more comfortable.
You will find that BJJ will help you in many other areas outside pure defense and fitness. Focus and mental strength are also exercised throughout the practice, as is teamwork, and a sense of pride in yourself and in those with whom you train.
Stop by the gym and we can we can show you how to do an arm bar step-by-step 🙂
No prior experience is needed to start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
We start with a warm up, occasional drill, and then move onto the instructional portion. For the rest of the class we put a round timer on and spar. We offer a wide range of classes and you can read more about them on our schedule page.
Absolutely! You learn how to overcome and submit your opponent with a joint lock or choke without ever throwing a punch or a kick. We cover a wide range of self defense techniques as part of the curriculum in our fundamentals classes.
Your level of competition is completely up to you. We are registered with the IBJJF and you will have the opportunity to compete and represent Alliance Vancouver BJJ at any tournament, anywhere in the world. Some of our students are serious competitors and some of our students practice Jiu-Jitsu soley for a fun physical activity – all are welcome!
No! You can get into shape doing BJJ. It can be your first step in your fitness journey. Your conditioning will improve over time as a result of warm ups, drilling, and rolling. For some of our members, BJJ is just one part of their fitness routine while for others it’s the all the physical activity they do.
You can try as many classes as you want for a full week with no sign up or contract required – contact us or stop by the gym to get started.
Yes. You’ll find that we’re secretly a bunch of nerds. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is sometimes referred to as “physical chess.” So we’re kind of like a chess club – that beats each other up.
That’s great, come in and roll with us! Also that wasn’t a question…
Absolutely! Women are welcome in any of our classes. We work hard to create a non-intimidating environment.
You may get bumps and bruises, but no more than most other physical activities. As you gain more skill and experience, you will strive to use proper leverage and technique over force which helps to minimize potential injury. Jiu-Jitsu, in Japanese, translates to “The Gentle Art – the emphasis is on using leverage to execute techniques using minimal force. BJJ is a unique martial art in that you can train realistically, using near maximum force, without hurting your training partners.

Jiu-Jitsu uses a color system adopted from the Judo belt system to signify the level of knowledge of a BJJ practitioner. Each colour belt also has four stripes which measure progress through a particular rank.

  • White – all beginners start at white belt – you have to start somewhere, right?
  • Blue – a blue belt should have a firm grasp on the fundamentals and has usually trained for about two years.
  • Purple – at this level BJJ practitioners should be starting to use pure leverage rather than force.
  • Brown – brown belts have a skillful, precise, practiced, and proficient understanding of the sport.
  • Black – a black belt denotes an expert level of knowledge in BJJ.
Stripes are awarded at the end of some classes at our instructor’s discretion – when you have four stripes you’re ready for the next belt test. For the formalized test you are told in advance what you need to work on and on testing day you have to show you understand the techniques.
It depends on how often you go and how seriously you train. Some martial arts seem to just give black belts to anyone, BJJ on the other hand has a reputation of “earned black” belts. If someone has a Jiu-Jitsu black belt around their waist you will be able to tell if they are legit by rolling with them. Some people consider a purple belt in BJJ equivalent to a black belt in other martial arts.
Students are required to wear an official Alliance gi to the gi classes. For nogi students must wear a ranked Alliance rash guard and official Alliance shorts. These can be purchased at the gym. For information related to pricing or products you can visit Women who do not want to wear shorts to nogi are permitted to wear unbranded black tights.
Wash your gi after every rolling session! We take cleanliness in the gym very importantly – respect your training partners 🙂
Absolutely not. This is the most boring group that you’ll ever meet in your life! In all seriousness though, we have people from all walks with varied and amazing outlooks on life. You’ll make some of the best friends you’ve ever had, and find out more about yourself than you ever thought possible, no matter what your age or ability!