Common BJJ Terms

Merry Christmas!

If you have not already noticed, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and grappling as a whole has some uncommonly used words. I would like to take time to go into some of the meaning behind some of these words. Unfortunately, we will not be covering every single one, but more of an over view.

When referring to the place you train and your instructor most people think “dojo” and “sensei”. However in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where we train is called an “academy”, and your head instructor or black belt is called “professor”. If a brown belt or below is running class, than the proper term for them is “coach”. From my understanding and research, which this specific reason has not been verified. But it takes an average of 10-12 years to be “graduated” to black belt in BJJ. In traditional education a doctorate is earned in nearly the same amount of time. BJJ can be viewed in the same light, hence the terms “academy”, “professor”, and “graduation”. Instead calling training “practice”, we stick with more of the school term and use “class”. I feel these terms also help give Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it’s own identity between the different martial arts. To my understanding, no other martial art uses these terms. While Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has direct ties to Japanese martial arts through judo, BJJ is completely separate. So these terms help BJJ remain separate. While referring to the uniform, “Gi” pronounced “gie” an not kimono. A kimono is used as a costume, or a woman’s gown. Starting a new activity such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be very intimidating and learning the terms can go a long way in helping make you feel comfortable. And don’t forget to ask your professor, or a higher ranking belt. Because at the end of the day the higher ranking individuals where at once right where the white belt is.

~Greg Walker



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