Home Blog Page 13

Olympic Jiu Jitsu: Is Jiu Jitsu In The Olympics?

Brazilian jiu jitsu has exploded in popularity over the last decade with the rise of UFC and mixed martial arts as mainstream sports.

But Jiu Jitsu is one of the world’s oldest sports, tracing its origins all the way back to the Japanese samurai. The samurai developed the grappling technique as a means of last resort if they were ever left on foot in the middle of a battle.

These ancient warriors fought in heavy armor that restricted their movements, so they developed a different style of hand-to-hand combat that emphasized chokes, holds, and throws over striking.

Jiu Jitsu, in its current form, is an offshoot of judo that made its way across the Pacific Ocean to South America during a wave of immigration during the early 1900s.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as we know it today, was popularized by the Gracie brothers, Carlos and Helio, in Rio de Janeiro in the 1920s and quickly took off across the globe.

The sport prizes strategy and technique over pure fighting ability, making it one of the fairest competitive sports. Grapplers of any size still have a fighting chance in Jiu Jitsu.

Is Jiu Jitsu in the Olympics? As the popularity of BJJ continues to surge, the question of it’s status as an official Olympic sport continues to be raised. It’s a good question given the popularity of the sport worldwide and the inclusion of judo, karate, and taekwondo in the games, but the answer is still no Jiu Jitsu is not an Olympic sport. 

Despite the exponential rise in participants and interest in the sport across the globe, there are still plenty of hurdles to getting the “gentle art” in the Olympics.

Why can’t BJJ make it in the Olympics?

Unfortunately, there are several significant reasons that it will be a long time before Brazilian Jiu Jitsu makes its debut on the world stage at the Olympics.

There is interest from fans and fighters alike, but the sport as a whole has not done much to make progress on the steps that would grant it legitimacy in the eyes of the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

So, what’s holding BJJ back from becoming an official Olympic sport?

The IOC requires any sport included in the Olympics to have an official governing body. Track and field, for example, is governed by World Athletics.

The International Judo Federation gives that sport legitimacy. Jiu Jitsu has several big organizations and franchises that hold tournaments, but none act as an official governing body of the sport.

The biggest BJJ competitions are run by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC), Abu Dhabi Pro, and the Jiu Jitsu Federation.

Other smaller tournament promotions like Naga, Grappling Industries, and Jiu Jitsu World League all have minor differences in their rules. Not to mention the invitational BJJ super fight promotions such as Eddie Bravo Invitational and Fight 2 Win, plus Combat Jiu Jitsu.

All of these organizations and promotions have different strikes against them in the eyes of the IOC.

No Governing Body

Perhaps the biggest issue holding BJJ back from any Olympic aspirations are the different rules and for-profit nature of the different tournament organizers.

The ADCC and Abu Dhabi Pro are ruled out because they are run by the government of the United Arab Emirates. The Gracie family still has its hand in the IBJJF and Jiu Jitsu Federation and does not have an elected board of governors.

That’s a big no-no in the eyes of the IOC, which requires all governing bodies to be independent and not for profit.

Too Many Different Rules

BJJ, as an Olympic sport is the complicated and confusing rules of competition. Some may have a vision in their head of UFC or MMA stars duking it out for gold medals. But the real sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is far from what goes down in the Octagon.

Many BJJ matches are not exciting to watch, as fighters elect to stall to maximize their point totals. The IBJJF has what some would consider watered down the rules around leg locks, slamming, and knee reaping, among some other things that aren’t allowed.

The combat sports already in the Olympics, like wrestling and judo, have already been forced to change their rules to stay relevant and included in the Games.

Jiu Jitsu is even further off when it comes to putting on a compelling display that would bring in eyeballs from all over the world.

Jiu Jitsu Needs Better Anti-Doping Rules

In addition to the lack of a governing body and standard set of rules, Jiu Jitsu continues to struggle to get doping protocols and testing under control.

BJJ made some progress by agreeing to test the winners of the black belt competitions at Pan Am and World Championships, but even that falls short of meeting the World Anti-Doping Agencies policies, which is a requirement for inclusion in the Olympics.

Yes, there has been progress made towards cleaning up Jiu Jitsu from a doping standpoint. But until there is consistent out-of-competition testing, there will always be a black cloud of suspicion looming over the sport.

There is one significant benefit that would come with a jump to Olympic competition for BJJ, and that’s a strictly enforced drug testing protocol.

The various federations have taken some baby steps toward rooting out dopers and cheaters from the sport, but the IOC and WADA would ratchet up the pressure to an even higher level.

A clean sport is crucial, and there is still work to be done when it comes to stamping out performance-enhancing drugs in BJJ.

This, however, is no reason to go all-in on the Olympics for BJJ. Every Olympic sport continues to deal with doping controversies.

Should Brazilian Jiu Jitsu change itself for the Olympics?

There has not been much traction towards making the types of changes necessary to bring BJJ into the Olympics. Even after the 2016 Games were held in Brazil, but that may not actually be a bad thing.

There are pros and cons for every niche sport that makes its way onto the Olympic docket – and let’s remember that most of the Olympic games fall far outside what qualifies as mainstream.

Being recognized by the Olympics provides some legitimacy to a niche sport, but at what cost? There is no guarantee that BJJ would experience a massive surge in global popularity by being included in the Olympics, but the sport would have to undergo a complete overhaul to get there.

Many judo fans feel very strongly that entering the realm of Olympic competition was one of the worst things to happen to the sport. The IOC forced judo to changes its rules and outlaw the more dangerous techniques and moves in order to be included.

Because of that, many old school Judoka believe the sport has been irreversibly changed for the worst without gaining much in return. BJJ is still a very young form of martial arts, and its art form is still very dynamic and evolving.

There is no reason to stunt that process by agreeing to a strict set of rules enforced by the Olympics.

Current Organizations Have Jiu Jitsu’s Best Interest In Mind

The sport of Jiu Jitsu remains headed by organizations and individuals who are incredibly passionate about the future and growth of the sport but also advancing the craft.

The Gracie family has played an enormous role in the growth of BJJ and has been there from the very beginning. They deserve to have an outsized role in the next generation of the sport.

Under the Olympic mantle, an elected board, perhaps more focused on driving profits and treating themselves to lavish vacations, might drive out the founding family of BJJ.

With a lot of discussion lately about Gracie Jiu Jitsu vs. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and now we have Keenan Cornelius starting American Jiu Jitsu. Maybe separating Jiu Jitsu from the Gracie family name and having a combined governing body that has BJJ’s best interest in mind may help to eventually have it become an Olympia sport.

When could Jiu Jitsu make the cut?

Proposals were made to have BJJ added to the Paris 2024 Olympics but went nowhere.

The IOC elected to add break dancing, sport climbing, skateboarding, and surfing to the 2024 program but left Jiu Jitsu out in the cold.

For fans of the sport who feel strongly about getting it added to the Olympics, this might feel like a positive. All four sports added are very niche and were first taken mainstream by corporate backers without representative governing bodies.

Abu Dhabi’s UAEJJ Federation and the Ju-Jitsu International Federation made the strongest push to add Jiu Jitsu to the 2024 Olympics. They were backing their points with the fact that the sport was added to the 2018 Asian Games, which is recognized by the IOC as a major competition.

No-Gi grappling has a more durable case for inclusion in the Olympics because its matches are quicker and more exciting and would also bring in Judokas and wrestlers.

Check out our article Gi vs. No-Gi BJJ: Which One Is Better & Pros and Cons

Buzz will pick up again before the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, but it remains unlikely that BJJ will be included.

A blessing in disguise for BJJ

The debate around the Olympics boils down to one central point – does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu need the Olympics to continue growing? The answer to that question is a resounding NO!

The IOC has stringent rules and regulations governing every aspect of the event, especially advertisements and marketing. BJJ already has its own stars who are famous among the devoted fan base.

It does not need to be hemmed in by the rigidity of the IOC to chart its best path forward for sustained growth. Jiu jitsu is a sport best enjoyed without a strict rulebook.

It is an art form that must be given the freedom to evolve and grow on its own, led by the most passionate practitioners of the sport – not a governing body directed by the IOC on high.

How Much Does A BJJ Gi Weigh? Everything you need to know


How much does a Jiu Jitsu gi weight, and why is it important to know?

If you’re just starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu one of the first things that you will have to get is a gi to practice in.

These are an essential part of training in BJJ and are required for your classes unless you’re only doing no-gi Jiu Jitsu. Check out our article Gi vs. No-Gi BJJ: What’s the Difference?

How much does a BJJ gi Weigh? The average weight of a Jiu Jitsu gi is somewhere between 2 to 5 pounds. Everyday gis are heavier and weigh 4 to 5 pounds, while competition gis tend to be lighter and weigh between 2 and 3 pounds. 

It is vital to know that a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi is not the same as a judo gi. There are a few differences between the two.

You could use a judo gi to train Jiu Jitsu if you don’t have a BJJ gi. But trying to do so for a competition could get you disqualified. Every tournament has different rules; here are the IBJJF uniform rules.

What Affects The Weight Of A Gi?

Gi weights can vary from brand to brand. Weight is also affected by cut and weave.

If you’re shopping around for a BJJ gi and you’re wondering how much it weighs, check the item description from the gi maker, many times gi weights are listed. 

Sometimes the weight of a gi can be hard to find, and sometimes gi makers may present the weight in a range.

This is because the weight, even of a gi, that is from the same maker and the same size, can vary slightly. 

Patches, although sound silly to mention, they do affect the weight of the gi slightly, but the biggest thing to consider when it comes to adding weight to your gi is sweat.

Any sweat that gets absorbed into the gi is going to make it heavier. This is good to note because if you’re competing, you may not want to warm up and sweat in your gi if you have to weigh-in with it on when you’re cutting it close on making weight.

What is a Jiu Jitsu gi’s weave?

There are several different fabrics that you can choose from for your gi. Most of the time, these have different weaves.

As for the actual gi material itself, you can expect that to usually be 100% cotton. Some gi makers have gis that made of hemp or blends of different materials.

Weaves are represented in GSM (grams per square meter), and Jiu Jitsu gis ranges between 350-1050 GSM. The higher that number is then, the more it will weigh. 

A Gi with a weave of 550 will always weigh more than a gi that has a weave of 375 GSM.  

We’ll cover some of the most common weaves that are out there. These will be the ones you’re most likely to see when shopping for a new gi.

What are some of the common BJJ gi weaves?

Weave Type GSM Range

Single 300-550

Double 750-950

Gold 650–1050

Pearl 300-550

Single Weave

Single weave gis are usually the go-to for a lot of new BJJ practitioners first gi. They are typically lighter and cheaper than the other weaves available. Gis in this weave are nice and cool on those hot days because they are thinner and not as tightly woven. 

Keep in mind because single weave gis are lighter and thinner, they can wear down faster and are susceptible to tearing. 

Single weave gis range from 300–550 GSM

Double Weave

You guessed it; double weave is just a single weave doubled. Two times in as much fabric goes into making this weave. So it is heavier and thicker than single weave. Double weave is also going to be hotter because the weave is tighter and will trap in the heat. 

Double weave gis range from 750-950 GSM

Gold Weave

Gold weave is a combination of single and double weave, sharing traits from both single and double weave, gold weave is durable and lightweight. Gold weave makes for a solid all-around gi that can be used for everyday training and competition as well.

Gold weave gis range from 650–1050 GSM

Pearl weave

Pearl weave is a nice tight weave that’s durable and lightweight. Pearl weave makes it an excellent choice for competition gis. This weave crosses off everything you want for a competition gi it’s light, it’s durable, and it’s cool. I highly recommend this weave for your Jiu Jitsu gis.

Pearl weave gis range from 300-550 GSM


Ripstop is a non-traditional weave that’s gained a lot of popularity over the last couple of decades. Recognizable by the stitched squares that are sewn into the weave, this stitching helps prevent rips and tears, hence the name. 

Ripstop is extra light and extra-durable, initially used for gi pants, some gi makers now have gis wholly made out of ripstop.

Some tournaments don’t allow particular ripstop gis, so make sure always to buy a tournament legal gi if you plan on competing in it. This information is can be found on the gi makers website or the gi’s item description.

The Size And Cut

The bigger you are, the larger your gi will need to be in order to fit. The larger the gi is, the more fabric it will take and, therefore, the more it will weigh. 

Some gis have unique cut options such as slim, tall, or husky to accommodate different body types better. 

Since most gis are made of cotton, you may get some shrinkage after time from washing your gi. To avoid this, make sure to hang dry your gi rather than throwing it in the dryer.

Some gis also come “Pre-shrunk,” meaning that the fabric has been shrunk beforehand and should not shrink much at all. 

Again the more fabric used will make the total weight increase. These are tiny numbers but still worth mentioning.

What makes a competition gi different from a regular gi?

Besides a few rules around color and length, you’re allowed to compete in almost any Jiu Jitsu gi you want. Even though you can do that, it doesn’t mean you should. What you should do is set out to get a functional competition gi that’s lightweight and durable.

Gis that weigh less are a lot cooler, and keeping cool could play a small factor in how well you do in competition. Competition gis also weigh a pound or two less than non-competition gis. This could make a potential weight cut a little easier.

Jiu Jitsu gis come in a variety of colors too. But when it comes to competing, some tournaments only allow specific colors and may not let you have different colored tops and bottoms.

Things to know about what gi you compete in

If you are not wearing a gi jacket with matching trousers that are either royal blue, white, or black, then a judge can choose to disqualify you.

But more than likely they’ll give you a few minutes to find another gi first. So make sure to bring a spare to tournaments, or you might have to find someone who will let you borrow their gi. 

When competing, your gi must fit correctly, so borrowing one doesn’t always work out well unless you are the same size.

Also, patches have to follow specific guidelines and cannot be placed in some regions of the gi.

Why is a gi’s weight important in competition?

BJJ competitions are divided into different divisions based on weight and age. This helps prevent people who are drastically different in size and age from being paired up against each other in a tournament.

There is a division called “Absolute,” which has no weight limit. You usually need to qualify for absolute by placing in the top 3 of your division. 

This is also why it is so important for you to know what your gi weighs. Some tournaments require you to weigh in with your gi on, and your gi will be added to your weight to determine the weight class you will compete in. 

How much does a Jiu Jitsu belt weight?

Depending on the length and the material used for padding, a BJJ belt weighs around half a pound.

When you’re calculating your weight, keep in mind that your belt is part of your uniform, and you need to add it to your weight.

If you’re between weight classes and plan on making weight, you should make sure to weigh yourself at home with your gi on when you check your weight.


Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of everything that goes into determining the weight of your gi remember to shop around and check out the different weaves and styles mentioned here. 

It’s good to have a few gis in your collection if you’re consistently training, but be careful not to buy too many gis early on in your Jiu Jitsu training.

A good rule of thumb is if you’re training more than 2-3 times a week, then you should consider buying another one. 

Check Amazon for deals on BJJ gis

Remember to care for your gi and wash it after every training session; this includes your belt and never leave your gi in your bag after training.

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, please comment, subscribe and share!

What Age to Start Jiu Jitsu? A Guide for Parents


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial arts combat sport that teaches self-defense, promotes physical fitness, and builds character.

It’s a way of life that has a profound impact on anyone involved in the sport.

The benefits of training BJJ are immeasurable for students of all ages, even children.

The key to unlocking the physical, social, and emotional benefits of Jiu Jitsu for younger children is to start training at the right time. 

So, what’s the best age Jiu Jitsu students should begin training? When is it safe for your child to engage in a contact sport? These are all common questions parents consider before they place their child as a new Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student. Most BJJ schools have complete programs and dedicated classes for young students.

When it comes to children, BJJ helps encourage positive growth and development. But the “earlier the better” is not necessarily a good rule of thumb for martial arts training. Let’s take a closer look at kids in BJJ.

When should kids start? What can parents expect? Where does your child fit? We’ve got all your answers to help guide you towards the right decision when it comes to starting your child in training. 

What’s the Best Age to Start Jiu Jitsu for Kids? 

When it comes to kids training in BJJ, there’s no black and white answer for what’s the best age. That’s because the right answer is specific to your child.

Some children start as young as three or four-years-old. The problem with starting your child too young is that they can develop an aversion for the sport if they’re not ready. 

Most BJJ professionals suggest starting your child around the age of six or when they are in first grade. That’s because they’ve already developed a basic level of independence.

By first grade, the school structure has already instilled in them the importance of discipline, following instructions, and positive social interactions. 

The best way to determine whether or not your child is ready for BJJ training is to give it a try.

Things to consider before enrolling your child in Jiu Jitsu

  • Do they have the communication skills necessary to verbalize their needs and desires to an instructor independently? Can they sit through a class for the expected time frame? 
  • Are they bathroom trained? 
  • Can they follow the rules? Are they teachable? Will they listen to instruction and feedback? If not, you may want to wait to enroll. 
  • Am I willing to provide positive encouragement and motivation? 
  • Is there a school nearby? Both you and your child need to commit to their enrollment, and convenience has a lot to do with that success. 
  • Do they have any friends, family members, or peers in a local class? While they’ll undoubtedly make lots of new friends along the way, going into a class where they know someone can help motivate them and ease the transition. 

Being shy or outgoing is ok, but a child who refuses to participate or is too distractible might not be ready just yet. Social maturity has a lot to do with your child’s success in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.

The good news is that an experienced BJJ coach can help evaluate your child and determine if they’re ready now or if they need more time. 

The key to your child’s success is, to be honest with their instructor about their abilities and open to suggestions. The better you communicate on your child’s behalf, the closer they will be to finding the right age to start their BJJ journey. 

Kids in BJJ

Starting your child in BJJ can genuinely change their life for the better. It’s a positive hobby that goes beyond the basic concept of learning of self-defense.

The physical, social, and emotional benefits of BJJ for kids include

  • Physical agility, flexibility, and muscle development
  • Promotes normal development
  • Improves coordination and balance
  • Helps control and manage behaviors
  • Provides a positive outlet for energy 
  • Helps cope with and accept emotions
  • Strengthens memory and brain function, encourages positive mental growth
  • Teaches good sportsmanship, helps children learn to work well with others
  • Boosts self-confidence
  • Improves focus
  • Helps develop leadership skills and problem-solving skills
  • Reduces stress
  • Encourages respect, patience, and commitment
  • Teaches kids about goal setting and following through

BJJ even promotes anti-bullying, both teaching children to defend themselves against bullies and to avoid bullying others. 

Before you enroll your child in a BJJ class, there are a few things parents should remember.

For starters, will your child join Jiu Jitsu as a healthy activity or as a competitor? Jiu Jitsu, as a regular activity, is healthy at a younger age.

5 to 7-year-olds should start by taking a class to learn the basics of the art.

8 to 12-year-olds are usually mature enough to put in the training work, follow the rules of the mat, and deal with losses in a healthy way. 

Whether training competitively or not, keep in mind that not all children are born athletic. But they can become athletic with a team of support and consistent training.

The old saying goes, “practice makes perfect,” and this is especially true for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Encourage your kids to practice.

Don’t put too much pressure on winning competitions or moving to the next belt. Be enthusiastic about small victories, like learning a new skill, training hard, and any other sign of growth.

Remember, how you act affects your children. Parents and coaches need balance, too.

Age Groups

Most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools over classes that are split into age groups. The requirements of each group are focused on age-appropriate expectations for your child.

Here are some examples of different age groups you will find in Jiu Jitsu training:

  • Classes for 5-7-year-old students usually only run 30 minutes long. This helps students retain knowledge and stay interested in the class and the instruction. 
  • Classes for 8-12-year-old students have a different focus for instruction and can be anywhere from 45-60 minutes long.
  • 13-16-year-old students are not considered children or adults and have different physical and mental needs than other students. Their classes are focused on those needs. 
  • 17+ usually train with adult groups. 

While your child’s Jiu Jitsu school will most likely have specific age groups for classes, you can talk to instructors about the particular needs of your child and place them accordingly.

Some schools even use a mixed age group approach.

For example, students ages 4-12 will train together, warming up as a group then splitting into smaller teams.

This is known to be beneficial for younger children who look to older students as positive role models. 

What to Expect

Now that you understand how age plays a role in your child’s success in BJJ, let’s take a moment to go over what to expect when you sign up.

The first class is always a trial for new students. They’ll get to know the environment of their school and meet coaches and classmates. Both you and the instructor should be able to get a vibe from your child based on their first class.

Ultimately, you want to make it a fun, positive experience that leaves your child excited about the sport. 

Arrive a few minutes early so your child can get comfortable with the school. If you’ve already signed up, you might get a BJJ uniform called a Gi. Getting it ahead of time will help your child fit in and feel more comfortable.

If you don’t have a uniform yet, be sure they wear comfortable clothes.

They should come dressed in sweats or shorts and a t-shirt, the clothing they would typically wear to participate in physical activity. 

You can usually find a decent kid’s Jiu Jitus gi between $35 – $70.

Since it requires less material to make, the smaller the kid, the cheaper the gi will be, and because prices are always changing, check Amazon for kids BJJ gis.

Tips for Parents

Now that you’ve covered all the basics, let’s go over some quick tips for parents to help promote your child’s success as they begin this new lifestyle. 

Avoid setting your expectations too high.

Doing so can create a negative experience for your child. Don’t expect them to act like perfect children throughout the class. Depending on the age they start, these may be skills they need to learn as time goes on. Fortunately, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an excellent tool for discipline. 

Let the coach handle your kids.

It’s easy to jump up and start shouting instructions from the sideline, but this won’t help your child. Leave the coaching to the coach. Some schools even ask that you don’t watch your child, except for specified dates and times. Even if your child is bugging other children or testing the instructors, let their coach handle it. This will help them develop a good relationship with their coaches and promote self-discipline over time. 

Just because your child gets upset one day, don’t quit.

Every child gets upset at some point. Make sure nothing is seriously wrong, then encourage them to get back on the mat. The only time you should let them quit is if you really feel they aren’t enjoying the sport. 

Let your child be the guide.

If they want to add additional training sessions each week, give it a try. If they want to train less, ask questions. Listen to what they are telling you. 

Be sure your child’s instructors are a good fit. Check the coach to student ratio. Just like parents, coaches can come down too hard on kids at times. If you don’t feel like the coach is a good fit for your child, don’t feel bad. Simply look for another class or another school that works better. 

Avoid pressure

Parents need to set positive, realistic expectations on and off the mat. Training is a long marathon, not a sprint. Each child develops at their own pace. Be patient and let them find their way in their own time. 

Be a safety net

Kids who have a positive support system are much more likely to be successful and stick with the sport. For most kids, motivation comes from their families. You need to be understanding when they fail, but strong enough to encourage them to get up and try again. 

Enrolling your child in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will be a life-changing experience for your entire family.

If you think your child is ready for the sport, let them give it a try. Without forcing the sport on your kids, encourage consistency, and give them the tools they need for success.

Remember, not all kids will be world champions. Your job right now is to make sure your child is having fun. When kids truly find enjoyment in the sport, BJJ becomes a lifestyle that benefits them emotionally, physically, and socially.

What better gift to give your kids than a tool that positively impacts every aspect of their growth and development? 

Check out our article, Here’s Why Jiu Jitsu is the Best Martial Art for Kids

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this, please comment, subscribe and share!

How Long Does It Take To Get Good At Jiu Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is both fun and useful for so many reasons, which is why it is so popular nowadays. If you’re considering finding a school that teaches BJJ, you may have some questions. The same is often true if you only recently just started Jiu Jitsu.

How long does it take to get good at Jiu Jitsu? Getting good at Jiu Jitsu is something that can take 6 to 10 years or so to accomplish. This won’t necessarily get you a black belt in BJJ, unless you’re putting in the work, being consistent, and competing regularly during that time. Still, it should get you a purple or brown belt if you’re diligent.

While this amount of time is an average, several factors go into just how long it will take you to make it to that level.

What Does It Take To Get Good?

When someone says that they want to get “good” at something, it can mean different things. As a general rule, however, being good at Jiu Jitsu is where you reach the point where you are fairly proficient and feel confident in your abilities but know that you are not an expert yet.

For most people, this happens somewhere between purple and brown belt, which is right before your black belt.

At this point, you should know basic techniques so well that they become muscle memory and you don’t need to think about the steps when executing a more.

Depending on your natural ability to pick up new skills, it may take a while before anything in Jiu Jitsu feels easy for you.

Some things might take a while to click, even going from complete beginner to being barely competent may take a year or longer, depending on how often you’re on the mats.

Mat time

There’s no substitute for time on the mats.

Mat time is one of the variables that is entirely dependent on you and the amount of time you can commit to training.

If you have a full-time job, a family, other hobbies, and you want to have time to hang out with friends, then you’re probably not going to have much time to train Jiu Jitsu.

The amount of time you spend training is going to be important, but being consistent over a long time is what gets you to the next belt.

As you start learning new things, you should make sure that you are using your time as efficiently as possible. Don’t stick to just the positions and submissions you like. Also, don’t only focus on what you find the most challenging, try to find a balance between the two.

Try to roll with higher and lower belts. Rolling with different belts can both help you see where you were and where you want to be. It’ll also help expose weaknesses and strengths in your Jiu Jitsu game.

How often should you train?

  • Once a week
  • 2-3 times a week
  • 4+ times a week

Since you might be wondering just how often you should be training Jiu Jitsu.

Once a week

If you are only training once a week, you will find it hard to remember what you learned from the previous week to the next, and you will have a hard time retaining the information.

2-3 times a week

If you can consistently train two to three times a week over time, you will get in shape, and you will learn Jiu Jitsu at a decent speed.

2-3 times is a realistic goal to set out to accomplish. Find three days a week to train, and if you do this consistently, you’re guaranteed to get good at Jiu Jitsu.

4+ Times a week

Of course, if you want to get good at Jiu Jitsu quickly, you could attend four or more classes a week.

4+ days a week will accelerate your learning, but just remember the more you train and the less time your body has to recover, the chances of you get injured go up a lot.

Before you decide to do this, though, you should keep in mind that you can also burn yourself out.

For a detailed post about this check out, How Often Should You Train In BJJ? Here’s The Truth

Work through the plateau

At some point, you might get frustrated with your lack of progress when you’re training Jiu Jitsu.

While this can be discouraging, it’s normal, and you can be stuck in a plateau for months before you finally feel that you are making progress again.

It’s fun to train when you’re progressing and enjoying it, but when plateau hits, you feel as if you haven’t learned anything and question if you should continue training BJJ at all.

You kind of have to push through a plateau, so try not to cut back on training too much and remind yourself to have fun when you train.

Slow it down

This is a good time to slow down a bit and make sure that you’re digesting what you’re learning.

Take your time when learning something even if it seems easy or trivial, remember the devil is in the details.

Finding new details to moves that you know can rekindle the love for a position you stopped caring about because you thought there was nothing else you could do with it.

Be consistent

The key to how to get good at Jiu Jitsu is being consistent!

We’ve mentions this a bunch already, but this is true for most things in life. If you want to get good at something, you have to be consistently working at it.

Also, try to go to Jiu Jitsu at the same time and day every week. This helps make it a habit, and that way you’ll go to the gym even if you don’t feel like it.

Try To Avoid Injuries

This is not something that you can’t really help avoid, but it can still factor into how long it will take you to get good at Jiu Jitsu.

If you get hurt and you’re out of commission for weeks at a time, then it will set you back on your progress.

If you get hurt easily and often, then it might take you quite a bit longer to progress in BJJ.

For this reason alone, if not for your own health and safety, you should try to avoid getting hurt.

As for protective gear, when you are training, this is usually not needed. However, I do recommend a mouthguard. It is not a major inconvenience and can save you from having to pay to fix a chipped tooth.

Things that will help you get better at Jiu Jitsu

You want to make sure that you’re regularly attending classes, paying attention to detail, and rolling with everyone you can.

If you’re doing all those things and you feel like you’re getting good at Jiu Jitsu, but you want to try to accelerate your learning a bit, here’s a few things you can try.

Private lessons

One of these is getting private lessons when you need them.

Whether it’s a position that makes no sense whatsoever, something specific that you want to learn, or you just want to find what’s missing in your game, a private lesson with your coach might be just what you need.

Rather than struggling through something for possibly weeks on your own, you can have a private lesson so that you can figure it out quickly and move on to learning something else.


Another thing that you should do is to try to attend some seminars near you.

Attending a seminar of a world champion Jiu Jitsu practitioner can sometimes help you to see something you thought you knew in a whole new light. At the very least, you are sure to pick up a few helpful tips and learn a new position or submission.


This is probably the number one thing that you can do to get good at Jiu Jitsu.

There’s just so much benefit from testing your skills against an equally matched opponent.

At the least, you should compete a few times at every belt.

You always hear in Jiu Jitsu, “You either win or you learn,” and this is very true; many times, you learn the most from tournament losses. It helps you find weaknesses in your game you never noticed before.

After your first tournament, you’ll want to do more, they’re a lot of fun and nothing to be scared of.

Check out our article, How To Prepare For Your First BJJ Competition: A Complete Guide

Open mat

Open mat is a designated time where students are allowed to use the mats as they please. Most of this time is spent sparring, but many people use this time to work on things that they’ve been having trouble with.

It’s a perfect time to ask your Jiu Jitus buddies to help you with something, or you can even ask them to point out areas where you can use improvement.

We have a great article on open mat, What is Jiu Jitsu open mat, and should new people attend?.

Keep a journal

One thing that you can do is take notes; these can help you remember what you worked on.

Having to articulate your movements into words makes you have to think about every detail.

If you do this, try and wait until after class. Don’t interrupt your professor’s instruction to get up to write in your notebook.

Check out BJJ Journal: What It Is And How Can It Help You Improve?


When getting bit by the BJJ bug, they plan on doing it for a long time – sometimes even forever. However, the fact is that only about 1 in every 10 people who start training Jiu Jitsu ever make it to the point where they are good at it.

This is not to turn you away, but it is just to let you know that this is not an easy sport. You will get discouraged if you go into this assuming that you’ll be good at it after a few months.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

If you have a real passion for this art, and if you can keep it alight, then you will stand a much better chance at making it to a black belt.

Keep in mind that simply to go from purple to brown that you have to spend at least 18 months as a purple as one of the requirements to move on, so think long-term.

Sometimes you will lose – even to belts that are lower than you are – and sometimes you will make no progress. Remember, if you keep showing up to class one day, you’ll get good at Jiu Jitsu.

Can You Do Jiu Jitsu With A Bad Shoulder? Tips On How To Avoid Injury

Everyone gets injured at some point, whether it’s your shoulder or something else. However, in spite of injuries like a bad shoulder, life keeps moving and we have to move right along with it. If you have Jiu Jitsu classes planned, then you are no doubt left with one very important question.

I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice in any way, shape or form. Listen to your body and if you feel that you may be injured please seek medical attention.

Can you do Jiu Jitsu with a bad shoulder? Depending on the injury and amount of time healed after a shoulder injury, it is entirely possible to do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with a bad shoulder. This is as long as you’re aware of the risks and remember it’s best to let injuries heal fully. Always consult your doctor first before returning to Jiu Jitsu training after an injury.

That said, it is very important to know more about what these things mean and how you can avoid them. Also what to do for when you do eventually end up getting injured.

Getting injured is a part of training BJJ, but you should still try to stay as safe as you can.

Common Shoulder Injuries

As mentioned, these injuries can be divided up into two main categories: Traumatic and Non-traumatic.

Traumatic shoulder injuries: Are the ones that you will feel extreme pain right when they occur.

Non-traumatic or atraumatic shoulder injuries: These types of injuries you don’t feel right away when they happen and will usually sneak up on you at a later time.

For example, if you don’t tap from a kimura or key lock and your shoulder gets dislocated, that is a perfect example of a traumatic injury.

With an non-traumatic injury, on the other hand, all you may notice at first is that your shoulder simply doesn’t feel normal and is sore. Then over time the discomfort builds up, the pain gets worse and it hurts all the time.

Different types of shoulder injuries

Credit WebMD

Dislocation If your shoulder is pulled back too hard or rotated too far, the top of your arm might pop out of its socket.

Separation This injury affects the joint where your collarbone and shoulder blade come together.

Fracture. A bone can break or crack if you fall or take a hard hit.

Cartilage tear. You can injure the cartilage (the rubbery padding) that goes around the rim of your shoulder joint.

Rotator cuff tear. Your rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons in your shoulder that hold your arm in place and let you lift your arm up overhead.

Frozen shoulder. This condition limits how much your joint will move.

Impingement. This happens when the tendons of the rotator cuff get pinched in the bones of the shoulder.

Bursitis. The bursa (a fluid-filled sac that cushions in your joint) can get swollen and irritated if you repeat the same motions over and over again.

Tips For Injured Shoulders


Rest Ice Compression Elevation

This should be the first thing you do with most BJJ injuries, not just when you’re nursing a bad shoulder for Jiu Jitsu.

Sometimes a break from training, some ibuprofen and an ice pack is all you need for a mild injury.

With some shoulder injuries you may need to move your shoulder so it doesn’t lock up on you.

Frozen Shoulder

One of the most common causes of frozen shoulder is the immobility that may result during recovery from a shoulder injury, broken arm or a stroke. If you’ve had an injury that makes it difficult to move your shoulder, talk to your doctor about exercises you can do to maintain the range of motion in your shoulder joint.

Mayo Clinic


Cryotherapy is all the rave these days with cryo wellness centers popping up in big cities and celebrity endorsement from professional athletes, fighters and of course Joe Rogan.

You could try out a “Cryosauna” session where you stand in a machine that dispenses nitrogen gas around your body. This cools the surface temperature of your body to sub freezing temperatures to activate a beneficial physiological response.

A Cryotherapy session typically lasts 3 minutes and can reach temperatures near -250ºF.

Although the cryosauna targets the entire body there are cryotherapy options that can focus on specific areas of the body as well.

You can also invest in a at home cryotherapy unit for your shoulder, these won’t get to -250ºF but are a good alternative.

These use cold and compression to help reduce post-operative swelling and regain range of motion.

Check prices on Amazon for at home shoulder cryotherapy harness


Another thing that is almost always helpful for muscle-related injuries is a massage. Most massage therapists will know exactly how to help relieve the tightness in your muscles.

However, you should not underestimate how much of a difference you massaging your own shoulder can make.

Ointments and rubs

Also, there are ointments and things such as wintergreen that are great for caring for your muscles.

Lots of people recommend different things like Icy Hot, Tiger Balm, Bio Freeze, CBD, Penetrex.

Penetrex has worked the best out of all the different rubs I’ve used, only problem is it’s kind of expensive.

It’s about $20 for 2oz, you don’t need a lot and it helped me a ton when I hurt my knee.

Check Amazon for Penetrex

Go to a doctor

There is only so much you can do for an injured shoulder though, sometimes you simply must go to a doctor and have them look at it.

It is entirely possible to tear a ligament in your shoulder, and it is far better to go and have a doctor check then to let it heal wrong or, worse, to keep tearing it more.

Depending on the injury, you may need to have surgery for your shoulder. In most cases, your doctor can give you something for the pain and he may have you do some physical therapy.

You should always tell our doctor about your Jiu Jitsu training. Obey their directions as to whether it is safe for you to keep training or when you can go back to training.

Tips On How To Avoid Injury When Training 

Now that you have made it this far, you’ve probably figured out a couple of ways on how to avoid getting those shoulder injuries.

Some of these things may seem like common sense, but the fact that they are still some of the most common things that lead to injuries says something for them.

Careful when you roll hard

BJJ is a great, sometimes you can choose to keep it mellow and flow roll or sometimes you can roll hard and increase your intensity. When you’re in those hard rolls you might step up your tempo, use more strength or be more explosive.  

This is a common way that people get hurt when they are training BJJ. It may not happen every time and it’s not always your shoulder that gets hurt, but shoulder injuries are fairly common in BJJ and if you train hard you’ll eventually get hurt at some point.

Jiu jitsu can prepare you for a real fight, but you never want to hurt your training partners during practice. Don’t let your ego get the best of you and don’t let rolls get out of control.

Tap early and tap often

If you injure your shoulder in Jiu Jitsu because you refused to tap to a submission, you can only blame yourself for that. This goes back to the whole leave your ego at the door thing. Trust me, you’ll learn when you get hurt from not tapping.

When fighting out of bad spots watch for shoulder locks, it’s pretty crazy how fast a shoulder can pop before you can react.

Learn to fall

One of the first things that you should work on as a beginner is learning how to fall properly. This is a major thing that you should try to prefect in order to avoid getting shoulder and arm injuries.

Take some judo classes and get comfortable falling and being thrown, this way you’re better prepared for it when it happens.

Knowing how to land should become muscle memory and should always be something that you work on.

Build up supporting shoulder muscles

There are a lot of muscles that go into the shoulder which itself is basically nothing more than a ball and a socket. Since non-traumatic injuries are caused over time, the best tip for how to avoid this kind of injury to your shoulder is to build up the muscles around your shoulder. This is especially true of the rotator cuff and shoulder blades and the muscles that move them.

The best way to do this is to start up a regular exercise program for yourself outside of your BJJ training. Some Jiu Jitsu gyms have strength and conditioning programs that may focus on common muscle groups used in BJJ.

Keep in mind that your shoulder is connected to your biceps, triceps, pectorals, and other muscles all in the front of your chest and in your back as well. Therefore, you should work on all of these muscles in order to strengthen your shoulders properly. 


You should also be sure that you stretch often, this will not only help with non-traumatic injuries but it will also help you with mobility, soreness and overall recovery. Just watch your pain and don’t over stretch if you’re hurting.

Check out a yoga class or find some stretches on YouTube that focus on the specific area that you want to work on, such as your shoulder. Check out Yoga For BJJ here’s a chest and shoulder stretching video they have.

Avoid rolling with “That Guy”

Almost every training group has one of those people in it who has no control when it comes to tempering his movements to avoid hurting the person he is training with.

If you are new to a gym, then pay attention to the person who fights all out every single time he rolls.

You are perfectly within your rights to politely decline if that person asks you to train with them, and most of the time no one will blame you at all for doing so.

Always let people know if you have any injuries, most people will try to avoid putting you in spots that could get you re-injured.

Watch Out For The Newbies

Along with making sure that you try to avoid training with “That Guy” you should also keep a very close eye out for people who are new to BJJ.

When someone is first learning Jiu Jitsu they can sometimes react in ways that are entirely unpredictable and downright dangerous and painful. Newbies sometimes have very little control and are more likely to end up spazzing all over the place.

You also will probably want to be careful training with a new person when you’re nursing an injury for that same reason.

Let people know how you want to roll

You should let your training partner know if you plan on rolling a certain way so they can be prepared for your level of intensity.

When someone is preparing for a tournament, they are trying to reach their peak performance and it should be an understood fact before you begin that the goal of the roll is to help their skills more than it is to win.

This isn’t specific to Jiu Jitsu shoulder injuries but make sure to discuss with your teammate if you plan on rolling with certain rule sets that include submissions or take downs that could cause injury.

Stick to the technique

If you’re drilling certain throw or submissions then you shouldn’t do anything else and stick to the move you’re drilling.

Not only is it rude to work on a different technique than what is being taught, you could potentially injure your partner by adding something in without warning.

Make sure that you are in agreement as to if you are just sticking to the technique you are working on and give each other a head’s up if you plan on trying anything else and let them know what you are doing.

Watch your surroundings

Lastly, try to make sure that you know what the people around you are doing too. You don’t want to be rolling right next to two big guys that are working take downs.

There’s always going to be accidents on the mats just do your best to avoid causing any if possible.

That about wraps it up, we hope that we provided good information and answered a lot of your questions on training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with a bad shoulder.

Thanks for reading!

Please comment and share!

2022’s list of celebrities that train BJJ


A complete list of celebrity BJJ paractitioners

Here at Let’s roll BJJ we wanted to make an updated 2020 list of celebrities that train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Many of the lists that we found online were a few years old and lacked some of the celebrities that recently took up BJJ.

We will do our best to provide lineage and rank of the celebrity Jiu Jitsu practitioners that we list here. Also if a celebrity has any BJJ accolades worth highlighting, we’ll make sure to mention those as well.

We hope to keep this list updated and have it grow over time. Please comment and let us know if we missed any celebrities that train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that you’d like to see on this list.

Celebrity Joe Rogan receiving his black belt from Jean Jacques Machado

1. Joe Rogan

The biggest podcaster on the planet, actor, comedian, Fear Factor host and UFC commentator Joe Rogan has been involved in martial arts for a very long time.

He competed in taekwondo at a young age and began training Jiu Jitsu in 1996 under Carlson Gracie in Hollywood. He’s a 10th Planet black belt under Eddie Bravo and he’s also received his black belt from Jean Jacques Machado.

If you’re a fan of The Joe Rogan Experience you’ll know he’s a huge endorser of BJJ and he often encourages his listeners to try Jiu Jitsu.

If you look around YouTube you can find fan made motivational videos quoting Rogan talking about the benefits of training Jiu Jitsu and other martial arts.

Celebrity Russell Brand receiving his blue belt

2. Russell Brand

Russell Brand is an English actor, comedian, activist, yogi and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner.

Brand has been seen talking about his BJJ experiences online, making a few Facebook and YouTube videos talking about his struggles as a white belt.

The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star recently received his blue belt from Kev Capel and trains at RGA Bucks.

3. Guy Ritchie

British action movie director Guy Ritchie is known for films such as Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sherlock Holmes and The Gentlemen and was also married to Madonna for a while.

He’s trained BJJ since the early 2000’s and holds black belt under Renzo Gracie, which he received in 2015.

After hearing him talk about training Jiu Jitsu on the Joe Rogan Experience, you can tell that Guy Ritchie is crazy about BJJ like the rest of us.

Celebrity Jason Statham sitting on the mats after training BJJ

4. Jason Statham

Since we mentioned Guy Ritchie it’s only right that we mention Jason Statham as well. He and Ritchie have trained together and have come up together in Hollywood.

Statham has starred and featured in many of Ritchie’s movies and lots of other block buster hits.

Jason is a purple belt and also fights under the Renzo Gracie flag.

Not only does Statham train BJJ he also trains karate, kickboxing and was on England’s national diving team. Needless to say that Jason Statham is a pretty bad ass dude in real life as well as in his films.

Celebrity Russel Peters showing off his blue belt after being promoted

5. Russell Peters

Peters has been seen in a few films and has appeared on some TV shows, but he’s best known for his award winning stand up comedy.

He’s originally from Toronto and has a couple of Netflix specials. Russell recently received his blue belt from Jean Jacques Machado in 2018.

Peters was in the media seen using his Jiu Jitsu to help stop a thief at a New York City jewelry store. He also talks about the incident on the Joe Rogan Experience check that out here.

Celebrity Vin Diesel pictured in a BJJ gi with Marcus Vinicius

6. Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel has been training BJJ on and off for years as you can tell from this old picture with Marcus Vinicius. He was last spotted training for Fast and Furious 7 with Rigan Machado in 2014.

Although we couldn’t find his official rank we did find that Minotauro Nogueira was quoted saying “I’ve trained with him a few times. He’s got skills, he’s about blue belt level.” when talking about Vin Diesel.

We’ll take Big Nog’s word for it and say Diesel is probably a Jiu Jitsu blue belt.

Actor Jonah Hill pictured with UFC veteran Kenny Florian at a Jiu Jitsu gym

7. Jonah Hill

Jonah is one of the most recent celebrities seen training BJJ. He’s pictured above sporting a 2 stripe white belt with UFC veteran and commentator Kenny Florian.

That was posted Kenny’s IG for Hill’s 1 year BJJ anniversary November 2019. If Jonah keeps it up he’s right track for his blue belt.

Hill is known for his work as an actor in many movies such as Super Bad, 21 jump street and he’s also been nominated for two academy awards for Best Supporting Actor.

He also gone through a massive body change and hardly looks like his old self which is great. Hopefully the Jiu Jitsu helps hill keep that weight off and continue to improve his health.

Maynard James Keenan pictured wearing his bjj gi sporting a purple belt

8. Maynard James Keenan

The lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle Keenan has been training for quiet some time. He started training in the mid 90’s under Rickson Gracie and became a purple belt in 2015.

There’s an old video of Keenan hip tossing and slapping a rear naked choke on a fan that rushed the stage of one of his shows. I’ll save you the time and show you here. I got to say his technique was pretty clean.

Fast forward to 2:47 to watch the sweet hip toss to back take from Maynard on stage

WWE superstar Dave Bautista wearing his Jiu Jitsu purple belt on the mats

9. Dave Bautista

WWE superstar Dave Bautista is a BJJ purple belt under Caesar Gracie and has been training Jiu Jitsu since 2010.

Bautista, who’s also known for his role in The Guardians of the Galaxy movies and other films, has competed in MMA as well. This dude isn’t scared of a challenge, and honestly there can’t be much that does scare him.

He’s 6’6″, 290lbs and he’s got a purple belt… He sounds like a legit beast and a nightmare on the mats, I can only imagine what it’s like to roll with the guy.

World champion surfer and BJJ blue belt Kelly Slater pictured with Mendes brothers

10. Kelly Slater

World champion surfer Kelly Slater is a big fan of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and highly recommends that children be involved in BJJ at a young age.

Slater began training in California with BJJ legend Rickson Gracie and has recently been seen training at the Mendes Brother’s Art or Jiu Jitsu gym in SoCal with a 2 stripe blue belt.

Put your kids in Jiu Jitsu before other sports.

Kelly Slater

When on the Joe Rogan podcast Slater talk a lot about his love for surfing and his new found love for BJJ.

Pro surfer and Jiu Jitsu black belt Joel Tudor

11. Joel Tudor

While we’re talking about surfers we have to mention 2x world long board surfing champion Joel Tudor who’s got a bit of bad blood with Slater. Joel’s jit jitsu achievements are as impressive as his surfing accomplishments.

He’s been training since 2003 and has a black belt under the Carlson Gracie banner. Not to mention he’s competed tournaments like pan ams, US nationals and ADCC.

Chris Pratt training Jiu Jitsu with the Noguera brothers

12. Chris Pratt

Another Guardians of the galaxy’s star, Chris Pratt has been seen demonstrating his wrestling skill with the Noguera brothers.

Chris is a big MMA fan and was a wrestler in high school, it shows in this video that he’s still got it. It’s not confirmed on if or how long he’s been training BJJ but he’s definitely no slouch, and knows for to grapple, that’s for sure.

Maybe we’ll see him start training for one for his new roles coming up. It seems like he’s in everything these days so he’s bound to need some sweet Jiu Jitsu skills at some point.

Vince Vaughn earning his blue belt In BJJ

13. Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn is a popular American actor who’s been in lots of hit comedies such as, Dodge ball, Old School, Wedding Crasher and The Break Up, to name a few.

He’s been staying out of lime light recently but it seems he has been hitting the mats and training BJJ a bit more. He received his blue belt in February 2018 form Rener Gracie and he continues to train with Rener.

It took him 2 years to get his blue belt and if he keeps up that pace he’ll be getting his purple in no time at all.

Shaq rolling with UFC veteran Forrest Griffin

14. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq may be one of the biggest people on the planet, in every way possible. From basketball and rapping to movies and TV commercials, Shaq has done it all.

So it’s only expected that he’s tried Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and not only has he trained he’s also put on a exhibition match with UFC veteran Forest Griffin.

Having an iconic figured like Shaq endorse and talk about BJJ is great and helps the sport gain recognition. Shaq has also trained boxing and MMA, and is often expressing his love for the sport.

Ed O'neill in a BJJ gi doing his famous Al Bundy pose

15. Ed O’neill

Ed O’neill is known for his roles as Al Bundy on Married With Children and Jay Pritchett on Modern Family.

O’neill has been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 22 years and received his black belt from Rorion Gracie in 2007.

He can be seen in many YouTube videos talking about his BJJ journey, listening to him talk about Jiu Jitsu, you can tell he really has a love for the art.

Travis Barker and Ryron Gracie on the Jiu Jitsu mats

16. Travis Barker

Barker the drummer for Blink 182 has recently been posting on social media about training BJJ and it seems to be a family affair and his kids are training too.

He’s been a long time fan of MMA and was on the Joe Rogan Experience talking about Jiu Jitsu and his time training.

Barker is not only a successful musician but he’s also had a successful clothing line and owns one of the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles.

He’s a white belt and trains at Torrence Gracie Academy with Rener and Ryron Gracie.

Rapper Wiz Khalifa wearing a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi standing with Rigan Machado

17. Wiz Khalifa

Rapper Wiz Khalifa is known for his billboard hits like Work Hard Play Hard, Black and Yellow and See You Again. Lately he’s been getting into BJJ and MMA, he also boast about gaining almost 40 lbs from training and eating right.

He hasn’t been shy about posting his progress on social media either.,you can find Instagram videos of him hitting mitts and working with his Mauy Thai coach. Haven’t see one of him rolling yet, it would be cool if something like that surfaced.

Given how pro cannabis Khalifa is, I honestly would have taken him for a 10th Planet kind of guy. He got his first stripe from Rigan Machado instead. Either way it’s good to see the Pittsburgh rapper taking up Jiu Jitsu and MMA.

Comedian Joey Diaz receiving his BJJ blue belt

18. Joey “Coco” Diaz

Uncle Joey is a Cuban American comedian who’s great friends with Joe Rogan, which likely has a lot to do with how he got into Jiu Jitsu.

He’s a repeat guest on the JRE and has a Podcast of his own called The Church of What’s Happening Now: With Joey Coco Diaz. A dirty comic who keeps it real, it’s great to have him in the BJJ community.

Diaz is open about his crazy past of crime and drug use, he does a great job in finding humor in it. He’s mentioned a few times on how Jiu Jitsu changed his life for the better.

Joey trains at Legacy BJJ in L.A. and was awarded his blue belt on August 2016 by Alberto Crane.

Ashton Kutcher pictured with Rigan Machado after receiving his BJJ brown belt

19. Aston Kutcher

You’ll recognize Aston from MTV’s Punk’d and That 70s show but he’s been in the Jiu Jitsu scene for a while now. His coach Rigan Machado, who recently promoted Kutcher to brown belt, even believes that he can beat Conor McGregor in a grappling match.

I’m skeptical, but I would still probably watch it.

Ashton Kutcher has some notable things worth mentioning he does great work with helping fight human trafficking.

Ashton Kutcher Helps Save 6,000 Kids from Sex Trafficking Via His Organization with Demi Moore

Soon after receiving his brown belt Ashton was seen rolling with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu star Craig Jones on Instagram.

Demi Lovato showing off her new blue belt with coach

20. Demi Lovato

Celebrities training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all the rave these days and even big pop stars like Demi Lovato are hitting the mats. Anytime a big celebrity post on Instagram, about getting a stripe or moving up in belt rank it big news everywhere.

Demi Lovato was no exception, when she started Tweeting and posting BJJ pictures on IG the internet went nuts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was a buzz. She was recently seen posting a picture of her 2 stripe blue belt.

We all have our opinions on celebrities who train under a “celebrity training program” that are offered at a few of the Hollywood BJJ gyms. But regardless of that anytime you have huge stars shining light on our sport, it’s a good thing.

Chuck Norris training Jiu Jitsu with the Machados circa 1994

21. Chuck Norris

Walker Texas Ranger is one bad ass dude, this guy needs no introduction. He’s definitely one of the most recognizable faces in martial arts.

He’s mostly known for his karate but Chuck has been training Jiu Jitsu for over 30 years, he’s even trained with Helio Gracie himself! Norris received his 3rd stripe on his black belt at the age of 75.

Chuck Norris is one of the first Americans to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Jean Jacques Machado. Chuck is also the reason that the Machado brothers were able to open their first gym in Encino.

The man is an embodiment of what it means to be a martial artist and any time you hear people talk about him, it’s always nice things.

Sean Patrick Flanery wearing a bjj gi

22. Sean Patrick Flanery

The Boondock Saints star has been involved in BJJ for a while and has been a Jiu Jitsu black belt since 2008.

He’s been in martial arts his whole life but Flanery began training BJJ with Rickson Gracie in Los Angeles and spent 3 years under Rickson before moving to Renzo’s in NYC, where he earned his black belt.

SPF teaches at Hollywood Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/Team Paragon Academy.

Tournament highlights: 2003 Pan Am Champion, 2003 American Nationals Champion, 2002 1st Annual Inland Empire Champion.

Keanu Reeves training Jiu Jitsu for the movie John Wick

23. Keanu Reeves

If you’ve seen any of the John Wick movies, you probably notice all the judo and Jiu Jitsu that’s in them. Keanu made sure to train with the best BJJ in Hollywood and began practicing under the Machado brothers.

Reeves may only be a white belt but here sure make his BJJ look good on the big screen. Here’s some behind the scenes footage on his training for the film.

It’s nice to see the most wholesome actor on the planet training the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Tom Hardy getting his second stripe on his BJJ white belt

24. Tom Hardy

Action star Tom Hardy has been in quite a few blockbuster movies, famous for roles in Batman, Mad Max and Venom, it doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere soon.

Hardy seems to be hitting the mats hard recently and takes Jiu Jitsu serious by the looks of it.

Hardy was first introduced to BJJ in 2011 when he had some training for his role in Warrior where he played an MMA fighter.

In April of 2019 Hard got his 2nd stripe on his white belt from Carlos Santos.

Jonathan Lipnicki sporting 4 stripe Jiu Jitsu brown belt

25. Jonathan Lipnicki

If you don’t recognize Jonathan now, you might remember him from his roles in Jerry Mcguire and Stuart Little.

Jonathan Lipnicki as a child

He’s grown up a bit and is still acting.

In his teenage years, Lipnicki was a victim of bullying. He turned to Jiu Jitsu to help him with depression and anxiety.

Now he’s now a black belt and is training under Alan Zborovsky. Judging from his social media postings he takes BJJ pretty seriously.

We look forward to hearing about him getting his black belt in the near future.

Freddie Prinze Jr showing off 4 stripe blue belt

26. Freddie Prinze Jr.

Since we brought back some 90’s nostalgia with Jonathan Lipnicki, we’ll keep it going with Freddie Prinze Jr.

Jr. was in some pretty big movies like, I know what you did last summer, She’s all that and Scooby Doo. He is also married Sarah Michelle Gellar.

He first tried BJJ when he was 12 years old under Jean Jacques Machado. Freddie also wants his kids involved in BJJ early and got his daughter started at the age of 5.

In 2015 he was quoted saying that he’s retired and all he does is BJJ, surf and hang out with his kids. Sounds like Freddie Prinze Jr. is living the dream if you ask us.

In 2017 Jr. posted a picture on IG showing off a 4 stripe blue belt and was training at The Gracie Academy in Torrance.

RJ Mitte posing with Rigan Machado after training Jiu Jitsu

27. RJ Mitte

In November 2019 Mitte was spotted on the mats via Rigan Machado’s IG account few times.

We’re not sure if he training for a role or if he’s just trying out Jiu Jitsu. Either way it’s good to see the Breaking Bad actor taking up the sport.

RJ is an actor with cerebral palsy. Check out his story, RJ Mitte of ‘Breaking Bad’ on Living with Cerebral Palsy.

CM Punk posing in the ring with WWE belt

28. CM Punk

Even though Punk is technically a UFC fighter, it wasn’t that long ago that he was a big star in the WWE. Got to give it to the guy, it takes a lot of guts to give MMA a go in your late 30’s.

CM Punk is 0-2 in the ufc. He continues to train at Roufusport and has a blue belt in BJJ under Daniel Wanderley.

I’ve had the pleasure of training with Professor Wanderley and some of the guys from Roufusport, their fighters are legit and Punk is getting top notch training there.

Robert Pattinson with Rigan Machado at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym

29. Robert Pattinson

You probably recognize Robert form the Twlight series, looks like he’s making the which to playing a superhero.

In preparation for his role as Batman, Pattinson was spotted training Jiu Jitsu with Rigan Machado.

It’s pretty cool to see BJJ start to become a mainstream thing, we just got to make sure it doesn’t get watered down along the way.

We’re assuming that Rob is a white belt, because only a white belt who doesn’t know any better wears his shoes on the mats. That’s a big no no in BJJ, learn more about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu etiquette.

Celebrity model Kate Upton getting her first Jiu Jitsu stripe

30. Kate Upton

Sports Illustrated swim suit model Kate Upton has been a hot topic in BJJ lately. She demonstrated a rear naked choke on Jimmy Fallon during her recent interview on The Tonight Show.

Kate Upton showing off her Jiu Jitsu moves on Jimmy Fallon

Upton also posted a picture on Instagram after she received her first stripe on her white belt, that’s a big step in her Jiu Jitsu journey. Her coach commented on her hard work, hopefully Kate keeps it up and we she her get her blue belt in the near future.

Kevin James playing an MMA fighter in Here Comes The Boom

31. Kevin James

Kevin James is a famous comic who made a name for himself as the star of King of Queens sitcom. He also stared in Here Comes The Boom, a film where he plays a high school teacher that get needs to raise money to save his school from shutting down their extracurricular programs and he does so by becoming a professional MMA fighter.

3x King of Pancrase champ and UFC hall of famer Bas Rutten co-starred with James in Here Comes The Boom. You can catch him talking about Kevins legit martial arts skills on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

UFC’s Chris Weidman has also done some acting with Kevin James as well as trained with him a bit. Weidman claims that James is really good at MMA and has been training for 15 years.

We we came up short when we tried to find Kevin James BJJ rank or lineage, but given that former UFC champion Chris Weidman, Joe Rogan and Bas Rutten all vouch for him on his MMA skills. It’s probably safe to say the Kevin James has some grappling and BJJ skills and belongs on this list.

Charlie Hunnam pictured with Rigan Machado after training Jiu Jitsu

32. Charlie Hunnam

Charlie Hunnam is an English actor that first started making a name for himself with films like Children of Men and Green Street Hooligans. He’s he’s starred in major hits such as Pacific Rim and King Arthur on the big screen, and Sons of Anarchy on television.

The guy seems to stay busy working and he’s incorporated BJJ into his fitness routine since he began training Jiu Jitsu for his role in King Arthur in 2016.

Hunnam was pictured with Rigan Macchado and wearing a blue belt in August 2019.

Jason Momoa with his jiu jiusu instructors

33. Jason Momoa

Nicolas Cage picture with Rigan Machado BJJ

34. Nicolas Cage

Prince Jackson receiving his BJJ blue belt

35. Prince Jackson

36. Mel Gibson

37. Mickey Rourke

38. Jason David Frank

39. Usher

The Undertaker

40. The Undertaker

Scarlett Johansson posing with BJJ coach Rigan Machado

41. Scarlett Johansson

Steve Aoki promo picture

42. Steve Aoki

Celebrity Scott Caan training with Renzo Gracie

43. Scott Caan

Celebrity Henry Cavill training Jiu Jitsu with Roger Gracie

44. Henry Cavill

Celebrities that passed away who trained BJJ

There’s a few celebrities that practiced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who left us too soon. We wanted to make sure that we honored them properly, to let them know that they’re gone but not forgotten.

This section is dedicated to all the celebrity BJJ practitioners who have passed away, may their memories live on forever.

Steven Irwin

Michael Clarke Duncan

Anthony Bourdain

Paul Walker

That’s all the BJJ celebrities for now

We’ll continue to update this list as often as possible so make sure to check back for new celebrities that join the ranks.

We hope to one day have a complete list of celebrity Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners.

This list may never be fully complete and is likely to be a constant work in progress.

Thanks for reading!

Make sure to comment and share!

BJJ Open Mat: What is it and should new people attend?

An audio version of this blog post to take with you on the go!

What is open mat time

If you’re new to Jiu Jitsu you’re probably not familiar with the term open mat.

You may have seen it on the gym schedule, or you’ve overheard teammates ask each other if they’ll be there or not.

You’ve probably debated whether or not you should go to an open mat session, and you’re wondering what you might be missing out.

What is Jiu Jitsu open mat, and should new people attend? The short answer is yes, but you should expect to roll(spar). Open mat is a designated time for you and your teammates to use the mats as you’d like. There’s no actual class at these times, so it’s up to you to decide what you use it for.

Most of your teammates will be rolling, drilling moves, practicing new things they’ve been working on, generally being social, and likely talking about Jiu Jitsu.

Open mat time is a time when you can come to the gym, and there is no set class, but the mats are “Open” for you and your teammates to use.

You and your training partners are left to your own devices, and you can use this time for lots of things.

No one is going to warm you up or go over any positions, so you don’t necessarily need to be there on time either.

Many gyms have different open mat days and hours. Often if a gym will be open for a holiday, it may hold an open mat instead of a regular class.

Some gyms hold open mats on weekends; some even have a “No politics” open mat. My old gym did this, and my coach allowed anyone from any gym to come and train on those times.

What to expect at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu open mat

Lots of rolling, that’s mainly what people go to an open mat for. You will see some drilling and talking.

You may also be asked to be someone’s grappling dummy so they can try something new they’ve been working on.

Occasionally your instructor might show a move or ask a visiting black belt to show something. This would happen from time to time at our gym’s open mat.

Sometimes during open mat, you might even have people drop in as visitors, and you can have some new people to roll with.

You can also check other gym’s open mat times and see if they allow visitors as well.

If your gym has rules on new white belts rolling and you haven’t started sparring yet, you might want to check with your instructor before showing up to open mat.

I started at a gym where everybody rolled. It didn’t matter if it was your first day. If you wanted to roll, they let you.

I know not all gyms are like that, and if your gym has specific rules about how long you train before you roll, open mat might be closed to you, so check beforehand.

If you’re new and don’t feel comfortable rolling yet, you might want to think about holding off on open mat until you get used to sparring.

Check out our article on 10 Tips & Tricks to Improve Your Jiu Jitsu Rolling Sessions

How can you benefit from going to open

Get to know your teammates

Some people are all business when it comes to Jiu Jitsu, I know I can be, with my busy schedule and life. I don’t have time to hang out and socialize at the gym as much as I’d like.

At open mat, I’m able to talk with my teammates and get to know them better. At regular classes, there isn’t enough time for me to do this. Usually, after rolling, I have to head out.

Since open mats are usually between 1-2 hours long, after a few rounds of rolling, you’ll find yourself resting and more than likely chatting with your training partners.

Sometimes after an open mat, some of your training partners might even go out for drinks and food afterward.

Once in awhile, although not valid for every gym, there may even be drinks and food at your open mat session. The first gym I went to would occasionally have BBQs/open mat days; those were always fun.

Get advice on your game

Open mat is one of the best times for you to seek and ask for help with your BJJ game. I think this is one of the best things that you can use this open mat for.

If you’re having a hard time in a particular position, go and ask someone to put you in that position.

You can ask people to show you what to do from a position that you don’t understand or often struggle with.

You can also ask a higher belt to show you that move they always catch you with. Ask them what it is that you blatantly do wrong that you can improve on.

You can even ask your professor to go over the move that he taught earlier that week that you might have forgotten a step to.

Maybe you tried the move, and it got countered, ask him what to do if that happens again.

Experiment with that new technique you’ve wanted to try

Like you can ask someone for advice on your game, you can also try something you’ve wanted to work on.

We’ve all seen that move on YouTube that makes us think, “I wonder if I can catch someone with that,” well go try it on someone at open mat.

You can do this in a live roll, or you can ask a training partner to be a willing victim while you work through the steps.

A lot of times, people are interested in learning new things as well. It’s possible that they watched the same video and were curious about it too.

Just ask someone, “Mind if I try something on you real quick,” I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say no to this at open mat.

Visit other open mats to get new people to roll with

I mentioned earlier that my old gym had a “No politics” policy for open mat. This was great, and it’d be nice to see more gyms do this, it’s such a great way to build a sense of community in our sport.

We were a competition focused school, and we loved getting new people to roll with. Our coach also encouraged us to cross-train as much as possible.

Dropping in at other gyms is something you should take advantage of. You can do this in your city or when you’re on vacation.

Always make sure to check a gym’s website or call to make sure it’s ok to drop in. Also, be aware that some gyms might have a drop-in fee.

We have a whole section of our site dedicated to finding the best BJJ in cities around the world. Check it out here.

Make sure to check out open mat next time and get some good rolls in. It’s guaranteed to be a good time.

Let us know what’s your favorite thing about open mat.

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, please make sure to comment, subscribe, and share.

BJJ etiquette, what to know when training Jiu Jitsu


If you’ve started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu then you may or may not have noticed that certain things are considered to be proper gym etiquette.

Some of these things might be written out clearly on posters on the walls of the gym. Other “unwritten rules” may not be obvious to newcomers.

Some gyms may not be as strict on other things when it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym etiquette.

Things like asking higher belts to roll or how you should address your coach may be flexible, but you always practice good hygiene.

Rules on hygiene should always be taken seriously.

We wanted to compose a general list of commonly known BJJ gym etiquette to help people get an idea of how they should better prepare for a gym visit.

1. Hygiene

Look for posters or a pamphlet in your gym; these may go over some of the basic hygiene that is expected.

Many times you’ll be told what to bring and what you’ll need to do to come prepared when you sign up.

Keep the mats clean

Never walk on the mats with your shoes or flip flops still on your feet

The mat will absorb any nasty germs that are on the bottom of your shoes.

On top of making the mats dirty. It will make it unsanitary for the students who are rolling around on the mats; this is how Staph infections happen.

Mats are expensive, and wearing street shoes could potentially damage them.

The only type of shoes allowed on the mats should be wrestling shoes, and that’s only if your gym allows them for wrestling or no-gi Jiu Jitsu.

Always wear your flip flops or shoes when you step off the mat

Especially in the bathroom.

To prevent germs from getting onto the bottom of your feet, you should wear flip flops or other shoes around the gym.

Even a clean bathroom floor is still a bathroom floor. I sure as hell don’t want to roll around on whatever is on that floor.

You do not want to track those germs onto the mat!

This is a big deal when it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu etiquette. Make sure to keep your sandals close to the mat, so it’s easier for you to step in and out of them.

Stay home if you’re sick

Finally, if you have ringworm or anything like it, then common sense should tell you that you should not be on the mats.

Only until there is no chance of it spreading to anyone else should you even consider coming back to training.

The same goes for having a cold or being contagious in any way.

Remember that your fellow teammates do not want to get sick just because you feel good enough to get back to training.

Keep yourself clean

Trim your nails

One of the things that you should do that might not be written down anywhere is that you should keep your nails trimmed short.

I keep my nails short. I also make sure to have a set of nail clippers in my gym bag, just in case I forget to cut my nails.

If you plan on training consistently, make sure not to let your nails get too long. If you don’t your nails short, then you are far more likely to scratch someone accidentally.

Cover up cuts and don’t roll with fresh tattoos

You want to cover up any small cuts or scrapes that you might have. Sports tape is your best friend in these situations, make sure to tape up those cuts. Open wounds get infected, and no one wants your blood on them.

No matter how careful everyone is in keeping the mat sanitary, there are germs on the mat.

You don’t want these germs to end up making you sick by getting into your cuts or tattoos. Nor do you want any germs from your cuts to get onto the mat.

Make sure to wait before getting back to training if you just got some new ink. Tattoos are big open wounds, let that shit heal before you roll to prevent infection.

Remove piercings and other jewelry

You should also make sure that you remove any piercings or other jewelry before you head onto the mat.

While no one will intentionally try to hurt you, things can get tangled up or snagged when you’re rolling(sparring).

I even remove my wedding ring because I was told there’s a chance it could skin my own finger.

Bathe and wash your gi

I can’t believe I have to say this, but make sure you shower regularly and wash your gi after every use. It’s bad BJJ etiquette to be a dirty training partner.

Don’t be nasty by not showering or not washing your gear. Dirty people get clean people sick. Don’t be dirty!

No one is going to want to partner up with you if either you or your gi smell bad. Keep in mind the proximity that some of the positions you and your training partners will be in. 

If you don’t know who the stinky guy is at your gym, it might be you.

2. Show Respect

Show up on time

The first thing that you should be doing to show respect is get to class on time.

Life happens sometimes, but being late regularly or skipping warmups shows a lack of respect both to your coach and your fellow students.

Check your ego

When you show up, you should leave your ego at the door, especially if you are a newbie.

Confidence is a great thing, but if you go into the gym for the first time and you are dripping with arrogance, your new teammates may very well pair you up with their best and watch you get brought down to size.

Having a big ego is not good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu etiquette.

Most people who train BJJ are pretty chill and don’t go to the gym to wreck people or hurt people. This sport is the ultimate ego killer, and if you can’t handle that, then it might not be for you.

Show your instructor respect

You’re usually safe to refer to a black belt as professor. Sometimes coach or instructor is fine, but it depends on how “traditional” your school is.

Some black belts don’t care if you call them by their first name others want you to always refer to them by professor; it just depends.

If you are in doubt, listen to what the older students call them by and then follow suit.

Another way that you should respect your instructor is by keeping talking down to only what might be necessary while they are explaining something.

This will not only show them respect by acknowledging that what they are saying is important but also your teammates who are trying to hear even if you are not.

Finally don’t forget to greet your instructor and teams when you get on the mats.

Remember be friendly and have fun!

Check out our article “What Is a Jiu Jitsu Teacher Called?”.

3. Understand there’s a pecking order

Don’t teach or coach upper belts

The first thing that you should keep in mind is that if you’re new, it’s not your place to teach someone else something. Even if you think you have it down and see that they need help with it.

Unless you have already been training for years, then you don’t know all that you need to to teach someone else.

Let your coach do the teaching, that’s what they’re there for.

If you’ve been training for a while and someone asks you for a few pointers, then to do so is fine. Make sure to save that for when your professor isn’t actively teaching.

Working different moves than what’s being taught at the moment is kind of rude.

Wait to be invited to roll by higher belts

Also, when you’re new, you should be careful about asking someone who is at a higher level than you to roll.

Do this only if you already know them and that they won’t mind.

On the other hand, if they ask you to join them on the mat, then you should not refuse to do so unless you have a good reason.

The higher ranked students have the right of way on a mat.

So if you and your partner are wandering a little close to a pair that are higher level, you should move to another area of the mats where there is more room, not them.

Try not to make the higher belts stop their roll because you weren’t paying attention to your surroundings.

4. Be a good training partner

Don’t be a spaz

One of the common mistakes that beginners make is to start the fight explosively and then to tap out because of exhaustion once you wear out.

This is sometimes referred to as “spazzing,” and it is something that is most often happens when someone is new and overexcited to roll.

Most of the time, the more experienced person will be victorious, and the spaz might go puke in the trash can.

Gas tapping

Don’t tap because you ran out of gas fighting for position.

If you tap out as soon as your opponent has you on your back, not only is this taking the easy way out, you also fail to learn how to survive in bad positions.

It also prevents your opponent from getting to practice their dominant position as well.

If you need to gas tap, you should try to hold out until you’re in a neutral position.

Don’t fight dirty

Things that are NOT ALLOWED in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are:

  • Strikes of any kind including punching, kicking, elbowing, kneeing, and head butting.
  • Slamming your training partner.
  • Eye gouging or eye poking.
  • Hair pulling
  • Fish hooking
  • Small joint manipulation. Grabbing and bending fingers.

When fighting grips or defending chokes, you can grab three or more fingers at a time, but never are you to bend someone’s finger in an attempt to break it. That’s a good way to get your ass kicked, seriously.

Although legal, don’t put your knee with the weight of your body on someone’s face or neck, that’s also not cool.

Don’t celebrate tapping training partners

Finally, keep in mind that getting a tap when rolling with training partners doesn’t mean anything, and you should never celebrate when you do.

If your main focus when you’re rolling at the gym is to win, you’re doing it wrong. Save that for the tournaments, work with your teammates, get in bad spots, and tap often.

If you celebrate taps or get mad when someone catches you, no one is going to like you.

Final Tips

When visiting new gyms have a gi that you can wear with no team patch. Also, make sure to assume that any gym you visit is traditional old school Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, until told otherwise.

Some traditional things to be aware of:

  • Bow when you step on and off the mat.
  • Greet black belts first and address them as professor.
  • Follow the pecking order when asking people to roll.

You should always be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for other people rolling. Don’t roll off the mats or into a wall because you’re not paying attention.

Keep your training partner’s safety in mind, and don’t be a jerk. There’s a difference between rolling hard and rolling like a jackass. Eventually you’ll run into the mat enforcer, and they’ll bring you back down to earth.

That about wraps it up for our tips on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu etiquette. Keep some of these things in mind when first starting or when visiting a new gym.

Thanks for reading!

Think we missed something? Tell us in the comments below.

Make sure to subscribe to informative BJJ related articles.

What are the biggest benefits of youth sports for children?


Today we’re going to talk about the different benefits of youth sports for children. As well as the stresses and pressure that they can cause on both parents and kids alike.

If you are the parent of a young child, entering the world of youth sports can feel extremely overwhelming.

The youth sports industrial complex has made a big business out of what used to be a simple world of care-free sports.

Ratcheting up the pressure and making every parent think their child will be set up for failure if they aren’t playing on five travel teams and taking one-on-one lessons with a personal coach from the moment they begin playing.

Youth sports have come to resemble the professional sports leagues that welcome one in a million to their ranks.

Reading that first paragraph, you feel ready to throw in the towel and keep your youngster out of the world of youth sports entirely – especially for the pre-k crowd.

If you keep a level head and approach the experience with a positive, low-key mindset, there are dozens of benefits waiting for your little athlete.

Keep an open mind and allow your child to spread their wings in youth sports, and both parent and child can experience immense personal growth. For many children, playing sports becomes a crucial part of their development, both socially and physically.

The physical benefits of playing youth sports are obvious. By playing sports, children develop body control and an awareness of their movements.

Childhood obesity continues to rise at an alarming rate, but children who begin playing sports at a young age are over 60 percent less likely to become obese later in life.

Learning the value of physical activity and exercise while their brains are still forming allows children to form positive associations with being active. Those healthy habits and a passion for moving can last a lifetime.

Playing youth sports also helps children become stronger and makes their bodies healthier.

Their endurance improves and they are able to run longer and faster and jump higher. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest contributors to poor health, and children must be guided into staying active.

The risk of developing heart disease and diabetes drop dramatically when an active lifestyle is started from a young age.

Children love to run, jump and play – foster that youthful exuberance and channel it through sports and it can set them up for a lifetime of joyful movement.

In this age of screens and constant scrolling and tapping, your child will benefit from as much time on their feet as possible.

The physical benefits of sports for young children are numerous. There are also so many social benefits they can reap by getting involved. Sports teach self esteem and show children that they are able to accomplish many things they set their mind too.

Playing sports also helps children learn to set goals, unlocking huge confidence boosts when they become accomplishments. Sports will allow your child to realize they have many talents and become excited about developing them.

Discipline is also a huge part of being on a sports team, and another benefit of getting your child started as an athlete at a young age.

It’s no secret that many children lack self control and discipline – no fault of their own, it’s hard being a kid!

Sports teach children to follow directions, learn and respect rules and control their emotions.

Something as simple as performing a footwork drill or standing in line waiting for their turn to shoot the ball is actually very important in a child’s development.

Following the structured rules of a game of basketball or soccer is much different from unstructured play time. Both are important, but children’s brains benefit from stability and boundaries.

Team sports also play a key role in helping children develop their ability to share, work together, respect others and make great friendships.

Almost every adult remains friends deep into their grown lives with at least one person they played sports with as a child.

Teamwork and sharing do not always come naturally to children, especially before they start kindergarten. Youth sports teach them to work with others. Everyone has seen the videos of first-time soccer tots all coming together to chase the ball in a giant herd.

Within a year, they’ll be playing a game that much more closely resembles soccer as adults know it thanks to learning how to think like a team instead of a single unit trying to score all on their own every time the ball comes close to them.

A good coach will foster a sense of belonging in his youth athletes, allowing each of them to feel as though they have an important role on the team.

Every child should get a chance to have a leadership role while playing youth sports, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to an adult. Children value feeling as though they bring something important and valuable to the group.

Having a chance to act as a leader among their peers gives children an opportunity to thrive in their own world without having to feel beholden to adults at all times.

Being on a team teaches children how to respect and value their teammates, forming tight social bonds.

In many towns, children will play with the same group for their entire sports career. This allows them to form a sense of community and belonging. Children learn that they must work together with others to win as a team.

A team that works together will often be able to take down a disorganized bunch with one elite star player. Being able to work as a team is an important part of a child’s future as an adult. We must all be able to work in a team setting to do our jobs well.

Communication is also a huge part of playing sports, and children must learn how to effectively relay their desires, plans, feelings and excitement in a mature way.

This can be something as simple as calling for a pass at the right time or pointing a teammate to the right spot while running a play.

Your child may also learn how to effectively express frustration with a teammate in a way that can be constructive for everyone on the team.

Do not forget that sports can be frustrating for players of all ages – how often are we treated to a pair of professional athletes locked in a heated argument on the bench after a bad play?

In addition to communicating with their teammates, children who play youth sports also benefit from developing their ability to talk to adults.

This can be intimidating for young children, but a good coach makes a big difference.

The best coaches treat their young athletes like equals, allowing them to feel valued and important. Children who play sports have better relationships with their teachers and are more comfortable opening up to adults.

Many of the benefits that children experience from playing youth sports can be felt and seen by their parents almost immediately, but there are many longer-term benefits that will be felt later in life.

Children who become involved in sports at a young age and continue to play into adolescence can expect to experience lifelong boosts in their physical wellbeing.

They also perform better academically and have intimate relationships that can only be formed with others while working together to strive for a common goal.

We’ve all been led to believe that our child will one day receive an athletic scholarship to the university of their choosing.

It’s a dream that has become peddled with increasing regularity as the cost of higher education gets out of control, but not realistic for most young athletes.

While playing sports is unlikely to result in a free trip to college for most kids, just getting out there and playing increases there chances of succeeding academically.

Athletes are more likely to stay in school and stay out of trouble.

They also perform better on tests, develop time management skills and go on to graduate college. These are all the types of outcomes we want for our children.

These are the outcomes that matter more than getting a scholarship or playing on an elite travel team. Former athletes are disproportionately represented in upper levels of corporate management and political office.

There’s sadly has been a decline in the participation rates in youth sports. Meaning many children are missing out on the crucial benefits outlined above.

It is a sad trend, but is easily explained by the changing attitudes about youth sports.

For many parents, youth sports have become more about the long-term hope of seeing their child earn a scholarship.

Many are putting unfair expectations on children at an age where they are barely able to think past lunch. Parents must take a step back and remember the true purpose of youth sports.

Participation rates are declining because all of the benefits of youth sports have been discounted in favor of things that benefit parents first and children second.

Too many children who are not elite athletes are turned off by the win-at-all-costs mentality that has become pervasive in the youth sports world.

Children who do not show an immediate talent at a young age are often overlooked or ignored by coaches who are only interested in working with the best of the best.

Ninety percent of children choose to play sports because they want to have fun. Ninety percent!

Having fun needs to be at the forefront of every season of youth sports, but it isn’t. It is the adults who would benefit from reflecting on why children find sports fun.

Here are the reasons that children enjoy playing youth sports:

  • They get a chance to do their best
  • Being treated like an equal by the coach
  • Making friends with teammates
  • Playing as a team
  • Having a chance to perform

All of those points were touched on in the preceding paragraphs of this post.

Kids have an innate understanding of why they should be playing sports without even being told the answers by adults!

If it’s that easy for children to identify many of the benefits of playing youth sports. Then maybe the grownups should get out of the way and let the children take the lead.

Adults can benefit from watching their children play sports, too.

There is nothing more exciting than watching your child’s face light up when they have success on the field or seeing them improve through consistent hard work or practice.

It is just important to remember not to put pressure on your children to become the next Michael Jordan or Tom Brady. It is your job as a parent to make sure your child is having fun while playing sports, not their job to please you by performing well.

There is not a specific age set in stone for when to get your kids started in youth sports.

It is up to the parent to know their own child’s limitations and maturity.

Some children will be ready as young as two years old, while others won’t have the attention span until they’re much closer to kindergarten.

When a child shows an ability to follow simple directions from adults and can be left alone from their parent for up to an hour, it may be a good time to pick a sport to test out.

Start your kids slowly when you do jump in. A structured gymnastics class is a great way for kids to begin learning to control their movements, follow directions, improve their balance and strengthen their muscles.

We all want to mold our children into successful future adults.

Being involved in youth sports can become a major stepping stone on their path to success.

If you are preparing to introduce your son or daughter to sports, follow their lead. Start slow with a minimally-structured environment where the emphasis is more on learning the basics of a sport than playing full games.

Give it time, allow them to try more than one sport before settling on a favorite and go from there.

You will both benefit from the experience!

Gi vs No-Gi BJJ: Which One Is Better & Pros and Cons


What’s the difference between gi and no-gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? The significant difference between gi and no-gi BJJ is one requires the traditional Jiu Jitsu uniform, often referred to as a gi or kimono, and no-gi does not. No-gi BJJ is usually done in a rash guard and athletic shorts.

If you’re brand new and have no idea, what a gi is, here you go.

What is a Jiu Jitsu gi?

The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi is a uniform for training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, adapted from the keikogi () in modern Japanese martial arts, especially Kodokan judo. A gi, meaning dress or clothes, is typically composed of a heavy cotton jacket, reinforced drawstring trousers, and a belt which communicates rank. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi is also sometimes referred to as kimono by non-Japanese speakers. Some Jiu-Jitsu school systems avoid using a gi.[1]

Source:  Wikipedia
IBJJF Gi Uniform Requirements

In other words, they’re pajamas that you wear to roll around in and choke your friends in.

They consist of a jacket top and pant bottoms, and you use a belt to keep the jacket closed. If this is news to you, then you should probably wear a white belt to your first class.

Belt ranks for adults go white, blue, purple, brown, and black. We’ll have a post on the Jiu Jitsu ranking system soon that will cover both kids and adults. IBJJF sets the standards and rules for ranks.

Similar look as a karate or taekwondo uniform, but Jiu Jitsu gis are much denser with a thick weave that makes them thicker and heavier.

You can not substitute a BJJ gi with a karate gi. It will likely tear or rip due to the gripping from your opponent.

You could use a judo gi, but you will eventually want to invest in a good BJJ gi, especially if you plan on competing since a judo gi may not meet regulations at a Jiu Jitsu tournament.

What makes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the gi unique?

Fun with the gi

One of the things that makes traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with the kimono so different from no-gi, is using your opponent’s clothing against them.

You can use many different grips to grab and control your opponents by their gi. Proper grips on lapels, collars, sleeves can help you sweep or even submit your opponent.

You can also grab other areas of the gi to handle your training partners. Their pants at the ankles, knees, waist, and even the belt are all areas you’re allowed the grab for control on a BJJ gi.

You’re also allowed to grab and use your gi for submissions and control.

In an Ezekiel Choke, you to use your fingers in your sleeve to finish the choke.

Rafael Lovato Jr Teaches Ezekiel Choke From The Mount

This is an excellent choke that you can hit from so many different positions, and it’s also easy for beginners to learn.

There’s also a modified version this choke for no-gi.

One last note on grips

When you first start, you’ll notice that traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the gi is hard on your hands.

Theirs a lot of grip fighting going on where you’re attempting to grab your training partner’s gi, and they’re breaking your grip from it’s clinch.

Also, spider guard grip is one of those grips that you kind of need to build a callus on your knuckle to get used to it.

With all that said, watch out for Jiu Jitsu fingers and make sure to take care of your hands when they hurt.

Paulo Miyao’s hands display an excellent example of Jiu Jitsu fingers.

You can do this by icing them after training when they’ve taken a beating or tape them up to take preventive measures next time you train.

Here’s a handy article we have on finger taping, check it out lots of tips for dealing with Jiu Jitsu fingers.

What is no-gi Jiu Jitsu?

A lot of new people who don’t know the difference between gi and no-gi Jiu Jitsu might think it’s something different. I’ve heard white belts say they’re not ready for no-gi when I tell them they should try it.

It’s just Brazilian Jiu Jitsu without the gi.

Your grips will be different, and you won’t have the cloth from the gi to grab on to, but that’s the most significant difference that you’ll notice.

Along with BJJ practitioners, you’ll likely see wrestlers or MMA fighters in a no-gi class, if your gym offers these programs. It’ll be a little intimidating at first, but jump right in and trust me you’ll have fun.

Unless it’s MMA sparing day… then you’re going to get punched in the face, but you might still have fun.

What do you need to bring to no-gi Jiu Jitsu?

The great thing about no-gi is that you don’t need anything special to do it.

Just some basketball or board shorts (preferably with no pockets) and a t-shirt (preferably a synthetic fiber blend for wicking, avoid wearing cotton if you can), and you’re all set.

IBJJF No Gi Uniform Requirements

If you do want to invest in no-gi grappling gear, get yourself a good rash guard, some no-gi shorts, and maybe even some BJJ spats.

There’s not much else to cover as far as what to bring to a no-gi Jiu Jitsu class.

You could bring a towel if you sweat as much as I do. It’s gross, and I feel bad when I sweat on my training partners, so I try to wipe my brow between rounds.

If you have no interest in training in the gi and only want to train no-gi, you can look for a 10th planet Jiu Jitsu school in your area.

They focus solely on no-gi BJJ, and they rank you by the same belt ranking structure as you would have in gi Jiu Jitsu.

I enjoy training in both, because each of them has their own pace and dynamic.

Amazon has excellent affordable no-gi gear available if you’re looking to get set-up without spending a ton of money.

Most “Brand Name” no-gi rash guards and shorts are about $60 apiece. I’ve had good success with the cheaper amazon stuff, so if you’re cheap like me, check Amazon for prices on no-gi BJJ gear.

7 Noticeable Differences Between Gi and No-Gi Jiu Jitsu


  1. It can feel slower at times but it depends on who you roll with
  2. You can grab lapels, sleeves, pants, pretty much anywhere on the gi
  3. It’s easier to control or be controlled because of gi grips
  4. You will learn to use a jacket to choke people
  5. It can be easier to get stuck in bad positions
  6. The heat of the gi is real.
  7. Sweat everywhere but mostly contained in your gi.


  1. No-gi always feels faster-paced, and you tend to see more scrambles.
  2. No Clothing to grab in no-gi.
  3. Harder to control or be controlled because of no-gi grips
  4. No jacket = no collar or lapel chokes
  5. It can be easier to get out of bad positions.
  6. A lot cooler with no-gi.
  7. Sweat everywhere, mostly on the mats.

Gi Jiu Jitsu

1. It can feel slower at times, but it depends on who you roll with

Due to the friction of the cloth and all the different ways to you can be held and controlled, gi Jiu Jitsu just feels slower than no-gi.

With the gi, you’re able to take your time in positions that you usually wouldn’t be able to in no-gi.

Of course, this depends on who you’re rolling with because some people are just fast and explosive no matter what. 

2. You can grab lapels, sleeves, pants, pretty much anywhere on the gi

Many moves can’t be made without a Jiu Jitsu gi, spider guard, lasso guard, worm guard, even basic collar and sleeve grips.

These are positions that don’t really exist in no-gi, although you can modify your grips by holding wrist and collar ties, it’s just not as effective as gi grips.

Remember, you should always be fighting to get grips on your opponent and to break their grips from holding you.

Grip fighting is a concept that carries over to no-gi as well, never let someone get the grips they want on you, ever.

Check out our article “10 Concepts Every BJJ Aficionado Should Know”.

3. It’s easier to control or be controlled because of gi grips

You have handles everywhere, all over you and all over your opponent, these can come in handy and are a lot of fun to learn.

There are a wide variety of grips you can use when you’re doing Jiu Jitsu with the gi. Remember that your training partners have all the same grip options as you.

As fun as it is to work your grip game, it can be hard to fight against a bigger or stronger person that has solid grips on you.

Gi grips can make it difficult to get out of bad positions and will leave you frustrated and exhausted.  

4. You will learn to use a jacket to choke people

As crazy as this sounds saying it, it’s so cool to learn how to control and choke someone with their jacket. This is something you’ll learn early on if you decide to train BJJ in the gi.

You can also apply this to real self-defense situations if you live somewhere that people often wear coats, you can use them much like a gi top.

There are so many different chokes and moves that you can do on someone that’s wearing a jacket, coat, or even a hoodie. 

5. It can be easier to get stuck in bad positions

I touched on this when talking about controlling with gi grips; I’ll go into it with a little more detail now. The fact that any part of your gi is allowed to be grabbed can make it a lot of trouble in positions like bottom side control and north-south.

It can be hell to have a strong opponent crushing you in side control while holding your pants and jacket to keep you there.

Knee on belly in the gi is a different animal from no-gi. That’s mostly because of the grips adding the ability to hold someone in that spot in the gi. 

6. The heat of the gi is real

One of the first things you’ll notice when you’re training Jiu Jitsu, is how hot the gi is. It’s also a little heavy and cumbersome, the thick weaving also traps the heat in. Check out our article on how much a Jiu Jitsu gi weighs here.

It’s not the most comfortable thing to roll around in, but you get used to it after a while.

If you live somewhere hot and humid, training in the gi can be miserable in the summer; you might want to go to a few more no-gi classes during those hot months.

7. Sweat everywhere but mostly contained in your gi

You’re guaranteed to break a sweat when you’re training Jiu Jitsu, and with the added heat from the gi you’re probably going to be sweating a lot. 

Jiu jitsu gis are usually 100% cotton. While there are some hemp gis that may wick a slightly faster, you’re likely to be soaked in sweat after a few rounds of rolling.

If you sweat a lot as I do, your gi will likely double in weight after a training session just from sweat. Kind of nasty, I know.

One thing to note about training Jiu Jitsu in the gi, you get to do a ton of stuff with the jacket that is really fun that you miss out on in no-gi.

No-gi Jiu Jitsu

1. No-gi always feels faster-paced, and you tend to see more scrambles

Where traditional gi BJJ can be slow and methodical, no-gi tends to be faster and more explosive.

It’s extremely difficult to hold someone down without all that extra gi material. Things are slippery, you don’t have gi grips, there are a ton more scrambles, and it’s harder to get submissions.

2. No Clothing to grab in no-gi

Since you don’t have any clothing to hold on too, you’ll need to learn how to control someone without it.

Without gi grips, you’ll learn how to grab and control people with nothing more than their own bodies. I believe this makes no-gi a more practical and better fit for real-life situations.

Honestly, I think no-gi is a more level playing field because it makes it much harder to hold someone in place and greatly reduces stalling. 

3. Harder to control or be controlled because of no-gi grips

There’s nothing for you to hold on to or be held by.

This can be a big change if you’ve only done Jiu Jitsu in the gi, but it’s a short learning curve if you’ve been training for a while. 

One big difference is this does make controlling your opponent and being controlled much harder, and because of this, you will see a lot more movement and a faster pace in no-gi.

4. No jacket = no collar or lapel chokes

You can apply everything you learn from no-gi to gi but not the other way around.

Although many no-gi grip variations resemble their gi counterpart, there isn’t much that transfers over as far as lapel and collar chokes go.

You can do a no-gi modified Ezekiel choke but not a whole lot more than that. 

5. Can be easier to get out of bad positions

With less friction and nothing to hold on to, you’ll find yourself moving in and out of positions much easier than when you’re wearing the gi. 

This greatly contributes to the pace difference between gi and no-gi. It’s also a lot harder to stop someone from passing your guard when you can’t grab anything. 

6. A lot cooler with no-gi

Without the hot and heavy gi, you’ll be nice and cool during no-gi training. You’ll still be warm, but you won’t be nearing as hot as you would rolling in the gi. 

Since you’ll be wearing a rash guard and shorts you won’t have to deal with the burden of the gi, it’s nice to do no-gi on hot days.

7. Sweat everywhere mostly on the mats

No-gi Jiu Jitsu is a sweaty, slippery mess of a good time. I’ve never finished a no-gi class where the mats didn’t look like a swamp of sweat at the end.

I’m not kidding here since you don’t have the gi retaining any of the sweat; it’s got nowhere else to go. So you, your training partners, and the entire surface of the mats will be covered in sweat.

This is why hygiene is so important in Jiu Jitsu. You get extremely close to people when you’re training, that’s why it’s important to stay clean. Here is a great article we have on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu etiquette.

If you’re goal is to get into MMA, don’t skip the gi training but don’t focus on it either.

Some people will disagree with that, saying you need the gi to learn fundamental principles that you miss in no-gi, but it only makes sense that no-gi is better for MMA.

Bonus: How to acquire a Gi

What if I want to train in the gi but don’t own one?

So you want to train in the traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi but don’t have one. I recommend you avoid buying a gi without trying a class first if you can.

Honestly, Jiu Jitsu is not for everyone, and gis can be pretty expensive.

But your options are.

Borrow one

Don’t worry if you’re new and don’t own one. Most Jiu Jitsu gyms have loaner gis for new students who do trials.

Watch out for gyms that try to pressure you into buying one of their gis to do a trial class.

Call the BJJ schools near you and ask if you can borrow a gi when you drop in for your trial class. This is also good if you’re traveling and forgot to bring your Jiu Jitsu gear with you.

Many times we’re introduced to BJJ by a friend that chokes us out in our living room. At least that’s how I was introduced to “The Gentle Art”.

If a friend of yours convinces you to try a class and that friend is about your size, borrow one of theirs if they have a spare.

Or ask that friend if they have a training partner your size you can loan one from. Just make sure you wash it!

Use a judo gi

A judo gi is probably the closest martial arts uniform that resembles a Jiu Jitsu gi and can be a good substitute option.

Many times when judo guys come over to Jiu Jitsu they can use their judo gi and be fine.

Minus minus a few small differences, it’s usually not a problem. Using a judo gi can get you by for a while, but eventually, you’ll want a BJJ gi, especially if you plan on competing.

Buy one

I left this last but had to include it because honestly there’s not that many ways to get a Jiu Jitsu gi.

If you’ve been doing no-gi for a while and know you’ll be training gi every so often, I say just get one you like and don’t worry about it.

If you’re brand new to the sport, try to buy your first gi, second hand. You can do this through Offerup, Craigslist or eBay first, or get a cheap starter gi on Amazon.

Fuji has a great entry Judo gi w/ white belt that can work as a good first BJJ gi, and it’s usually around 40-60 bucks (check Amazon for current price).

Do this so you can save a little money if you decide not to continue training, I mentioned earlier Jiu Jitsu is not for everyone.

It’s hard you can get hurt, and a lot of people quit early on. With that said, if you’re sure about this and you know that you’re going to commit.

Buy only one gi for you’re first six months.

You don’t want to be the white belt with ten gis.

But hey, if you have the money to spare then, by all means, do what you want. I just can’t spend $200 dollars on a gi.

A lot of people collect gis, and there’s a whole Jiu Jitsu fashion subculture with Shoyoroll and CTRL. With other brands that I don’t remember off the top of my head.

But I look at it this way; your gi count shouldn’t be higher than the number of days you train a week.

You should wash your gi after every training session.

If you just can’t find someone to lend you a Jiu Jitsu gi and you don’t want to buy one but still want to train, just do no-gi.


Regardless of which training option you prefer, as long as you’re on the mats getting better than you were yesterday, that’s all that matters.

Sometimes, depending on your circumstances, you may not have the luxury to train both gi and no-gi, but we highly recommend it if possible.

Whichever you decide to do, remember to have fun and keep on rolling.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and if you enjoy, please share and subscribe below.

Thanks for reading!