Monthly Archives: July 2013

Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Tips to Prepare for the BJJ Big Leagues

Tips to Prepare for the BJJ Big Leagues

otavio sousa

So Are You Ready for the Big Leagues?

So let’s say that you have done your fair share of amateur Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, and you’ve choked a few guys, submitted larger dudes in the absolute division, and more so, have been making a name for yourself in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And here you are, itching for that first time to be in the big leagues; imagine the light, the photographers, the mats. Welcome to be big league, grasshopper.

Here are some things that you will need to know before getting there.

Know the Rules

Getting choked out is part of the game. The same goes for being DQ. It stands for disqualification. Like any other sports, disqualifications will happen. International Jiu-Jitsu Open championships have staple rules about DQ’s. Illegal holds and techniques can be grounds for DQ. For more information, you may read up the You may also want to read up on verbal and gestures by the refs.

Register Early

Talk to your coach about registration. Registering weeks before the event ensures that you get the spot in the match. Most even offer discounts for those who sign up early. Take advantage and save some bucks. You may need a new gi after the match.bjj

Prepare and Prepare Well

Nothing can be better than going onto war fully armed, and dangerous. Preparations take time and it will require your unbridled focus. It is said that training is around 10 times as hard as the competition and it sure is. Preparing for a fight will not be fun. As you rank up closer to the elite fighters, the preparation becomes tougher and tougher. But all for the glory of Jiu-Jitsu and the love for the sport, anyway.

Get Plenty of Rest Before the Big Day

As the excitement builds up, so does the anxiety. And a lot lose sleep the day before the big day. Adapting to the excitement can be a challenge for first timers. The answer? Go out and chill. Relax at your favorite restaurant or hang out with your buddies. It is important that give your mind a break from all the prep that you have been doing.

Get as Much as Support as Possible

Yes. It’s like the home crowd cheering for you. In the eyes of your loved ones who came in to watch, you’re already the champ!

Don’t Burn Yourself Out Early in the Match

Yes. You will have multiple matches in one day. Staying rested in between matches is the best way to go.

Prepare for a Long Day

When I mean long, I really mean a long day ahead. In my experience, we started the tourney at 8am, and I had my match at 4pm. Imagine the wait time. Taking naps are good, but usually I bring something else to do to get my mind off the tournament.

So there you have it! Tips that will help you prepare for and during the big leagues. Always remember, there is no such thing as losing, only learning


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Jiu JItsu Knoxville TN, Evolution of the “Gentle Art”

Evolution of the “Gentle Art,” History as Teacher and Guide

legacy wall

Learn From Our Past to Educate the Future

We all know, or should know, the history of Brazilian jiu jitsu. The pictures on the walls of every Gracie Barra school tell the story from the early twentieth century to today. First in line, Mitsuyo Maeda, the Japanese judōka (judo expert) of unparalleled skill who brought our art to Brazil. Next, Carlos Gracie Sr., Maeda’s first student and creator of Brazilian jiu jitsu. Third, Hélio Gracie, Carlos’ brother and the first Gracie fighter. Fourth, Rolls Gracie, a true jiu jitsu innovator and champion of Brazilian jiu jitsu philosophy. And finally, Carlos Gracie, Jr., the founder of Gracie Barra, and the touchstone of the Gracie family.

What most practitioners may tangentially know is that Brazilian jiu jitsu has deep historical and cultural roots dating back to 9th century Japan. bjj japan

To understand where we are headed with our Art and our sport, we must know where we originated.

The true origins of jiu jitsu are lost to us. No solid historical records exist proving the starting point, curriculum, teachers or techniques. What we do understand about the beginnings of jujutsu is that during the warring periods of Japan, a fighting style arose in response to the viciousness of the battlefield.

Punching and kicking styles proved ineffective on the battlefield, as the power needed to cause damage to an armored samurai was impossible to produce. Additionally, the notion that one could punch or kick at a fully trained samurai wielding a katana or wakizashi was foolish. Hence, a martial art focused on throwing, joint locks, and strangulation was the answer.

Thus long before Royce Gracie made his mark in the UFC, jiu jitsu began proving itself to be an effective martial art in the most brutal and life threatening situation imaginable: war.

Perhaps understandably, it was the peaceful Edo Period (A.D. 1603-1867) of Japan that saw the greatest growth and innovation of ancient jiu jitsu, and ironically lead to its dismantling. As power was consolidated and peace prevailed across Japan, more thought and study of martial arts became possible. Schools, or ryū began popping up all over Japan and the systemization of martial arts commenced.

As a result of strict laws forbidding the lower class from possessing or using weapons were implemented, for the first time, personal self-defense curriculum was employed, formal teaching was carried out, and a culture and philosophy were developed.

But this period of advancement was unsustainable. Two hundred and fifty years of Japanese isolationist policies and a feudal system of oppression came crumbling down and as Japan rushed to embrace modernization and Westernization, many of the ryū fell, as well. Negative personal politics and infighting among ryū became commonplace. Ryū began competing against each other to prove supremacy. Feuds erupted, bad blood was created and an honorable art became corrupted.

gracie barra foundedWhy is this important? The importance goes far beyond the left over traditions of wearing a gi, or bowing before stepping on a mat. It is important because I believe we are living in the greatest period of evolution in jiu jitsu since the early Edo Period of Japan and we must honor this by acknowledging and learning from our past to educate our future.

There is no room for ego, no room for discord between schools, and no room for bad blood on the mat. We are all part of the jiu jitsu family, linking us back generations and centuries to the great warriors of the past.

While many of the techniques of ancient jujutsu and modern-day Brazilian jiu jitsu are different, it is the fact that we have the ability to constantly evolve that makes our art strong. New techniques are being introduced on a regular basis. Men and women all over the world are discovering jiu jitsu and becoming enamored with its simplicity and yes, its complexity.

Most of all these men and women are discovering and evolving the beauty of jiu jitsu.

Gracie Barra’s “Jiu jitsu for Everyone” isn’t just a marketing slogan. It is a deep philosophical belief. It is a belief that anyone can become part of history, both in ancient traditions and modern-day practice. That you too can aspire, train, and evolve for the better.

So, look to the past, learn from the strengths and weaknesses of our warrior ancestors, and work every day to make a peaceful and productive future.

Todd Eckel

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Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Who would be the best grappler in world ?

Gabi vs. Ronda: Who would you bet on?

With the ADCC approaching (October), the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo in November, as well as the surge in events featuring superfights, many fans have nurtured the dream of seeing epic duels between athletes who wouldn’t otherwise be pitted against each other.

On social networks, one of these ideas came up the other day: a no-gi Jiu-Jitsu match between Gabrielle Garcia, current absolute Jiu-Jitsu world champion, and Ronda Rousey, the dreaded champion of the UFC.

Although far-fetched and probably very expensive, it would be indeed a great fight if some daring promoter were to make it happen.

Who would you bet on?

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Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Jiu Jitsu evolution for white belts

White belt winner at Abu Dhabi WPJJC. Photo: Gustavo Aragao

White belts who compete at the World Championship and Pan American Championship earn medals in a category called novice. The word novice itself means beginner or someone who is new to a certain situation, activity, task. Why would a beginner be granted the opportunity to compete on the very same mats in the very same event that our proclaimed professionals use to determine their rankings the rankings used to build a student base, fan base and ultimately a following that will lead to financial resources? Is it necessary to initiate white belts into serious competition?

Today, we see white belt highlights and self-promotion. Maybe it is a simple explanation in terms of Imovie, GoPro and the now extinct Flip camera and how easy it is to make videos and upload them to YouTube. Or maybe, it’s proof that the sport aspect is evolving in a way that becoming a black belt world champion is a more enticing career choice made possible by more opportunities.

Full-time Jiu-Jitsu athletes may have financial support from sponsors but to maintain a life that is dedicated to training for competitions like most top level athletes do, one must find financial support through extending their knowledge: seminars, owning a school, private lessons, instructional DVDs. Because of this, promotion and marketing are extremely important.

But white belts can’t make any money from teaching, so what’s the point of getting their name out there?

White belts are learning self-promotion early on and by making websites, starting social media pages and marketing their competition accomplishments they are ahead of the game. Ten years ago, most Jiu-Jitsu athletes waited until brown belt to even consider making a life out of competition. Now, the seriousness is considered from the beginning and novice competitors are making the decision to build up their name starting from the bottom. Is this a case of athletes today making the lifestyle prestigious and worthy of full dedication? Does becoming a black belt world champion today mean more than it did years ago?

Can tenacity prove success in higher ranks?

If you dismiss white belts as serious competitors, if you don’t support self-promotion as a novice, you can at the very least give credit to the white belts who show great tenacity. Winning competitions is determined by many factors but no matter what, an athlete must have the drive to win. Accomplishments like winning the Worlds at white belt may not suggest success in later years or be a sure-fire way to spot a future black belt world champion, but it does prove an element that is essential. White belts using self-promotion show success in novice competition and in turn, are able to brand themselves as a serious competitor. Should that drive remain as the competitor moves through the many years of belt ranks and championships, the chances of success rises.

How about the skill level we see at white belt level?

With the berimbolo proving popular in the Jiu-Jitsu realm, white belts today are as happy to learn the move as any other openminded practitioner but if a white belt can accurately execute a new move in competition is it still a high-percentage move? Can it be considered a basic move eventually or is it still considered a fancier move that flashy white belts are obsessing over? If a white belt can’t open a guard but they can leg drag to your back is it a sign that trends are shaping Jiu-Jitsu?

These two white belt highlights below show two students who are dedicating themselves to the sport aspect of Jiu-Jitsu early on. Both now blue belts, Mason Monsevais is under the Mendes Brothers at GMA Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy and Arman Vanessian is under Rubens Cobrinha Charles at GMA Cobrinha BJJ.

What do you think self-promotion from the bottom? Does it prove that sport Jiu-Jitsu is evolving into a more serious career choice? Let us know!


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JIu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Kids summer camp at GBKNOX

SUMMER is here!!!

Are you looking for a productive yet FUN way for your children to spend the summer???
The Gracie Barra Knoxville is proud to announce that our summer kids Bjj camp program will be starting on July 22nd!
The Gracie Barra Knoxville Summer Kids BJJ Camp is for all children ages. The camp is set for a Two week enrollment or day to day, Afternoon (3pm-5:15pm) camp will run Monday and Wednesday.

    At the camp your child will learn and participate in the following:

  • BJJ Techniques
  • Self Defense Techniques
  • Indoor Games
  • Basic Portuguese language and Brazilian geography lessons.

For more details or to enroll your children today please call the academy at 865-690-0088.
This camp is open to ALL children so tell your friends too!!

For more information about the camp and classesor Call


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Jiu JItsu Knoxville TN, Gracie family teaches at Chuck Norris event

Let your son/daughter train with Rener Gracie July 18-19!

In 1988, Chuck Norris brought the Gracie Brothers to the US for a special GJJ seminar at the UFAF International Training Conference (watch the original video footage here). 25 years later, Chuck has invited Rener Gracie to the same conference to teach a Gracie Bullyproof camp to the youth participants. Although this is usually a closed event (open exclusively to UFAF members) the organization has agreed to let some outside participants attend the conference which takes place July 18-21 in Las Vegas, NV at the South Point Hotel.

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Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Jiu JItsu makes us physically and mentally you stronger.

Jiu Jitsu is one of only a few sports that not only can be applied on the mat but also in life. You will struggle, sometimes getting “smashed” on the mats, having to use the last ounce of energy left at that point to catalyze your escape, reversing the whole situation and coming out on top. Likewise, life sometimes is not easy. Only your will and desire keep you pushing forward until you are lying in a field victorious. Never give in.

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