What is BJJ?

A good history and explanation can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Jiu-Jitsu

How does ABJJ fit into the lineage of BJJ?

Our instructors are certified black belts under 6th degree Black Belt Professor Mauricio “Tinguinha” Mariano (http://www.tinguinha.com/). Tinguinha received his Black Belt from Carlos Gracie Jr. who is son of one of the creators of the system, Carlos Gracie Sr.

What is the focus of your school?

Our primary goal is to teach the BJJ system in the most effective way we can (see below on How are Classes Structured). Our secondary goal is performance. We believe Conditioning X Technique = Performance. Each part of class is designed to improve conditioning or technique or both at the same time.

At ABJJ a student is not thought of as a customer, they are thought of as a teammate. The goal of the team is that we continue to raise the level of the whole group.

Do you teach Self-Defense?

In addition to sport BJJ and MMA BJJ we teach basic self-defense.

Are women welcome to participate?

Absolutely. We have many women who regularly train with us.

How does your belt system work?

We use the traditional standards for BJJ which is 8-12 years to get to Black Belt. This works out to roughly 2 years per belt for most people. BJJ is unlike many other martial arts on the level of proficiency necessary to reach Black Belt.

Even within BJJ schools you’ll see the more revenue driven schools award belts much more quickly (for student retention) than performance driven schools. We believe giving out easy belts is ultimately to the detriment of students when they realize they are not on the level of other schools and their training is ineffective against new students.

Because many people in Anchorage leave the state for travel, our students routinely will visit other schools in the Lower 48.  At ABJJ we pride ourselves on keeping belt standards high. Advanced belts are awarded after consultation with Tinguinha.

So does that mean competition is required in the school?

No. Because most major competitions are out of state we know it’s hard to make it to competitions. If students are interested in competition we will help them prepare and usually a group of students will go together. Starting in 2010 the Alaska State BJJ Federation (www.asbjjf.com) is putting on tournaments that we will help students prepare for if they wish.

How are the classes structured?

While all potential students ask about the monthly dues, few think to ask about a greater cost, the value of their time they spend at the school. We respect everyone’s time; classes will start and end on time and the instructors will have a clear plan for what is to be accomplished during class times.

A typical class structure is:

  • 20-35mins of conditioning*
  • 30-45mins of technique and/or specific positional training
  • 30-45mins of grappling
  • Total class time will be 1.5-2 hours.
How often are new techniques shown?

Generally new techniques are introduced every Monday. We typically show 3-5 different moves that are all from a certain position, or relate to each other in some way. We show the same material again during the rest of classes for the week focusing on making sure the student gets the details correct. On Friday we show the techniques with no-gi (submission grappling class) with any adjustments that may need to be made. If the student attends all classes they will likely have done each technique at least a hundred repetitions which helps reinforce what was taught.

We change the position we are showing each week so after about 3 months new students will have seen something from every position.

What is difference between the different BJJ classes?

BJJ-Advanced class is for blue belts and up. In addition to working the weeks techniques there will be lots of drilling and free training. The class is designed for blue belts and up but three and four stripe white belts can attend the Wednesday class if they come to the novice class first (i.e. you can’t skip training the basics and be able to pull off more difficult techniques).

BJJ-Mixed is an all level class. Even if it’s your first class this a great class to attend. We separate the advance students for technique. White belts will learn the same moves that will be covered in the weeks “BJJ-Novice” class while the blue belts and up will learn more advanced techniques. If you’re a white belt and want to see how you do with the more advanced students this is the class for that.

BJJ-Novice is a class designed for the white belts. The focus is on the core techniques and movements you will need to become proficient at BJJ. The class is not as intense as the “BJJ-Mixed” class. Upper belts may attend the class if it works better with their schedule.

BJJ-Intro class is designed for those with no grappling experience to make the transition into the novice (white belt) class easier. The focus will be on learning the drills we use in all classes and basic strategy from each position. There is no free training “rolling” in this class. Students attending this class should stay for the Novice class which starts right after it.

The BJJ day classes are similar to the night classes, but with only an hour some parts are shortened. The day classes will cover the same material as introduced in that weeks night class. These are mixed level classes.

Which Classes should I attend?

That really depends on what your goals are (getting in shape, tournaments, wanting to participate in MMA).  Take a look at the “Goal Center” on this web site for some suggestions.  The best thing to do is let an instructor know what your goals are and we will get you set up on a program.

Are there attendance requirements?

No, but we do recommend attending at least twice a week. 3-4 times a week is ideal for beginners.

Do you teach kids?

Yes! Be sure to look at the prices tab for family pricing.

Will this get me in shape, or do I need to be in shape before I start?

It is rare for someone to start our class and be up to the conditioning level of everyone else. BJJ is a combination of aerobic and anaerobic training that is not typical for most people to train. Because of this we recommend the student start classes rather than waiting until they get in better shape. We expect it to take about 3 months for someone to get up to speed. All that we ask is that the student tries to push himself or herself a little further each week.

We have had many students come in and lose a significant amount of weight as they get in shape.

I have never had any training. Do you take beginners?

Yes. Most of our students have had no previous training. The way we run the class is that everyone does conditioning together and then we separate the beginners from the advanced students when we show technique. We typically have 1 instructor for every 10 students in class so the students get plenty of attention.

How long before I get good at BJJ?

Since learning BJJ is a never ending process, you are always going to be improving. While it is difficult to define “good”, we usually see a very noticeable improvement after about 3 months assuming regular attendance. Remember, you will be working out with the top BJJ players in Alaska.

It’s important to mention that our school’s guiding philosophy: there are no easy answers or “magic beans”, and nothing worthwhile comes without a price, be it your time, your effort or your attention to detail.

BJJ can be difficult to learn, but that is what makes it rewarding as you progress through the system. Students that will be happy at ABJJ are the ones looking for a challenge and long-term self improvements, not a quick belt they can tell their friends about.

Can I wear any brand of Gi?

We sell X-Guard BJJ Gi’s (uniforms) but you can wear any brand or color you want.

How do I sign up?

The first class is free so we recommend you take advantage of that by watching or participating in a class to make sure this is what you are looking for. After your first class if you would like to sign up, we have a couple of forms you’ll need to fill out. In order to take advantage of the best price (billing contract) you’ll need to have a Visa/Mastercard/Discover/American Express. The billing contract is a monthly charge to your card starting on your first day and then every 30 days after that. The agreement is for a minimum of 6 or 12 months and then just continues monthly after that unless you cancel it.

You will need a Gi (uniform) for the BJJ class. We have loaners GI for the first class, so just show up in gym clothes. After that you will need to bring a Gi to class. We sell Gi’s at the school or you can bring in your own if you prefer.

What is MMA?

A good history and explanation can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_martial_arts

What is included in your program?

95% of modern MMA is a mix of Boxing, BJJ, Wrestling, and Muay Thai. Our program covers all of these aspects of MMA.

How are the classes structured?

We have a flexible structure for the MMA program. What might be covered in the class will depend on who has upcoming fights and things they need to address as well as the needs of the group.

Are there prerequisites for starting in the MMA program?

For the Intro to MMA class there are no prerequisites.

For the MMA-Advanced class you need to have previous experience as a fighter or at least three months training in one of the main MMA disciplines (Boxing, BJJ, Wrestling, Muay Thai). The typical path for new students is to start off with the BJJ class and the Intro to MMA class and work on their ground game and cardio until they are ready to start MMA-Advanced class. MMA head instructor Kevin Barber will make the final decision for students joining the MMA-Advanced class.

Do I need to bring special gear to class?

Yes. You will need to get all your own protective gear as well as sparring equipment. See the instructor for more details.

Is there a separate fee for MMA?

No. The standard fees include unlimited BJJ and MMA training.

Can you help with other aspects of professional MMA?

When you join the team you are joining a team of experienced fighters that are knowledgeable about nutrition, weight management, and other conditioning methods. Also, your coaching staff is there to help arrange upcoming fights, pre-fight hand wrapping, and to be in your corner during the fight.

We don’t charge anything for this or ask for any part of your fight purse.

Can I fight whomever I want?

Not really. We ask people that join the team to respect the judgment of their coaches when determining who they should fight. Remember, the coaches have your safety in mind and also want to see you grow as a fighter by taking progressively more difficult fights. As you become more experienced you will have a lot more input into picking your fights.

If I have a fight coming up in a month can I come in for a quick tune up?

Generally no. If you are an experienced fighter we would consider that. If you are a rookie we think that is a bad decision on your part and we don’t want anything to do with it. We are looking for people that are in it for the long term.

How long from when I start training until I have my first fight?

That is very different for each person. You will be training with a group of active fighters; you will have a very good idea where your skills are before your first fight. The team boasts a 70% win record which indicates a system that works.