Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is best described as a game of chess using one’s body. The object of BJJ is to use technique involving the use of leverage and positioning of one’s body to effectively control your opponent so that they cannot attack you, but you can attack them.

The goal of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to force your opponent to give up due to the application of a finishing hold also known as a submission. Submissions, as they are commonly referred to in BJJ, are joint-locks (holds that threaten to hyper extend a joint), or chokes. When we spar and a submission hold is applied, the person caught in the submission signals that they give up by tapping their opponent’s body. It is through this system that we can train at full strength and speed without serious injury. It is also this ability to practice while going “all out” and “full contact” with a fully resisting opponent, that makes the training of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so realistic, effective, and rewarding.

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BJJ is taught on the following days:


  • Tuesday—6:00-7:00 p.m.

  • Saturday—10:00 a.m. - 11:15 (5 and up) / 11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (8+ only)


  • Monday—8:00 - 9:00 p.m.

  • Wednesday—7:15-8:30 p.m.

The History of BJJ

Brazilian jiu-jitsu was formed from early 20th century Kodokan Judo ground fighting (Ne-Waza) fundamentals that were taught to, Luiz França and Carlos Gracie by master Mitsuyo Maeda. Brazilian jiu-jitsu eventually came to be its own art through the experimentations, practices, and adaptation from the Judo knowledge of Carlos and Hélio Gracie, who then passed their knowledge on to their extended family.

BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique, taking the fight to the ground – most notably by applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person. BJJ training can be used for sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition or self-defense. Sparring (commonly referred to as "rolling") and live drilling play a major role in training, and a premium is placed on performance, especially in competition, in relation to progress and ascension through its ranking system.

Since its inception in 1882, its parent art of Judo was separated from older systems of Japanese ju-jitsu by an important difference that was passed on to Brazilian jiu-jitsu: it is not solely a martial art: it is also a sport; a method for promoting physical fitness and building character in young people; and, ultimately, a way (Do) of life.

Aamerican Colleges of Jiu-Jitsu and Karate currently has two instructors of WBJJA under the direction of Professor Thadeu Viera. This form of martial art is taught at the dojo on Monday and Wednesday evenings.  Students of BJJ also compete in various tournments in Richmond and in the Hampton Roads area.