It’s a running meme in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that the new year brings an influx of new students hoping to make good on their new years resolutions. Gym owners are fully aware of this, and savvy ones will be offering specials for new signups.
If you’re one of the many people thinking about doing something to get in shape this year, it’s probably no surprise that we here at YouJiuJitsu think trying jiu-jitsu is a swell idea. And while we don’t know anything about you and what may have kept you off the mats before, it doesn’t matter. We’re in the golden era of BJJ. No matter who you are, there’s something for you in the gentle art.
Diversity Among Gyms
Of course, there are more gyms than ever before in BJJ. More importantly, there are more kinds of gyms. There are large, commercial schools with strong branding and curriculum, and small schools with laid back classes.
The Sport is Really Taking Off
Jiu-Jitsu is finally coming into it’s own as a spectator sport that everyone who trains can get into. Athletes are starting to get paid more and invitational events like EBI and Polaris Pro are dispensing the tournament model and making the most compelling matches. Most events stream online.
Even students who have no interest in competing can follow their favorite teams and academies. Several BJJ athletes are also looking to transition to MMA, and others like Kron Gracie and Rafael Lovato Jr. are set to ascent to the top of the sport.
The Self Defense Renaissance
In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on self defense in the art. It was largely spearheaded by the “Gracie Brothers” Ryron and Rener and their introduction of the Gracie Combatives curriculum for white belts. But many other academies have either always stressed the vale tudo roots of jiu-jitsu or are now starting to. Special self defense classes are now common in BJJ. Practical application for the common man is part of BJJ’s heritage, and we’re happy to see the legacy alive and well.
Better Online Resources Than Ever
It’s a bit of a joke in BJJ that students are learning from YouTube as much as “real” instructors. Truthfully though, there is fantastic video learning tools available now. A quick search on YouTube and you can see Marcielo Garcia teach you his guillotine, or Gary Tonon with details on how he does the heel hook.
If you want even more, there are entire video curriculums you can purchase online. Learn 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu directly from Eddie Bravo, or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu from the Gracie Brothers. These programs do more than just give you the techniques, they provide a road map for the students to learn the art systematically.
More Safety Conscious
The days of taking pride in how roughed up you got in BJJ are coming to an end. Schools are learning that in order to have students, you have to promote a safe environment. BJJ will always be physical and carry some element of risk, but owners are learning to mitigate it.
New trends in BJJ include not making students spar until a few weeks or even months in. Stand up is carefully managed to avoid collisions and falling body weight. Tough guys are pulled aside and given “the talk.” Stretching and mobility exercises are taken seriously. Overall, we’re just more invested in having people stay in jiu-jitsu instead of running them out.