Frequently Asked Questions

If you're unable to find the answer to your questions here, please contact us!

Why should I choose Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

There are many reasons to choose BJJ, but here are just a few common ones that we hear often. The culture in BJJ is very humble and supportive. You can expect to feel like a part of the family right away. BJJ was developed specifically to give a smaller opponent a technique advantage over a bigger, stronger opponent, and we see the proof of this in each class. BJJ teaches you to use leverage and body mechanics to gain the advantage. Camaraderie is another great reason to choose BJJ. With live rolling (aka sparring) in most classes, you will get the chance to develop a personal relationship with most, if not all, of your classmates who are on this BJJ journey with you.

Do you teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

The short answer is yes and no. Since the Gracie family created this art, we use original and very similar moves from their style; however, we teach BJJ for sport and self-defense, instead of just self-defense. We also tailor our classes to meet the individual needs of our students at any given time.

What should I expect during class?

Our classes generally consist of a 15 minute warm-up, 30 minutes of drilling practice, and 30 minutes of rolling with different sparring partners. This routine is a general guideline and subject to change based on the instructor's discretion.

What should I wear to class?

For your first few classes, you should wear comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting damaged (pulled on or ripped). This can be sweatpants, shorts, t-shirt, rash guard, or other athletic wear.

Once you are sure that you will continue to pursue BJJ, you will need a gi (pronounced ɡē with a hard G like guy). A gi (also sometimes referred to as a kimono), is a traditional uniform worn in martial arts that consists of a heavy cotton jacket and pants, tied together with a belt. We highly recommend that you purchase a gi that is specifically designed for BJJ, as they have a different cut and are thicker than most other gis. There are many brands and companies to choose from, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Under your gi, men should wear briefs-type undergarments, and optional rash guard top. Women should wear elastic shorts or pants and a gymnastics top or secure sports bra, and optional rash guard top.

Please do not wear any hard plastic or metal, including hair barrettes, jewelry, zippers, or jock straps/cups, as these can cause harm to yourself and others.

Can I wear my belts from other martial arts?

While we recognize and appreciate all other martial arts, belts do not transfer. We humbly ask that if you are new to BJJ that you please wear a white belt. If you have trained in BJJ, and have earned a rank from another BJJ instructor, you may feel free to wear your earned ranking BJJ belt.

Should I wear protective gear?

Students are not required to wear protective gear, and it is requested that you do not wear a jock strap or cup, as it could harm other students while performing certain techniques. A mouthpiece is recommended, and headgear is acceptable if you choose.

Is there a hygiene standard?

Yes. You will be up close and personal with your rolling partners, so in the words of Andrew "Mu Shu" Osterlund, you should arrive to class as if you were going on a date. Your toenails and fingernails should be trimmed (so as not to injure yourself or others), you and your clothing should smell clean, and your breath should smell nice and fresh. You will also want to secure long hair in a ponytail or braid of some sort.

What should I bring to class?

You should bring a clean, dry gi with belt, footwear that can be easily slipped on and off, water bottle, mouthpiece and a positive attitude. Optional gear to bring would be a rash guard, supports/braces/tape for any existing injuries, towel, notebook and a gym bag to carry it all.

What if I have a disability, am older, or am not in shape?

Helio Gracie (founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) stated that "Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone." We wholeheartedly believe this. No matter your age, your physical fitness level, or any disabilities (mental or physical) that you may have, we will gladly help you, in any way we can, to learn this beautiful art form. There are people in BJJ today from all walks of life, including some who are in their 90s, rolling and learning. Do not be afraid, or worry about your fitness level either. This practice will get you fit and you will have fun doing it, in a safe and supportive environment.

If you have any concerns about a particular condition or disability, please contact us or come in and ask questions.

How does the belt system work?

In BJJ, belt rankings are earned based on performance and skills/understanding of the art demonstrated. It takes approximately ten years for the average person to obtain a Black Belt. There are only five ranks total for the art: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black. There are additional rankings (Coral, Red) that are only available to authorized Black Belts.

While a student is within a particular belt ranking, there are intermediate rankings, called stripes, that are earned while working toward the next belt level. Generally, there are four stripes earned at each belt level before being promoted to the next belt.

On average, it takes about two years for a student who is training consistently to earn a new belt. It is a long and fulfilling process that varies based on each student's learning pace. Our instructors work diligently with you to develop a strong conceptual understanding of all aspects in BJJ and self-defense.

Are there belt tests or fees? How do I get promoted?

There are no belt ranking fees or tests. At Americana, we pride ourselves on our integrity. We want to make sure that when you take the skills you have learned from us, outside the school, that there is no doubt about your level and your skills. We promote based on accomplishment and demonstration of the practice. If you show up and participate regularly in class, we will see the changes you are making and we will acknowledge them by way of feedback and promotion.

Do I have to compete to gain rank or stay at the school?

No, you don't have to compete to gain rank or stay at our school. Some of our higher ranking belts have never competed in tournaments, though we have a fairly high number of students who do compete. We do encourage our students to compete if they want to, as a way to test their skills and knowledge outside of Americana.

Is there a contract and what is the cost?

No, we do not have contracts. Americana is a month-to-month gym, though we do offer prepayment discounts. We are confident enough in our art and instruction that we believe forced-contracts are unnecessary. There will be safety and contact information to fill out on your first day though, and an instructor or manager will go over it with you when you arrive.

To see our membership pricing, please visit the pricing section at the bottom of our Classes page.