How To Tell If Your BJJ Instructor Is A Legit Black Belt




How To Tell If Your BJJ Instructor Is A Legit Black Belt


Generally speaking, earning a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu requires more time than any other martial art. Most will tell you that it takes an average of ten years to earn Jiu Jitsu’s highest rank. If you want to receive the best possible instruction for your money, you will want to make sure that the lead instructor of the academy that you choose is legitimate.


BJJ is growing in popularity and has been outshining other martial arts in terms of growth and attendance. This leads purveyors of other martial arts to have the desire to slap on a black belt with a red bar and claim that they are a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. Boy is that a terrible decision to make.


A Kung Fu instructor could probably throw on a Karate Black Belt and no one would be none the wiser. You try that jive in BJJ and you will have your name go viral throughout the growing Jiu Jitsu web. The moment you are caught faking, your name will be blasted out to hundreds of thousands of people, within hours.


Here is one of the most recent examples of a fake black belt being exposed:




And of course our meme that ensued:



How can you be sure that your instructor, or potential instructor is legit? How do you find an academy nearby that offers legitimate instruction?


The first step for you would be to do a Google, Bing or Yahoo search for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies in your area. Keep in mind that proximity is not the only factor in searching for the best BJJ school for you. It is worth the extra driving time to receive proper instruction.


Each academy’s page will inform you who the head instructor is. After you determine the name of the instructor, search the web for their name to ascertain their BJJ lineage.


All Roads Lead To Gracie




If the instructor that you have searched doesn’t have Helio Gracie or Carlos Gracie at the root of their lineage, this would be an immediate warning sign (there are a handful of exceptions). These gentleman have Japanese predecessors which we can discuss later, but for now, focus your attention on these two.


So long as the instructor of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy can trace their sources back to Helio and Carlos, they should be legit. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a sport is still a young one, so it is very easy to pinpoint exactly where someone learned their Jiu Jitsu.


The age of the internet has led to the rise of some handy online resources which can simplify your searching for the perfect academy, and for ensuring that your instructor is a legit Black Belt. Some academies may be owned and operated by Purple and Brown Belts. This is not a cause for alarm so long as they are directly affiliated with a recognized Black Belt who regularly visits the academy to ensure that the instruction and promotions are legitimate and in order.


I highly recommend using BJJ Tree to easily locate your instructor and their lineage.


Planet BJJ and BJJ Finder are two solid places to go to find excellent BJJ instruction close to you, especially when travelling abroad.


Here are some other tips to help you in deciding if an instructor is legitimate or not:


Scan the net for interviews, videos or other media regarding a potential instructor. Are they regarded well? If you are at an academy now, does the instructor have any personal accolades on display? Competition isn’t mandatory for legitimate instruction but can certainly be a solid indicator of skill level and community involvement.


Has your instructor or potential instructor competed in the IBJJF, ADCC, Pans or other major tournament? If it is an MMA academy where oftentimes Jiu Jitsu is found, has the instructor or instructors competed in MMA? If the instructor hasn’t competed, has their students? How do the students fare when competing? If the competitive body of an academy performs well at tournaments, this is a good indicator of solid Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instruction with a legitimate Black Belt at the helm.


If you still have questions after this article contact us on social media and we will do our best to help you out! Good Luck!


Private Lesson #8 – Armbar From The Mount w/ Mark Cukro




For this eighth installment of Private Lessons we are featuring Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Mark Cukro. I have been watching Mark’s BJJ videos since he was a Brown Belt. All of them are intellectually explained in a concise manner with an inordinate amount of detail!


The other day I was looking for an armbar from mount video to lead beginners to. There are some but they are all geared toward the more advanced player, or are No Gi specific. I knew that Mark would be the perfect person to ask to shed some light upon this most vital attack for BJJ beginners and those attempting to learn self-defense.



Thank you Mark Cukro for the technique!


Connect with Mark on your favorite social media sites:

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On The Web =


If you would like to film a Private Lessons video for us, or know someone you would like to see do a Private Lessons video. Please contact us!


Metamoris 6 Heavyweight Contender Being Picked TUF Style




Earlier this week we reported that Metamoris was having a secret event involving the big guys (Heavyweights/Super-Heavyweights). This would imply that Ralek Gracie and company are looking for someone to face current standout, Josh Barnett, who submitted Dean Lister at Metamoris 4.


It was long thought that Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida would fight for the Metamoris Heavyweight championship but now it seems that the elite BJJ champion is more geared toward the Jiu Jitsu World League. As I’m sure you all know Buchecha had an incredible Metamoris match with BJJ legend Roger Gracie in 2012.


Either way, we are going to get to enjoy an incredible round robin style BJJ tournament here very soon, with nothing but the big guys. Is it really feasible that a “walk-on” contender can defeat the “Warmaster” Josh Barnett? Personally I don’t think so, but you never know. What say you?





Anthony Bourdain Talks BJJ Lifestyle On New Radio Show




If you have been following this page for long enough you will see that we have been closely following chef, author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain’s BJJ white belt journey. In this most recent interview with the Opie and Jimmy Radio Show, Anthony talks living the BJJ lifestyle; including his weight loss and rolling with bigger and younger students.


It is an hour long interview but they start talking BJJ at the very beginning.



Metamoris 6 Going Down In Secret This Weekend?




Something big is going down this weekend. Super-Heavyweight big. If it isn’t Metamoris 6, it is certainly an event aimed at building the Metamoris 6 card.


Behind the scenes Ralek Gracie and his team have been working on a secret tournament that will take place this weekend in California.


The tournament will work in a round robin format, with each man competing a minimum of four 15 minute matches during the course of the day. While the scoring system has not yet been announced, it is believed that the total number of submissions scored by a grappler in his 4 matches will be weighted higher than winning on points.


The line-up for the tournament is yet to be released, but will consist of grapplers based in the California area, and is open for super-heavyweights only.


While it remains to be seen who will appear in this secret tournament, it is certainly an interesting concept. A round robin tournament with each match to be released online over the course of a few weeks, with the winner getting a big contract with the promotion, it draws striking similarities with the UFC’s flagship show The Ultimate Fighter.


Sources close to the event have stated that the tournament’s winner will likely face Josh Barnett, who is coming off a stunning submission victory of Dean Lister at Metamoris 4.




[UPDATE] Moments after releasing this article, Metamoris put out this post:



Looks like Game On!


How To Improve Your Cardio For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu




How To Improve Your Cardio For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


It can be one of the hardest parts of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to get used to early on. Whether you are an athletic person or not, when you begin training BJJ, you quickly realize that your cardiovascular endurance is not on the level of the more experienced practitioners in the room. This is perfectly normal.


I was very athletic when started BJJ three years ago. I went to the gym 5 days per week and would do at least 45 minutes of cardio each visit. However when I started rolling, or sparring BJJ, after 20 minutes I was outside hanging over a ledge gasping for air. The cardiovascular drain experienced in Jiu Jitsu cannot be explained until you feel it for yourself.


One of the saddest ways to tap out in BJJ is the “cardio tap”. This is where you tap, not due to a submission hold, but rather lack of cardio. It is always embarrassing and it is never something your coach likes to see.




So how can one improve their cardio for BJJ? This is what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Legend Marcelo Garcia has to say about the situation:


“I put all of my energy into Jiu Jitsu because I don’t have to do anything (else). I don’t have to lift weights. I don’t have to jog. My energy has to be focused on this if I want to improve on this. If I want to improve on this I don’t want to improve my running or swimming. I want to improve upon Jiu Jitsu so I put all of my energy on that. But, you have to try and reach your limit.”


Essentially Marcelo is saying that if you want to improve your cardio strength for BJJ, do more BJJ, and really give it your best sustained effort!



However some people cannot get to the BJJ gym everyday to practice Jiu Jitsu. If that is your situation, here are some great ways to improve your cardio for BJJ, outside of the academy:


Sprint Walking:
Warm your body up by running at a slow-to-medium pace for about 5 minutes. The sprint portions should last between 10-20 seconds, and the walk portion could last between 20 seconds and 2 minutes, depending on your fitness level and the progression of your training session. The walk portions tend to increase as the session unfolds.


Hill Running:
Find a steep hill. You probably have one within a half-mile or so of your house, even if you’ve never noticed it. It doesn’t have to be much. Jog to the hill and then run up it as fast as you can. You’ll be warmed up by the time you reach the top. Walk back down the hill and repeat as many times as you can. The great thing about hill sprints is that they dictate the pace of your run. After four repetitions, my heart always feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest. The light jog back to your house is your cool-down.


Stationary Bike or Aerodyne:
After a warm-up of 5 minutes start your sprint phase by standing up and pedaling as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Then sit down and pedal for 30 seconds at a slow pace (“walk” phase). There are many different sprint-rest combinations you can try, but generally speaking after 20 minutes of 30/30, your legs will be so exhausted that you can barely walk.



One final note for White Belts:
It is very easy to spaz about while rolling which causes an immense energy drain. Look for places and times where you can rest and relax your muscles mid-roll. Sometimes when you pass the guard you can take a few moments to lock in your position, while at the same time relaxing your muscles and breathing. Other times when your guard is passed, there is sometimes a moment or two where you can regather yourself while your opponent thinks about their next move. This latter practice is dangerous against higher belts because they don’t require as much time to ponder their next moves.


Hope you enjoyed the article! Good luck with your cardio and your BJJ journey!