How do promotions work?

We have very strict and very rigid criteria.  First and foremost it is a basic time.  For every belt rank we have, there is a solid guideline for how much a student needs to be in attendance.  For example our white belt, brand new student.  That person needs to expect that he will attend class 2 to 3 times a week, he will be a respectful training partner and student, and should expect to be a white belt in about 2 years.  The first criteria is time and the second criteria is knowledge.  What have you learned and what can you display to us live with an existing proponent. The next thing is are you a good person, not just on the mat, but also out on the street.  On the mat are you respectful to your partner, are you respectful to your instructor, are you respectful to the facility.  It’s a time, a character issue, it’s an experience issue, and it’s a skill issue, that’s how promotions are based here.

What are some of the benefits in training?

First you have the physical aspect, you will get in shape, and lose some pounds.  Then you have the social aspect, here at Delaware Self Defense Academy we focus on nice, professional, responsible mature adults.  We have Realtors, Doctors, Teachers, Blue collars, Laborers, a wide array of people and when they all come to the mat everyone is the same.  So you are still rubbing shoulders with people who can help you emotionally, physically,  and spiritually, and socially.  Then you have the health aspect and the code that we live by.  We do a lot of training on how to find the positive in every situation.

How does DCSA teach Jiu Jitsu?

The adult class is an hour class at each location 2 days a week, we all wear a white outfit with blue undershirt, we keep the class very organized.  The first 10 minutes is the history philosophy lesson, we talk about history of Jiu-jitsu, positive thinking, healthy eating, how to keep emotionally balanced.  The next 15 minutes we teach a self defense technique, whatever is on the curriculum for that day, we have a very rigid curriculum.  The next self defense technique can be very similar or very different and then the last technique of the day is something on the ground.  It’s instructional it’w with a partner, nothing live and nothing full speed.  No one is forced to train live or physical, that way there is no ego involved.  Then after that we offer another class called sparring, this is a good time to test what they learn.  It is not required or pressured to do live training, but it is available when you are ready.

Is Jiu Jitsu just for men?

There is a perception in the community that Jiu Jitsu is just for young athletic men.  What would you tell women and parents that were  thinking about participating in training?  I would say that is absolutely incorrect, Jiu Jitsu is for everybody, it does not discriminate, it absolutely for everybody.  Jiu Jitsu is what you make of it.  If you are an 85 year old grandparent, it is for you just at a different pace and level.  If you are a 7 year old girl, Jiu Jitsu is for you.  If you are a 35 year old guy who hasn’t done anything in the past 20 years and you are out of shape, it is for you, we just tailor it to fit your needs.

Why do you have a blue bar on your black belt?

You have a blue bar on your black belt, explain the difference between the blue bar and the red bar.  The whole belt ranking system has gone through a lot of changes over the years.  When Grand Master Helio got frustrated with what sports Jiu Jitsu had become, he took off his red belt and went back to his navy blue belt.  Royce also felt the art of self defense had died, so he felt it was important to champion the cause to keep self defense alive, so he took his black belt off and wore his navy blue belt to honor his father.  A number of years ago a lot of our other network black belts suggested the idea to seperate the Royce Gracie network from the rest of the sport industry, and not wear the red bar, and that we would wear the navy blue bar and that would differentiate us to show that we focus on self defense and honor Grand Master Helio.

Injuries and training through them

In our instruction class, we teach the technique, you partner up with someone, you very slowly run through the technique with that person as a drill, it’s a muscle memory drill.  After the end of that class for those that want to they can stay for the second class, which is a sparring class.  Probably half the people stay for that.  Yes just like any other activity you are bound to get an injury.  I have probably been hurt more than most because I am on the mat every day.  In our history and philosophy we follow the 753 code, in that code it is a guide on how to live, physically and mentally, and one of the things I like to focus on is being positive.  I don’t celebrate getting hurt, but I do look at it and say how can this injury help me, how can this injury teach me to use other parts of my body, or how can this injury get me to look at self defense differently.  Because in reality if you get hurt you can’t tell your attacker, hey wait I’m injured.  So anytime I get an injury I do whatever I have to do to train around it.  In our advanced classes we will do handicapped training on purpose, like one handed training just to teach how to work around it.

What is required to teach or own a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy?

What certifications does it take to own a Jiu-jitsu academy?  Unfortunatley there isn’t anything.  There is no police running around checking credentials.  You will never see a Karate school with a blue belt or green belt running their program, it’s always a highly decorated black belt.  But Jiu-jitsu has become so popular that you find low ranking students opening up schools all over the place, they go online to online Jiu-Jitsu universities and pay alot of money for a certification online they can print on their printer.

What is the Jiu-Jitsu Lineage?

The Delaware Self Defense Academy is a Royce Gracie Academy, there is a lineage that comes along with that.  Royce was the one who fought in the first UFC, he is the one who single handedly proved to people that size and strength and athleticism makes no difference at all.  When he stopped fighting there for a while and semi-retired he had students he was teaching that eventually became black belts, and around the year 2000 he decided to formalize his network, that meant that instead of just having random students he decided to create the Royce Gracie Jui-jitsu network, which is an organization of his black belts.  I was promoted by Royce to black belt in 2013.  We as an academy are under that network.  Royce is not an owner of our school, he doesn’t dictate what we do and don’t do, he doesn’t have any influence how we do business, but he does influence how and what and why we teach what we do, we make sure we teach how he learned from his father.


Jiu-Jitsu’s History and Philosophy

The history and philosophy of Jiu-jitsu is a very colorful and unique history.  I’m a huge student of the history of philosophy of Jiu-jitsu. It doesn’t go back near as far as alot of other traditional arts do.  For what we consider written history we accredit it from Late 1800’s till now and then it goes on to who did what and where.

What is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Delaware Self Defense Academy is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu training academy.  The biggest identifying factor that seperates traditional Brazilian Jiu-jitsu from Gracie Jiu-jitsu is simply the methodology, the teaching method, the history and the philosophy and the beliefs behind it.  Traditional BJJ focuses on one thing and that’s ground fighting, the sports side of it, the athleticism.  Whereas honest and sincere Gracie Jiu-jitsu focuses on the fight as a whole, it starts with the history and philosphy of Jiu-jitsu, the philosphy of healthy living and how to be a good person, it includes strikes, take downs and throws, it focuses alot on standing self defense and ground fighting.  So Gracie Jiu-jitsu focuses on all 5 aspects of what a fight entails whereas most BJJ schools just focus simply on the ground fighting.