Q: What do you need to get started?
A: good attitude and a willingness to work hard is a great start.
DISCLAIMER: If you have health concerns, it is always best to consult with a doctor or medical professional before beginning any exercise program.
Q: Do you need to be in shape to start?
A: The program at Heroes Martial Arts are designed to keep you in shape, give you motivation to stay in shape, and give you tools to maintain your shape, even when you’re not training.
As long as you’re healthy and ready to begin an exercise program, we can work with you. The skill level and difficulty ramps up quickly, but we will get you prepared for it. Warm up exercises before each class emphasize core strength, flexibility, endurance and students can easily do these exercises on their own even when not at the gym.
Because nothing is quite so challenging, and exhilarating as working with (and against) another human being in a physical chess match, no type of fitness level meets the demands of grappling quite like grappling does, and the competitive aspect will give you plenty of motivation to want to improve your shape.
Q: About all that sparring…
A: While we’re confident you will come to look at it as a bonus that you get to spar every class, we realize this can initially be more than a bit intimidating. Part of the acquisition of knowledge is the practical application of it, and you can look at sparring as a laboratory to put your theories to the test. Aside from which, we think sparring is really fun.
If you are new to the art, don’t worry, you will be eased into sparring and will spend time working with the instructor and more senior students who help guide you before you begin to spar with students of your own level. While competitive, the strongest emphasis is always on student safety.
Sparring generally begins from the knees because that is where the majority of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques take place (and also on a busy class the mat may get crowded). For those students seeking the extra challenge, sparring from standing and emphasizing competition is available.
Q: Is it true that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu requires no strength, and will allow a weaker opponent to overcome a stronger, more aggressive opponent?
A: Yes, although we have to make a disclaimer here. One of the fundamental principles of Jiu Jitsu is that proper technique and leverage is the most important part of gaining control of a fight, it is far from the only factor. Natural athletic ability, strength, speed and even flexibility certainly does play a part for the successful grappler, but none of these attributes can replace or overcome the power that comes from technique. Exactly how much natural ability technique can overcome, or what happens when you combine athletic ability with technique, is a big reason why even the best martial artists continue to train as hard as they do.
Q: What equipment do I need to begin training?
A: See our new Uniform and Equipment Requirement Page!
For the Gi class, you will need a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style gi. We should have some available for sale at Heroes, or you can check out a fine retailer like the OTM FightShop or www.OntheMat.com . A Judo gi would would work as well, however be aware that because of the different cuts Judo uniforms are at a disadvantage in BJJ competitions (and BJJ gi’s are illegal in Judo competition). Traditional martial arts gis are generally too thin and not designed to withstand the abuse typical in a BJJ class. For consideration of others, please make sure your gi is clean.
For the no gi classes, standard uniform is typically a pair of board shorts and either a t-shirt or rash guard.
Optional but recommended equipment would be a mouth guard and a protective cup. It is also recommended that each student has their own supply of athletic tape.
Some students also opt to wear ear guards to protect against cauliflower ear, and wrestling shoes.
Q: Why is the Gi so important in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
A: Traditionally, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu begins in the gi, and many instructors (ourselves included) feels that the use of the gi helps reinforce basic techniques because it slows the grappling game down somewhat and provides many more handles and opportunities for a skilled opponent to use against you. It also believed that the gi simulates most of the self defense situations a students is likely to encounter (unless you happen to live in an area where people don’t typically wear clothes!)
Of course it is important to be understand the no gi version of BJJ as well, which has become increasing popular over the years, this is why we offer a no gi class at Heroes Martial Arts. But truthfully, the expert grappler should be able to respond to any situation, no matter what your opponent happens to be wearing!
Q: How do I get started?
A: If you’ve never trained before, it is highly recommended you attend the fundamental classes to start off with. These class cover the foundational skills, movements, and concepts of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and are specifically designed to be beginner friendly (although many of our advanced students all enjoy taking these classes). If you do not have a uniform a gi will be provided to you on the first day of class.
Q: Is competition required to advance at Heroes Martial Arts?
A: No, competition is purely an individual choice and most people who participate at Heroes will never compete. It is about reaching your own maximum potential. At the same time, those who decide to compete will do so knowing that the full support of Heroes Martial Arts is behind them and we will prepare you if that is your choice. Classes are geared towards both types, and we feel the success of the academy is largely how everyone does their part to do better and help their fellow students get better. It’s really a great dynamic!
Q: Are there any rules or formalities I should be aware of at Heroes Martial Arts?
A: In our teaching experience, we want to push and challenge the students, but we want to do in a safe, friendly environment. The 3 “rules” we’ve set up are in order to maintain this type of atmosphere, with these guidelines in mind we hope that common sense will dictate your actions:
1: I will enter the Academy with the mindset that I will somehow better myself every time.
2: I realize that in order to better myself, it will take hard work and dedication.
3: I will contribute to the academy, in that my fellow students will be able to follow the first two rules.
Above all, we hope you fun when you are training at Heroes Martial Arts!
Q: Do you teach Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) at Heroes Martial Arts?
A: Mixed Martial Arts is a relatively new sport on the scene, having first been introduced (to the United States) with the UFC in 1993, and has been seen an absolute explosion of popularity in the last few years. MMA is a hybridization of a number of different disciplines in order to compete in a sport with specified (and shifting rules), including boxing, wrestling, muay thai, and arguably the most important aspect: Jiu Jitsu. This requires the athlete to have some level of familiarization, if not proficiency in all of these styles. The very top level competitors tend to have specialized in one area first and have developed to a very high level in it before cross training in other disciplines.
At Heroes Martial Arts, we have decided to specialize in the Jiu Jitsu and grappling arts in order to give our student a true depth of ability in these aspects. The concepts and techniques learned can be applicable in a number of different situations, including self defense, sport Jiu Jitsu and even MMA.
Q: I have been previously ranked at another school. Do I have to start over again when training at Heroes?
A: If you received your rank at an accredited school in your respective art (BJJ, Judo) you do not have to start your ranking over when beginning at Heroes Martial Arts. If you are not comfortable wearing your belt rank for whatever reason (feeling rusty after a long layoff for example), you may voluntarily resume at a lower rank.
Q: I am coming from a different school and have gear/patches from that other school….
A: Wear em! It’s always good to give respect to places you have trained before and we strive to have an open and welcoming environment at Heroes Martial Arts (and if you want a patch, they are just $10)
Q: Who really teaches all of the classes at Heroes?
A: The instructors for the respective classes are posted on the schedule page and they all actually enjoy teaching! If a substitution is to be made it often detailed weeks in advance (most often to coach athletes at an event). Even including that Gumby has taught well over 95% of the classes advertised and he has no plans on going anywhere.
Q: I missed a class, can I make up the class?
A: We missed you! If you missed a particular class, know the material is often repeated during the week. For example, the Monday morning Fundamental class and the Tuesday evening Fundamental Class of the same week will cover the same material.
Saturday’s Fundamental Class is a review of what we covered previously in the week; the format is a little more loosely structured to give the maximum benefit to those participating in the class. Sometime it’s a straight up repeat of the week’s material. Sometime there is more opportunity to drill the material. Sometimes we can move unto some new material based on what was covered in the week.
There is always the option to schedule a private lesson as well, to make up for lost time! One of the benefits of private lessons is that they work according to your schedule.
If nothing else, because of the way the curriculum is structured, the same class will come back in four months. While the material builds on each other and you’re going to want to come to class as much as possible, it’s not a critical handicap to occasionally miss the class (you should try to maintain a regular schedule however for you maximum benefit).
Q: What can I do in my off time to prepare for training?
A: Training Jiu Jitsu is very much a partner based activity. Because of the need to not only develop technique in relation how you move your body, but the need to develop timing based on an opponent (or partner’s) reaction, it is almost fruitless to try to train technique solo.
There are however certain core strength and conditioning exercises that can greatly benefit your ability to perform on the mat. The warm up exercises we do at the beginning of class is an excellent place to start and are very much designed to compliment the movements that you will encounter in training in Jiu Jitsu.
Of course, living a healthy lifestyle will not only benefit you on the mat, but will benefit you in many other ways as well. Regular exercise, improved diet, and better lifestyle choices (abstaining or moderating intake of things like tobacco and alcohol) will definitely improve your performance on the mat, as well as the way you feel off the mat!
Many students also enjoy watching footage of Jiu Jitsu online. There is a great many instructional footage and competition footage available online, we have a large resource of video as well right here on the Heroes website!
Q: I have an another question!
A: Please let us know! As an instructor one of things I love to do is answer questions an help people out. We try to provide plenty of opportunities in class to ask questions, both in the group setting or individually or you can ask a question to us online and we’ll do our best to help. Gumby answers all correspondence personally, and your question just might make this F.A.Q.