Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, “the gentle art,” is a sport that has been growing worldwide for the past 5 years and the previsions for the sport are even more successful and popular among the masses. Ten years ago the sport was solely dominated by Brazilian and American men. Today we see men, women, and children. World champions from a multitude of nationalities and is present in each continent. Through the expansion of MMA (mixed martial arts) and Jiu-Jitsu, people are starting to train more because they see these arts are the most effective in not only physical fitness, but in self-defense. This is one of the many reasons this “gentle art” is becoming a go to choice of physical activity for Americans especially. We’re now entering a phase where all styles of grappling are beginning to merge. Wrestling, Gi Jiu-Jitsu, Submission Grappling, Sambo, and Catch-Wrestling are all melding to become something greater than the sum of its parts. With this merger of styles comes an advent of professional leagues and money trickling into the sport. We see the athletes starting to train more seriously with a focus on nutrition, conditioning and other sports science principles. The modern fighters are heathier, stronger, faster, and more flexible.
Matheus and Alicia Lutes have been dedicated to the sport for many years. Matheus originally started training in his home town in Brazil, he is currently a Black Belts under the legendary Marcelo Garcia and has spent the past 10 years of his life on the mats. He is a 5x World Champion and well-known competitor in the Jiu-Jitsu world. Matheus is considered one of the most prestigious athletes in this generation of grapplers. Alicia was training Muay-Thai when she discovered Jiu-Jitsu. Alicia began her journey of martial arts with the intention of learning self-defense. When she experienced her first Jiu-Jitsu class, she developed a great love for the sport and competing; she hasn’t looked back since.
“I was in a very abusive relationship and it ended with my abuser trying to kill me. I never wanted to feel the way I felt that day again. I started looking into self defense martial arts to learn how I could protect myself. I looked into numerous options, but what I found was that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was the most realistic form of self defense. The chances of knocking someone out, especially given my size, is really impossible. Through Jiu Jitsu I learned how to use leverage, and manipulate my body and my opponents to my advantage. I learned that being a smaller person didn’t mean there was no hope, but that I had the upper hand in a way. The next time I had to defend myself I was prepared and able to do so. Jiu Jitsu brought me a community, self-confidence, and above all a way to feel empowered and safe.“
“I was always a slower guy. I was never good at sports. I was the blunt of many bullying. My friend started to do Jiu Jitsu and of course I felt incapable. He urged me to just come and look at a class. Looking at the class turned into joining the class and I was hooked. I couldn’t believe that I could actually do this. I lost weight, gained muscle and confidence, and felt like a new person. Jiu Jitsu completely changed my life for the better (and I was never bullied again). I love the friendships I have made through this community and the support I have received. I recommend any person of any size or physical ability to just give it a try! It may change your life for the better too!”
“I was battling addiction when I first heard of Jiu Jitsu. I couldn’t get out of the crowd I was hanging out with because they were the only people who would hang out with someone like me. My family had lost hope and I lost the love of my life. That put me over the edge. I survived and overdose and again Jiu Jitsu showed itself as some sort of sign. I figured I had nothing left to loose and took a class. No one judged me. Even after they knew who I was and what I was battling, they didn’t care. I received massive support from my professors and my team. I fell on and off a few time and they still had my back and was on my side. Here I am years later and clean for 4 years straight. Jiu Jitsu and the people it brought to me literally saved my life. I know I would not be here if I didn’t take that first class.“