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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at The Cellar Gym

The Cellar Gym is proud to be a member of the prestigious Checkmat BJJ affiliation, founded by 6th-degree BJJ black belt Leo Vieira. The Cellar Gym’s BJJ program rosters include eight black belts, as well as many advanced and highly accomplished upper belts. Please read on for helpful information about the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and The Cellar Gym’s BJJ program.

History of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

While the art of jiu-jitsu itself originated in Japan, modern jiu-jitsu was partially developed, and certainly popularized, by the Gracie family in Belém, Brazil during the early 20th century. A fusion of different grappling arts including Judo and catch wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is aptly called the ‘gentle art’ as it teaches practitioners how to overcome larger opponents using manipulations like joint locks, choke holds, and submissions. 

Today, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the world’s most highly respected martial arts for its utility in both competition and real-world self-defense situations. In fact, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was co-founded by members of the Gracie family in order to test their version of jiu-jitsu against other martial arts. The art is so effective that virtually all mixed martial artists utilize jiu-jitsu in some way!

Leo Vieira 

Professor Leandro Vieira, known simply as Leo Vieira, is a sixth degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and founder of the prominent Checkmat BJJ organization, of which The Cellar Gym is a proud member! He has competed in and won some of the most prestigious grappling tournaments in the world including a first place finish at ADCC, two first place finishes at the IBJJF World Championship, and two first place finishes at the IBJJF Pan Am Championship. As an official Checkmat BJJ affiliate, The Cellar Gym is privileged to have hosted Professor Vieira on numerous occasions for seminars, competitions, and belt promotion ceremonies. We will continue our tradition of hosting Professor Vieira in the future as well.

International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF)

The IBJJF is the largest for-profit organization that sanctions and hosts Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and competitions. It distributes curricula, sets standards regarding rank and belt promotions, and creates competition rule sets. 

Checkmat BJJ Affiliation

Checkmat BJJ is an international academy, competition team, and family of BJJ practitioners. Founded in 2008 by Master Leo Vieira, Checkmat now has affiliate academies in 34 American cities and 16 countries worldwide; The Cellar Gym is one of these affiliates. Checkmat is headquartered in Signal Hill-Long Beach, California, which regularly hosts “The Mundials,” the world championships of BJJ.

BJJ Belt System

Checkmat BJJ, and The Cellar Gym by extension, use the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) belt ranking system. For adults, the belt progression in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is as follows: white, blue, purple, brown, black, red & black, red & white, and red. Because there are fewer belts in jiu-jitsu than in other martial art systems, students should expect to spend longer amounts of time at each belt. 

There are requirements regarding the minimum amount of time students must hold each belt before being eligible for promotion. Aside from length of training time, attendance is another factor that goes into determining one’s eligibility for belt promotion. We cannot retroactively add members for missed check-ins, so it is important that you diligently record your sessions by checking in upon arrival. To see the most improvement in terms of skill and belt progression, we recommend that students consistently train a minimum of two to three times per week. 

In general, all students begin with a white belt (some students with collegiate wrestling experience may be expedited to blue belt, as they are not permitted to enter IBJJF competitions as white belts). After consistent training and technical improvement, students are awarded stripes on their belts to mark their progression toward their next belt. Typically, students must earn four stripes before being eligible for belt promotion.

If you have any questions about The Cellar Gym’s BJJ program, please contact us in any way or speak with one of our BJJ coaches.

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