Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)

Which best describes you?

  • You’ve always been interested in martial arts. Maybe you took martial arts classes as a kid, and now enjoy watching occasional mixed martial arts competitions. You want to give it a try yourself but aren’t sure where to begin.
  • You’re weary of traditional workouts – endless dumbbell repetitions, miles of running, sterile gyms. You need a new, more engaging way to stay in shape.
  • You know little to nothing about martial arts and frankly are a little uncertain about it. But you’re interested in learning some self-defense and wondering if you should give martial arts a try.
  • You’re struggling with increasing stress in your life – at work, at home, or both. You need an outlet – not to mention, your couch-potato habits aren’t helping matters.

Two mma students




Whether you’re a man or a woman, no matter which option you chose (maybe several?), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Phoenix Fitness & Martial Arts is for you.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, also known as BJJ, is a relatively modern martial art with roots in ancient Japanese jiu jitsu and judo. Originally jiu jitsu was taught to armored warriors as a method of continuing to fight if they lost their weapon, using trips and throws to take an opponent down and joint locks to disable them, as punches and kicks are fairly ineffective against armored opponents. It has been adapted over time to be more practical and useful for civilians in everyday life, focusing even more on getting good positioning and using choke holds and joint locks to subdue an attacker.

As a method of self-defense, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches techniques to protect against an attacker trying to hit or choke you, and to defend and extricate yourself if you’re thrown to the ground. The focus is on restraining an opponent as opposed to striking them, and on preventing a conflict from escalating into increased violence. It’s sometimes called a “gentle art” because of its focus on redirecting an opponent’s force rather than opposing it with greater force – in jiu jitsu, you can overcome an opponent without either of you sustaining any physical damage.

But there’s more to BJJ than self-defense. In fact, jiu jitsu has an array of physical, mental, and emotional benefits that have nothing to do with defending oneself from attack.

First, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an intense, full-body cardio workout that uses arms, legs, and core, helps build muscle endurance, and develops core strength. It is a high-energy workout that can reshape the body, transform physiques, and maintain fitness in a fast-paced, interesting way.

Second, BJJ is mentally engaging. Unlike other workouts that are repetitive and encourage you to “zone out,” Brazilian Jiu Jitsu demands its practitioners continually think and learn. As you acquire new skills, you gain a sense of accomplishment and a growing confidence.

Finally, as an intensely physical practice, BJJ offers numerous mental health advantages. It relieves stress. It teaches anger management and control. A key element of jiu jitsu is teaching practitioners to be comfortable in an uncomfortable position, such as physically being pinned to the ground. This practice translates into everyday life, providing background and coping skills when kids act up at home, bosses yell, and in-laws annoy.

Listen to these real-life success stories!

Karen was 28 and had never really exercised much as she found most workouts to be boring. She wanted something to challenge her mentally as well as physically. She’d heard a little about BJJ and its growing popularity, and was intrigued when she heard that BJJ can empower a smaller person to defend effectively against a larger person. After just a few classes she felt much more confident she could apply some moves to protect herself. Karen told us: “I never did a crunch or a plank in my life and now I do it every class to apply a cool new technique. I do not even feel like I am working out and I have so much fun I always look forward to my next class. I wish I had discovered this gym earlier!”

Ed was a doctor and father in his mid-40s when he inquired about our programs. He had always been interested in martial arts but never had the chance to try anything. He was intrigued by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after seeing how effective it was in mixed martial arts fights. He didn’t have any desire to compete but he wanted to make sure whatever he learned would have a real-life application. Ed’s biggest concern was his busy schedule, but he was happy to see that Phoenix has daytime, evening, and weekend classes to give him lots of options to get in at least a few times each week. Since beginning his BJJ journey he has gotten in great shape, had a lot of fun, and picked up a set of skills that would make him a dangerous man to mess with!

Like other martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is progressive, with practitioners working through a series of belts – white, blue, purple, brown, and black. Those dedicated to the practice of jiu jitsu acquire a gi – the uniform or practice dress used in martial arts. The gi consists of loose-fitting long pants, a stiff jacket, and a belt. Jiu jitsu beginners can come to class in comfortable workout clothes and use loaner gis, but those who continue need to purchase the practice dress. Phoenix Fitness & Martial Arts sells gis and related merchandise in its on-site store.

Training in both jiu jitsu and kickboxing constitutes a “mixed martial art” and provides a complete suite of self-defense skills, as kickboxing defends against standing grabs and hits as well as offers techniques to fight off more than one attacker. Kickboxing is taught at Phoenix in the Muay Thai form, which is a complete and effective kickboxing style that incorporates elbow and knee strikes as well as punching and kicking.

All of the BJJ coaches at Phoenix Fitness & Martial Arts have more than 10 years of experience and have attained the black belt ranking. At Phoenix, BJJ is taught in small, mixed (men and women) classes that allow for individual coaching and instruction. Instruction includes: going to ground without hurting yourself, rolling without injury, lock and choke holds, getting back on top once on the ground, and disabling a bigger opponent, to name a few. This last skill, defending against a larger opponent, makes BJJ particularly worthwhile for women.

Once students advance beyond the beginning level, coaches will work with pairs of students of similar training and experience for practice sparring, technique development, and instruction on new skills. This partnering allows students to practice their skills on others and gain confidence in facing an opponent of any size.

Working with a partner also builds on the sense of caring community that we cultivate at Phoenix. Unlike large gyms that can feel impersonal, Phoenix Fitness & Martial Arts prides itself on its caring community of members and coaches. At Phoenix you’ll find an atmosphere that welcomes newcomers and beginners, guides members through skill levels at a pace that’s right for them, and offers accountability and support along each member’s fitness and training journey. Your goals become our goals, and your success, our success!

If you want a more challenging and engaging workout, seek to learn self-defense, need to de-stress, or wish for greater self-confidence – or several of these results! – you can achieve your goals with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Phoenix Fitness & Martial Arts. And you’ll do it in a caring, supportive environment of coaches and fellow members. Take the next step now! Contact us to discuss how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can work for you – or check out our class schedules and drop in to try a class or even just observe. Don’t be surprised if you’re hooked!