April 01, 2008
Navigating the landscape of martial arts training can sometimes be a daunting and mysterious task. Following up on last month's article on how to choose a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) academy, I asked a few more questions of a panel of experts in the art. This second article in a three-part series addresses how to survive in Brazilian jiu-jitsu once you've got started--meaning how to navigate everything from ringworm and cauliflower ear, to what to wear underneath your gi and how not to annoy your teammates.
This month's panel of experts
Jimmy Tang has been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, both with and without the traditional gi, for six and a half years. A frequent tournament competitor, Jimmy earned his brown belt from Jean Jacques Machado in 2006.
Felicia Oh earned her black belt from Jean Jacques Machado in four and a half years and has been training for seven. She teaches BJJ and is a certified CrossFit trainer at Big John McCarthy's Ultimate Training Academy in California. In 2007 she was the FILA World Grappling Champion and Pan-Am Champion in both gi and no-gi divisions.
Kenny Florian is a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, Ultimate Fighter contestant, and top contender in the 155-pound weight division in the UFC. He has been training BJJ for approximately eleven years and earned his black belt in five and a half years, from Roberta Maia of Gracie Barra.
Valerie Worthington has been training for nine years. She earned her purple belt from Carlson Gracie and Carlson Gracie, Jr. Currently she trains under Johnny Ramirez and John Ouano at New Breed Academy. In 2007 she won the gold in her weight division at the World Grappling Games in Antalya, Turkey.