Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Yamasaki Academy Woodbridge

About Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu (sometimes spelled jujitsu or Jiu Jitsu), or the “gentle art”, is the oldest form of martial art. It originated in India more than 2000 years before the birth of Christ. It was created by monks who could not use any type of weapons to defend their lives against barbarian attacks. It spread throughout China, and eventually took root and was modified in Japan where it became the first martial arts style. The samurai clans in Japan adopted Jiu-Jitsu as their own traditional style to defeat an opponent regardless of whether striking, throwing or grappling was involved. With the passing years, they split the techniques and developed other martial arts styles, such as judo, aikido, karate, etc.

In 1914, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu champion Esai Maeda migrated to Brazil where he was instrumental in establishing a Japanese immigrant community. His efforts were aided by Gastão Gracie, a Brazilian scholar and politician of Scottish descent. As an expression of his gratitude for Gracie’s assistance, Maeda taught the Brazilian’s oldest son, Carlos, the essential secrets of the ancient martial arts technique. Carlos taught Maeda’s techniques to his four brothers, and in 1925 they opened the first Jiu-Jitsu academy in Brazil.  Propelled by the Gracie lineage, the superiority of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has been represented throughout the world both in the ring and on the street.


Adult Program

The Yamasaki Academy of Woodbridge, VA offers a complete Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction program that incorporates excellent technique, live sparring, competition training, and fitness. Although our classes are intense and utilize a vigorous exercise program, our instructors recognize that each student is an individual with unique goals and progresses at his or her own level according to that student’s athletic and martial arts background and level of fitness.

In general, our classes are formatted as follows: The classes begin with a warm-up to help protect against injury and increase stamina and fitness. Following the warm-up, the instructors teach various techniques so that the students have a full of arsenal of submissions, takedowns, sweeps, reversals, and escapes. Students’ questions are always welcomed during the technique portion of the class. Finally, the students engage in live sparring in order to practice and execute the various techniques that they have learned.

The Yamasaki Woodbridge Academy has an excellent staff with many years of teaching and competition experience including our black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Francisco Neto (4rd degree BJJ Black Belt originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil),  Joe Cunningham (1st Degree BJJ Black Belt, USA) and Francisco Salguero (BJJ Black Belt, Pro MMA Fighter). Additionally, the academy’s top students have been selected to assist with the teaching responsibilities.


Youth Program

Yamasaki Academy Woodbridge offers a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program tailored specifically for children and young teens over the age of 6 and under the age of 14. Our goals for the children are to create extra support to the parents, teaching discipline, self-control, focusing on tasks and improving self-esteem. We believe that these life lessons many of us had to learn the hard way as adults can and are reflected on the mats. However, we also do not believe in unwarranted violence. As such, the technical curriculum for the children’s BJJ classes is different from the adults in that we are not showing many of the potentially harmful techniques shown in the adult program and we do not tolerate bullying. First and foremost we want everyone to have fun while at the same time learning valuable skills to be carried with them throughout their life. We are not a day care facility, however, and we do reserve the right to choose whether or not a child is a good fit for the program.

The Yamasaki Woodbridge Academy is proud to offer a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program for area kids with all of our classes being run and taught by Yamasaki Academy 1st Degree Black Belt Joe Cunningham or Francisco Neto, a 4rd degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo Black Belt.

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