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How does adding grappling into my school’s curriculum help my school’s profitability?

With the advent of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) on television, may more people want to learn self defense skills that incorporate fighting on the ground. Having this as part of your program will help you attract new students, and retain your existing students for longer. People sometimes quit training because they sense they are no longer improving, they feel they have gained enough proficiency at the art, or they may just become bored with the repetition of kata that is required to truly excel. Other students view their black belt as a sign that it is time to move away from their school and branch out in new directions. A grappling program offers a whole new dimension to learning – a complete new world of techniques and skills to keep the students interested and fascinated for years. Offering these students grappling helps give them a new world of training right at your own school.

Grappling can also create a need for your students to purchase grappling related items such as uniforms and knee pads from your pro shop.

How does the curriculum actually work?

The BJJ America grappling curriculum is a 9 level program, covered in 3 DVDs and 2 large manuals. The DVDs are shot from 3 camera angles and the techniques are shown in great detail, with the idea that you will learn them today and teach them tomorrow. Key points including safety tips are covered, and the manuals are your quick reference that you can keep with you at the school and on the mat, and have space on the pages for your personal notes.

The techniques are organized in a systematic approach, starting with the most basic moves and concepts, and growing from there.

Can I teach grappling at my school if I am not a skilled or ranked grappling instructor?

You don”t need to be Michael Jordan to teach someone how to play basketball, and you don”t need to be an advanced grappler to teach grappling. All you need is to have a structured, ordered program and have a basic working knowledge of the moves and how to teach them, which the BJJ America curriculum more than provides

Should we start a separate grappling class at our school or just incorporate moves into our current curriculum?

Most schools begin to incorporate grappling into their “stand up” program by adding some of the basic grappling moves, in the order they appear in the curriculum, into their requirements for their normal belt ranks. This begins to expose the students to this new range of fighting.

Other schools prefer to offer grappling separately, either to their advanced students, or to all students as a new class. All approaches can be successful so long as you stick to the order of the moves as taught in the curriculum.

How do I handle ranking my students in grappling?

Ranking students in grappling only becomes an issue if you are offering a separate grappling class. Unless you are ranked in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is best to simply refer to your program as a generic “grappling” program. If you allow students to sign up only for a grappling class and not be a part of your other programs, you can create you own belt system (”Smith TKD grappling” for example). Most schools however keep only one set of belts at their school and recognize grappling rank with a colored tip or a vertical bar or star on the sleeve or shoulder. The tip and bar give you a way to add on to your existing belt system by changing tip colors or adding more vertical bars or starts as a sign of progress in grappling.

How young can kids start to grapple?

Kids can start grappling as young as 5 years old, but until about 8, they should just learn movements and basic skills for fun, and not learn any finishing holds. The BJJ America grappling program includes our Matrats program specifically deigned for Pee Wees and Juniors, and includes drills and games to make grappling fun for the kids.

Do we need separate uniforms for grappling?

You can grapple in your existing uniforms. However, grappling uniforms such as BJJ gis or Judo gis (Judo gis having more loose material on the sleeves) are much thicker and will hold up better over time.