Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fighting art, developed from traditional Jiu-Jitsu, by the Gracie family of Brazil. Even though Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu contains standup techniques for winning a fight, it is famous for its devastating ground fighting techniques. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was specifically developed to enable a smaller person to defeat a larger person via sophisticated application of leverage and technique. Gaining superior position on your opponent and applying a myriad of chokes, holds, locks and joint manipulations is the foundation for this fun and challenging martial art.
The Sweet Science. For centuries, it has been a consistent way to lose weight, tone up, and oh yes – learn how to hit while not getting hit. Ellis Harris has World Champions in his family tree, and for good reason: he has the superbly unique combination of talents that allows him to motivate, critique, and break down concepts into simple lessons – all at once. You will sweat, learn, and become a markedly better striker in short order. This program has produced local champions, regional standouts, feared strikers in MMA, and, most importantly, a whole cadre of fitter, more confident boxing lovers!
Mighty Mites BJJ
3-6 Years Old
Class Time: 30 Minutes
Mighty Mites (Ages 3-6): In this 30 minute class, children are brought to Jiu Jitsu through the use of games and measured repetition of concepts in order to ensure lasting learning is taking place. Hand-eye coordination, listening skills, and conceptualized learning are all integrated to facilitate both a worthwhile experience for the students as well as a solid foundation for development into the Juniors Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Program. Respect, focus, and good sportsmanship are natural by-products of these classes; the children have fun, but they also LEARN and RETAIN. Interoperable skills such as counting, raising hands to speak in a group setting, and collective problem solving with peer partners are all found within the fun, physically active package of the Mighty Mites curriculum. Attention spans can vary to a great degree at this stage of childhood development, which is why the class length is kept slightly leaner that other programs; however, care is taken by all instructors to tailor the Mighty Mites experience as needed to make the class as effective a personal development tool as possible for every single student.
7-14 Years Old
Class Time: 60 Minutes
Building upon the skills gained in Mighty Mites, the Black Hole Juniors curriculum takes full advantage of the lengthier running time (60 minutes vs 30 minutes) and adds physical fitness, drilling, and monitored sparring components into the educational mix. The techniques and concepts covered also respect the student’s enhanced retention potential and burgeoning ability to chain movesets together independent of explicit instruction. The focus on the class is still fun, but there is more to learn and more room to develop individualized approaches to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu even at this young age. The increased scope of technique does not indicate a relaxing of emphasis on personal development, with the structure, discipline, and character-honing work begun in Mighty Mites still remaining at the forefront. Competing is explored at this stage as well, however it never becomes a requirement or sole focus. Previous membership in the Mighty Mites program is not a prerequisite for success in Juniors Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as many of our finest students have come directly into this level of practice and found delightful levels of success.
For some, the integration of styles is the aim. BJJ, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling…it all has to gel in order to scratch that training itch. Well, Black Hole has that too! We have competitors on the roster at all levels of the sport, and Mike is a head coach that has not only seen the evolution of MMA, but consistently stayed ahead of the curve in training methodologies and skills development. This program is unique in that there is no casual component: If you train MMA at Black Hole, you are either trying to break into and dominate the sport, or are ready to help others do likewise.
Nihon Goshin Aikido is the style taught by Sensei Earl Layumas. It is self defense oriented and highly effective, based on the idea that no single style is complete. Each art focused on a separate element of self-defense: The karate arts focused on striking. The judo arts focused on throwing. The ju-jitsu arts focused on joint locks. It is not merely the best techniques from each system; it is based on an understanding that different body types lend themselves to different skillsets. Nihon Goshin Aikido is a highly effective form of martial arts due to its variety of principles.
What do I need to wear to my first class?
Anything you would normally wear for a day at the gym – sweats and a t-shirt. As a courtesy, we ask that you make sure nails are trimmed (hands and feet) to avoid any erstwhile scratches!
How will the first class go?
We strongly encourage first time grapplers to stop in on the beginner’s days, as those classes are tailor fitted for someone just starting their jiu-jitsu practice. However, even if time only allows you to drop in on one of our Intermediate/Advanced Classes, the flow will be the same: You will get individualized attention, be walked through all the movements, and be under the watchful eye of one of our instructors. We warm up (jiu-jitsu centric movements done in sequence to get the muscles and joints loose), then work on a short chain of techniques for about 15-20 minutes. No beginners have to roll (spar) if they do not want to. The beginners classes do not have a rolling component, and any new members are encouraged to watch the more advanced practitioners roll but in no way are they just thrown in. You do not roll until we think it is safe for you to do so, and, just as importantly, you feel comfortable doing so.
What is with the uniform?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s proud lineage can be traced back to the Japanese art of Judo. They wore Gi’s, and thus the tradition was passed on. Do not worry – while we always encourage you to pick one up, you can start your training without one. Once you get bitten by the jiu jitsu bug, however, you are more than likely going to want to nab one just to open up the schedule for more classes for you. The Gi adds a deeply tactical aspect to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practice, and is a core component of a well-rounded grappling game.
Will I ever get this? Will I ever fit in?
The start of any new activity brings with it anxiety – this is natural and unavoidable. Its what you do with this anxiety that makes the difference: Does it fuel you to keep learning, or keep you from exploring what we promise can be a life-changing experience? There is a learning curve in BJJ. As the saying goes “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” At times it will seem like a whirling mass of limbs and joints, with no rhyme or reason and no semblance of a road map to success. So many things can be out of your control during a class, but there are two things that you will always have control over: Your breath, and your presence. If you keep tabs on the former, and eventually learn to become comfortable in uncomfortable situations, the applications to this principle will be endless: Both on the mats and working into and out of tough spots, as well as off the mats in any set of circumstances that might seem initially overwhelming…if you just breath, and relax as much as you can, you will weather whatever the storm is and be able to collect yourself and progress. As for the latter…you WILL get this if you just keep showing up. That’s the secret to Jiu Jitsu – just show up. Countless people have either been discouraged at first glance, or after their first really tough class, or even months in when they seem to hit a plateau in their skill development. The answer? Keep coming back. That’s it. Your coaches and teammates will take care of the rest.
And as for the “fitting in” portion of the question? There are all walks of life represented at Black Hole: We have doctors, lawyers, laborers, students, the unemployed…all political views are amply represented, as are all religions and ethnic backgrounds, along with age groups. How can we all seem to mix so well, being from such seemingly disparate ideological landscapes? None of it matters on the mats. This is part of the reason that people get hooked on training: Who or what you are outside of the gym is of little consequence when learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, all that is important is being a great classmate and rolling partner. That’s how everyone gets better. And that’s how we’ve built Black Hole into what it is: A fun, and safe, place to train.