Adult BJJ


Come as you are! All you need to start classes at Carlson Gracie Grand Rapids (CGTGR) is a desire to have fun, work hard and learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In our Adult Gi classes you will train in a traditional uniform (Gi) while in the No-Gi and wrestling classes we suggest you wear a tight-fitting shirt and shorts (or spats/leggings) preferably with no pockets if possible. Rash guards (a tight-fitting spandex style shirt) and training shorts are also available for sale in our office at a reasonable cost if you need them. If you are in need of a Gi don’t let that deter you. We also have loaner Gis available at no charge during your free trial period. We will fit you with one just right for your size and walk you through the sign in process and get you set up for first class. Our hope is that you will join us for the two-week free trial and fall in love with the sport like we have. If it’s your first time, please come 15-20 minutes before the start of your class so we have enough time for you to fill out the waiver and get set up with whatever gear you may need. If you are a beginner or feel like you don’t know where to start, try out our fundamentals (basics) class on Monday from 5-6 PM to learn all the proper techniques and movements you will need to start in a low stress environment. Here is a link to our complete list of classes.

Our classes are taught by world-class instructors who are still active on the competition scene. Because of this you will see techniques that are being developed and used in current competition. Classes generally consist of a quick warm up, a couple of standard drills and then the technique portion of class. Near the end of class, we will do some situational drills and then finally some live sparring where you will get the chance to apply your newly learned techniques.

A question you might have is “Why Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?” and why is Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu different than any other flavor of BJJ? The Carlson Gracie style of Jiu-Jitsu refers to the approach and techniques popularized by Carlson Gracie and Carlson Gracie Jr., both legendary figures in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) community and members of the renowned Gracie family. Here’s an overview of the Carlson Gracie style:

  • Aggressive Approach: Unlike some other branches of BJJ that emphasize a more defensive or reactive style, Carlson Gracie’s style is known for its aggression. His students were often encouraged to go on the offensive and constantly look for submissions.
  • Competition Focus: Carlson Gracie believed in testing techniques in real combat situations. As a result, his style has a strong focus on competition and sparring, where techniques can be applied against resisting opponents.
  • Well-Rounded Game: While the Gracie family is often associated with the development and popularization of the “guard game” in BJJ, Carlson Gracie’s style is known for being well-rounded. This means that students are trained in various positions, both on top and bottom, and are not overly reliant on any single position or technique.
  • Adaptation and Evolution: One of the hallmarks of Carlson Gracie’s teaching was his willingness to adapt and evolve. He was open to integrating techniques from other grappling arts like wrestling, and he emphasized the importance of continuous learning and adaptation.
  • Physical Conditioning: Carlson Gracie believed in the importance of physical conditioning for Jiu-Jitsu. His training sessions were rigorous, and he believed that superior conditioning could be a decisive factor in a match. You will find the same tenacity for conditioning here at CGTGR.
  • Loyalty and Team Spirit: Carlson Gracie was known for his loyalty to his students and his emphasis on team spirit. He fostered a close-knit community among his students, and this sense of camaraderie is still evident in Carlson Gracie academies today.

It’s worth noting that while the Carlson Gracie style has its distinct characteristics, BJJ as a whole is an evolving art, and different practitioners and schools have their own unique approaches and techniques based on their personal experiences. Carlson Gracie Grand Rapids is no exception to that, and we are writing our own story in the legacy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu right here in West Michigan.  The influence of Carlson Gracie on the world of BJJ is undeniable, come help us write our story and become part of BJJ’s living history.