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BJJ Professor Only Attendee for Gi Class

    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu professor vows not to give up on tradition in wake of zero attendance for Gi classes. Jerry Gomez, a 2nd-degree black belt from New England, has been the only person to attend any of his traditional BJJ Gi classes for almost a year now. 

    Jerry, who originally started training BJJ for a new hobby and workout, went on to start his own academy over 15 years ago. Earning his blue belt from the Gracie family himself, the now black belt Professor has always held traditional Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu close to his heart. Unfortunately, for almost 12 months, he has been the only one to attend the traditional Gi BJJ class at his gym. 

    This is not because Professor Gomez doesn’t have the student membership base. Jerry has over 150 students enrolled in the “Unlimited Training Program” at Shark Bear Jiu-Jitsu, his 2500 sqft academy. No-Gi class attendance is at an all time high, averaging over 60 students for each class. Gi classes, on the other hand, have Instructor Jerry doing solo shrimp drills and mopping up one small corner of mats.  

    Is this the death of Gi Jiu-Jitsu? Should schools consider dropping Gi classes with such a high demand for No-Gi?

    Professor Gomez believes No-Gi is just a brief fad and he has seen a number of those within the BJJ culture throughout his time. He trained for years with punches being a part of fundamental BJJ self defense, long before Slap-Jitsu became a fad. Stating that Master Bravo, “Didn’t invent anything.” His former coach taught him how to submit your opponent from the side control bottom with, “the Mouse Trap.” Apparently, this was a decade before it was called a Buggy Choke. He even recalls a time when training in a white Gi was actually considered cooler than a Hayabusa rash guard.

    Open mat Saturdays are now a sea of spats, rash guards and leg entanglements. Brazil is rarely mentioned. References to Judo and Mitsuyo Maeda have been replaced with sambo and Khabib .

    He has made it known to his students that they will not be promoted in rank until they attend Gi classes. Thus far, this has not has any impact on Gi class attendance, and with more and more tournaments asking for skill level as opposed to rank, it’s unlikely it will have any effect. Having a black belt seems less important these days to the new no gi generation, and Jerry is seeing this first hand.

    Eddie Bravo shed the Gi over a decade ago, creating 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, an association focused solely on No-Gi and Flat Earth Truth. However, Eddie did decide to bring the traditional Gi ranking system along with him, promoting students that have never trained in the Gi. Controversial at first, this is now a common theme with other associations and high level athletes.

    The Gi days seem to be long ago, but Jerry still holds on with a monkey grip of hope that one day, Gi Jiu Jitsu practitioners will rise again. If interested in a free trial class, you can find Professor Jerry every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday teaching Beginners Gi Jiu-Jitsu class to no one at Shark Bear Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Eddie Bravo says to, “Look into it.”

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