Do you practice “Home-Jitsu,” too?

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For those hooked on Jiu-Jitsu, practicing at home is nothing new. To many, the academy is just not enough.

We go back to the early days of gentle art training in Brazil. The Gracie family, for example, always had this custom, whether in teaching private lessons or, for example, in the traditional training that went on at the family home in Teresópolis, in the mountain region of Rio de Janeiro state.

Thus it was when introducing the style in the United States, too. Often the dojo was set up right in the garage at home, at a time when the style was just beginning to spread.

In Brazil, many carried on in the same way. Carlos Liberi, these days at the helm at the well-run Gracie Barra Campinas, has had as many as one hundred students on the mat in his garage. Now champion Caio Terra, who now lives in the USA, tore down the walls of his apartment in Copacabana and made the place in to his own private academy, which was fundamental in his evolution.

“The only places where there weren’t mats were my mom’s room, brothers’ rooms, and the bathroom and kitchen. I didn’t have a room, I slept on the mat! As it wasn’t an academy, I received black belts from different schools. I was a blue belt who trained with black belts the whole time. Now the dojo is smaller, but it’s still there and my brother uses it a lot,” says Caio.

The same went for black belt Gabriel Willcox, the current International Masters champion. He brought down the walls of the third floor of his home, in Urca, Rio de Janeiro, and set up a true academy, with mats and weight-lifting equipment to receive students and practitioners from all around the world, who stop in for a visit.

“My house became a gym! We do tough training there and I’ve received beasts like ADCC champion and former UFC fighter Dean Lister,” he recalls.

MMA fighter and CheckMat black belt Ana Maria Índia doesn’t waste any time either. Whenever that hankering for a roll arises, she gets her friends together on the terrace of her apartment, in Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Rio de Janeiro. Now Milton Vieira, also an MMA fighter and a BTT black belt, set up a dojo in one of the rooms of his apartment in Ipanema. Nor can you forget Ricardo Arona, who turned his house, in Niterói, across the bay from Rio, into a training center, with a mat and outdoor ring.

And “Home-Jitsu” isn’t restricted to professional teachers and fighters. A lot of practitioners, due to their busy daily routines, often don’t have time to make it to the gym every day, and set up a place to train at home. The lawyer Bruno Ferreira, for example, waited for his parents to travel.

“When they returned, one of the rooms in the apartment had become a dojo! But it wasn’t a problem, my mom went on to use the space for her stretching classes. Now I’m married and have moved out, but the mat is still there at my parents’ house. I always get the friends together and we train there,” says the Nova Geração black belt.

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Keep in mind that there should be an advanced practitioner present when unsupervised by a master.

If you practice “Home-Jitsu,” often train at home, please send us a photo and a bit of the story of your dojo for us to post in this article (

Great training to all in 2011.

Thiago Campos, from Patos, in the Brazilian state of Paraíba, contacted to show off his dojo. A judo practitioner, he went on to train more grappling since he set up his mat in the garage of his home back in 2007. “Due to the lack of space, we’d train using Jiu-Jitsu rules and with time we ended up not doing judo at all. One of the advantages to training at home is the privilege of being with friends and being able to enjoy a totally healthy atmosphere in a sport that is magnificent and complex,” says the fighter, who trains with his friends with gospel music playing in the background. (Check out the new photos in the gallery above.)

Mark Stites, who lives in Dallas, Texas, also practices “House-Jitsu.” Mark had a dojo set up in his home even before buying a bed! He set up mats in the garage, hung up a punching bag, added another handful of equipment and now, besides the academy, he trains with friends at home. “We tend to train in intervals, at high intensity, specifically for Jiu-Jitsu. As the academy is nearby, we also often warm up here. (Check out the new photos in the gallery above.)

Black belt Rosalind Ferreira, from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais and winner of the European Open, Brazilian No-Gi Nationals, International Masters 2010, is another who doesn’t let being at home keep her from training. Her father, Master Adilson, set up a dojo where the TV room would be. “It became a true academy and, of course, it’s open every day. Even on Sunday’s there are people calling up on the closed-circuit phone at seven in the morning wanting to train (laughs)! I also set up a mat at my mother’s house, in the service are. As my mom’s a teacher too, people show up there at six in the morning. I have to rush to get my clothes off the drying rack and get my dog out of there,” says the fighter.

Breno Fernandes Eires has practiced Jiu-Jitsu since he was fifteen years old. Now he’s thirty-two and a black belt under Master Luiz Paulo of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. Breno teaches class at home, in Rio Bonito, Rio de Janeiro state. “My team would be honored to have our photo posted on” There you go, Breno!

A family of Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in Switzerland, Len, Viola, and Duncan Frei train at Triangle Academy, a Gracie Barra affiliate, and they are GRACIEMAG subscribers. However, most of their training goes on the shed by the main house. They roll with the Jiu-Jitsu crew, but judo- and MMA-practitioner friends join in too. “I train with my wife, son, cousin, and friends,” he says. So in the end, a family that trains together, stays together!

Kron Gracie practices “Home-Jitsu” as well. In the photo sent to us, the black belt and son of Rickson Gracie trains with friends at a home dojo in Australia.

The group at the front lines for Alliance in São Paulo approves:

“I feel it really works,” says black belt Bernardo Faria, chuckling. “The living room here at the apartment where we live is a mat and, by coincidence or not, the four of us living together became IBJJF champions in 2010: me at heavyweight black belt, Gabriel Goulart at middleweight brown, Mateus Luckmann at featherweight adult blue, and Murilo Tavares at heavyweight juvenile blue,” he adds.

“We use the mat to practice positions and resolve any doubts before and after tournaments! Always a few days before a championship questions come up about opponents and we put on the gi and train based on them. I believe perhaps that helped us four in becoming world champions,” says Bernardo in analysis.

At the other end of the planet, in the land of kangaroos and surfing, readers quench their thirst for training at home as well.

“These photos were taken here at what we call the Jiu-Jitsu Shack, right on the Gold Coast in Australia! Just so folks will know how the Gold Coast doesn’t just have surfing, here there’s Jiu-Jitsu too!” says reader Vicente Cavalcanti.

Claudio Ribeiro is Brazilian but lives in Hawaii, on the island of Kauai, where he trains with black belt Bruno “Longman” Ewald. “But we also train a lot at home. I often roll with my son Rayom in the backyard. We thought the ‘Home-Jitsu’ article was cool, since it shows the gentle art’s hardcore! Aloha!”

Luiz Aguiar, better known as Murf, is another who trains at home. Thanks to his doing so, his sister took up training too and both got “Jiu-Jitsu” tattoos, so great is their passion for the sport. “I started training in 2001 and it was a passion. I had to drop out because of work but I always put on the gi. It’s an impossible feeling to describe. My sister discovered her passion for Jiu-Jitsu too. She even met her boyfriend in training! We’re always looking to learn, and with a mat at home, there’s no fixed time for doing so! A month ago my cousin started too. The family in Jiu is growing!” he recounts.

Leandro Abrahão was a Roberto Tozi student in Campinas and on weekends he’d roll at home to brush up on his technique and interact with the gang. “Now I work in São Paulo, I’m a Roberto Godói brown belt. We sometimes even meet up on weekends to roll in my garage at home.”

Alexandre Maron is also from São Paulo, and he trains at Alliance with Fabio Gurgel. “On Saturdays we train on the terrace of my apartment with Professor Eduardo Mirando and also with Antonio Peinado.”

João Vinícius is from Pau dos Ferros, in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte. “I’m a blue belt student of Bruno Ramos in Natal, the Nine Nine teacher here. We’ve trained in my living room at home, soon after that we moved on to a friend and student named Clístenes’s house, forging ahead with ‘Home-Jitsu’!”

Jean Feijó is from the Gracie Floripa branch in the Southern Brazilian city of Blumenau. “We too practice ‘Home-Jitsu’ here on the mat set up at Marcelo’s house. The gang is hooked on Jiu-Jitsu and, whenever possible, we get together for a little extra training. The good thing about having a mat at home is that when there’s training going on and you feel that urge to roll we can work on new positions. Including the ones from GRACIEMAG!”

Students of Master Welton Ribeiro, who has trained standout athletes like Thales Leites amd others, also get together to practice “Home-Jitsu.” On Saturdays and holidays they get together to train at the house of architect Leonardo Cupolillo (Tio Léo) in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro state. “The dojo is known to the gang as “tatame da Bariri.” Training there serves to clear up questions, as well as being a lot of fun,” says Marcelo Azevedo.

Another black belt who likes training at home is Rodrigo Antunes, of BTT, and the submission whiz managed to put together a first-rate team. “I saw the article and I’d like to share our ‘hideout’ with you. Taking advantage of how the academy where I worked was getting rid of its mats, I bought them. After some time, I invited friends over to roll, the group grew and grew, and now nearly every Saturday we have between ten and fifteen friends from different academies over to train – all burly black belts!”

A gentle art practitioner in Canada, Nathan Fitzmaurice practices “Home-Jitsu” constantly. “When I’m not training at Gracie Barra Fort McMurray, I’m sweating it up I my brother’s in-laws’ garage.”

Felipe Cavalcante is another of the home-training adept in Australia, and it has bore fruit for him. “I’m a Splinter BJJ black belt. I lived in Perth, Australia, for two and a half years, I got a job outside the city and the solution was to buy a mat and train with the local folks. With the dojo, I managed to make some pretty good money teaching private lessons. I received an offer to teach class at the other side of Australia, in Brisbane. I moved, but I took my mat with me. It’s a great way to keep in shape and practice positions.”

Faced with a lack of space, “Home-Jitsu” was the solution to Ricardo Puléo’s problems. “I’m from Curitiba and moved to Ponta Porã, Mato Grosso do Sul, in 2006. I taught at an academy where we were always getting complaints about how there wasn’t enough ventilation. One of my students has a big room at his house and his father let us make it our headquarters. We bought tire shreds, managed to get a canvas donated to us, and we set up our dojo. That’s how our “Home-Jitsu” got started. Now we train at that student of mine’s house and have a great mat. There still aren’t too many of us, but the few that there are make up a family!”

Kylson Mota can’t do without some home training and, in so doing, takes the chance to get his daughter involved in Jiu-Jitsu. “I have a mat at my house. I’m already getting my daughter Kyara into it with me and it’s like therapy, beyond being just a martial art,” he says.

Johnny Gui innovated in New Zealand with “Farm-Jitsu.” “I represent and train at Nine Nine. In early 2003, I went to New Zealand for the first time, specifically to the city of Dunedin, in Sawyers Bay. I went thinking I was going to teach a group of ten students. Initially, I was going to stay for a month, but I ended up staying for seven months. These days, even with the team in a big academy, I never stop training where it all started, in the garage at home, in a small farm. We call it the “Farm-Jitsu” group! In this group we have the winner of the Abu Dhabi tryouts in the blue belt/lightweight division who will soon compete over in the land of the Sheikhs, Adam Johnson, besides the kids group comprised of the sons of friends who learned the gentle art early.”

Now Rafael Marangoni presented a legion of “Home-Jitsu” adept. “I’m from Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo, and I teach a group of 120 athletes, and we all practice ‘Home-Jitsu.’”

CheckMat black belt Anderson DJ Kron made the area by his pool into the most special place in his house, a mat with a full-service functional-training studio, where he often receives friends like Leon Amâncio, Caio Callado, Bernardo Tovolaro, and Thomas Malocka, among a lot of other friends and students. After training it’s all a bout a dip in the pool to cool off.

A fighter who has none other than the world title on his mantle, Brasa beast Felipe Costa has shown himself to be truly adept in Home-Jitsu. Besides participating in training at Caio Terra’s Copacabana apartment – one of those most commented about in the series of articles, Felipe also has his own dojo and always practices “Home-Jitsu” around the planet. During one these home training sessions Felipe even demonstrates a sweep (see video below).

Black belt Francis Abramson also got excited about the article and sent in some old photos. Francis often trains at home with a hardcore group and has been doing it for some time now. In the ’90s he would roll with beasts like the late Master Pedro and other practitioners in the Gama Filho family, as well as Professor Toco and practitioners from several other academies. This diversification is one of the coolest characteristics of “Home-Jitsu.”

Direct from Portugal, our reader Sérgio “Telinho” Vita, a Léo D’ilha black belt, is another home trainer who sent in a photo.

Reader Bernardo also shares a story: “Here at home we’re three brothers who are hooked. Unfortunately, all I have is this photo, without fighters, but they represent the peace there is in training at home. We always receive illustrious visitors from our friends at Gracie Barra BH to train. We burn an incense and turn on Mozart come training time!”

Brown belt Marcley Sousa is from Goiás, is a Gracie Barra rep, and also loves training at home. “I’m a practitioner of the most perfect art in the world! I live in a small town called Iporá. Without anyone else’s support, I set up my own training center with a mat, functional training area, etc.” says Marcley, who has been having a good run in competition.

Evaristo Medrano trains in San Antonio at BTT Texas, an academy led by Murilo Bustamante black belt Marcelo Salazar. However, when he returns to his birthplace, South Padre Island, he doesn’t put training aside. His brother and friends roll freely in his mother’s garage. “We’ve been doing it for the last four years. It’s something special, especially in the heat of the Texas summer!”

Brazil’s northeast harbors more home training adept.

“I’m a Home-Jitsu practitioner in Fortaleza, Ceará, and I train at Evolution Fight Team. I set up a place for us to swap positions and roll. And there’s no excuse for not bringing a gi because there’s always one available! And the gang is really tightly knit, too,” says Paulo Cesar.

Silas Fabiano, from Rio Grande do Norte, made a point of getting his family to train: “Extending training to one’s home is truly something natural to anyone who likes Jiu-Jitsu. Once I discovered Gracie Barra Natal, I signed up and never stopped. Now I have a dojo and managed to get by brother-in-law to train. I’m also getting my daughter into it. She always asks me: ‘Dad, where’s my gi, let’s train!”

Back in the USA, eight-year-old João “Lit. John” Marcelo came to our attention. The kid is a Pan-American champion and 19-time winner of Naga, as well as other titles, and practices wrestling to boot! “Lit. John” trains under Marcelo Ribeiro at Gracie Barra North Austin, but also complements his training by rolling in his garage at home!

Now on to Rio de Janeiro: “My daughter Kyara (1 year, 4 months) is already comfortable in the gi she was given by her godfather Fábio Andrade, a Nova União Bangu black belt,” says also-black belt Kylson Mota.

Great training to all in 2011!

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There are 15 comments for this article
  1. dan thomas at 4:23 pm

    i train in my kitchen, my girl hates it. i got rid of the table and layed down mats and vinyl.C:UsersuserPictures2010-10-24 jitsjits 023.JPG

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