Do I have to be a Westminster University student to train?
No. Everyone is welcome to train whether or not you’re a student.

Do I need to be really fit?
No, but you should expect to be challenged. Most people find that their fitness improves dramatically if they train regularly.

Will I be the only woman?
Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent form of self defence for women, because it provides techniques that allow a smaller person to overcome a much larger opponent. All sessions are mixed gender, and there will usually be a mix of men and women to train with at every session. The Jiu Jitsu Foundation fully supports the #thisgirlcan initiative.

What are the origins of Jiu-Jitsu?
Jiu-Jitsu is originally a Japanese martial art, and was developed by the Samurai over thousands of years in feudal Japan.

What makes Jiu-Jitsu different from other martial arts?
Jiu-Jitsu was the pre-cursor of modern Japanese martial arts; Karate, Judo and Aikido. These were all adapted from Jiu-Jitsu as the sporting aspects of the art. Other martial arts from the orient such as Tae Kwon Do and Kick Boxing are similar to Judo and Karate in that they are sports by nature and so focus on a particular aspect of combat, be it striking or throwing. Jiu-Jitsu is taught as a self-defence system rather than a sport, and so while we teach techniques that may be familiar to practitioners of Judo or Karate, we teach you to use them in very unsporting situations involving (for example) armed assailants, multiple attackers and surprise attacks.

What style of Jiu-Jitsu do you teach?
The style of Jiu-Jitsu taught is called Shorinji Kan Jiu-Jitsu. This style is regulated and co-ordinated by the Jitsu Foundation.

So is it Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
No. Most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu styles teach that since most fights end up wrestling on the floor, groundwork is the most important aspect of self defence. While we agree that groundwork is important and we do teach it, it is not the focus of our training. We teach that it is not always sensible to take a fight to the floor – In a crowded or hostile environment, or if a fight involves weapons or more than one assailant, it is often best to stay on your feet.

What techniques does Jiu-Jitsu involve?
Jiu-Jitsu teaches a broad range of techniques including Strikes, Locks, Throws, Grappling, and Break-Falling. You will learn to defend yourself against single or multiple armed and unarmed attackers, and learn to defend yourself both standing up or on the ground.

Will I get hurt?
It is important to differentiate between ‘pain’ and ‘injury’. A lot of the techniques you will be practicing are intended to be painful – That is what makes Jiu-Jitsu so effective, whereas injuries are never intended and if the techniques are applied correctly, then they shouldn’t result in injury. However, if you do any contact sport for long enough, you will inevitably pick up cuts and bruises and pulled muscles. More serious injuries such as broken bones, joint dislocations and other trauma are less common although they can happen. Every precaution is taken to keep these to a minimum and the emphasis is always on safety. All instructors are first-aid qualified.

What do the belt colours represent?
There are 9 different coloured belts in Jiu-Jitsu, each denoting a level of ability. In order to wear a coloured belt you must pass the grading for that belt. All beginners start as white belts. Brown belts and above are instructors (Sensei).

How soon can I attempt my first grading?
The first grading you will attempt is the yellow belt grading. Typically, you will need to have been training regularly for at least three months before you can grade. The decision whether or not you can attempt any grading lies with your instructor.

What is involved in the gradings?
Gradings are held regionally every three months. Up to dark blue belt, all grades are examined in the same grading and there can be anything between twenty and a hundred candidates at each grading. The examiner at the grading will be a third dan black belt. You will be required to demonstrate all of the techniques you have been taught. The gradings will get harder and require more techniques as the belt gets higher. A typical grading can last anything between three hours and six hours, although the lower grades are likely to be dismissed once their grading is over.

How much do gradings and courses cost?
All Jitsu Foundation one-day courses and Gradings cost around £10-£15.

Do I need to train harder in the build-up for a grading?
Ideally yes. If you normally train only once a week you should definitely consider attending an extra session per week for the final three or four weeks before the grading. If you normally train twice per week, this should be sufficient if you can stick to a twice a week routine, but a third session wouldn’t be a bad idea for the last fortnight or so. The club instructors will be able to advise you on how well you are progressing towards a grading and whether additional sessions are necessary.

How long will it take me to get my black belt?
This depends on the individual, however if you were to attempt every grading for which you were eligible and pass, and also complete all course and teaching requirements it is possible to gain your black belt in five years.

Do I need great strength or agility to do Jiu-Jitsu?
Unlike other martial arts which rely on strength to deliver powerful blows or agility to perform high spinning kicks, Jiu-Jitsu teaches that good technique is more important and more effective, and also requires much less energy. Training in Jiu-Jitsu will improve your strength, agility and also your fitness, but does not rely on these to make the techniques work.

What age group does the club cater for?
Most current students are adults. Juniors aged 14 and over are welcome to attend and younger children may attend at the instructors discretion. Parents of younger children should contact the instructor before bringing their child to a session.

Do I need any equipment?
For your first few weeks, no. After a few weeks you may wish to buy a white training suit, called a gi.

When is a good time to come to my first session?
Now! All sessions are mixed ability with beginners and advanced students training together for at least some of the session. Because the training is ongoing, there are no particular sessions which novices must attend in order to begin training. You also do not need to book in advance. Rather, you can turn up to any session and take part. Your first session is always Free.

Do I need to attend every session?
No. You can train as often as you like. Because the training is incremental you are able to attend as many or as few sessions as you want and you should still make progress. Obviously though, you will progress faster if you attend regularly. If you are unable to attend a particular session then you are welcome to attend training sessions at any of the other Jitsu Foundation clubs in London – your insurance will be valid and the syllabus will be the same.

How many sessions per week should I attend ideally?
Twice a week is a good routine, but it is the routine that is important not the number of sessions. we currently run two sessions per week, and you are welcome to come to any or all of these sessions. We try and encourage people to find a training routine and to stick to it . If you cant make it to both sessions on a particular week then its no problem, but the fact that it is always in your diary for a particular day will make it much more likely that you will come regularly and progress at a good pace. If other commitments mean you can only manage a once a week routine then you should still make good progress so long as you stick to that routine! remember you can make up any sessions you miss another day or at a different club if necessary.