Columbia University Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art focused on control and submission. Through a strong foundation based on positional hierarchy and body mechanics, it is designed to be the best means of gaining and maintaining control over a resisting opponent, while exposing opportunities for counter-attack.

Combining the use of throws, takedowns, joint locks, chokes, and refined core body movement, the BJJ practitioner learns how to escape from an inferior position into a dominant one, with the ultimate goal of controlling and submitting his or her opponent.

Rooted in self-defense, BJJ has also grown to become a foundational art for mixed martial arts and competitive sport grappling. It′s a lot of fun, great exercise, useful for self-defense, and an awesome way to challenge yourself and learn new things!

What makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu different?

Simply put, the vast majority of aggressive physical encounters end up on the ground. With its heavy emphasis on escape, positional control, and counter-attack, BJJ is unquestionably the most effective form of ground-fighting in the world.

While many other martial arts demonstrate techniques which are meant to be practiced in isolation, with minimal-to-no contact with a fully-resisting opponent, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is built around the idea that in order to truly understand and refine a technique, one must test it honestly against resistance. There is no magic; nothing is just for show.

We feel that it is of vital importance that students trust in the techniques they are using. Live training is a key component of BJJ and new practitioners will be testing their techniques against resisting opponents from their first day onward.

Our Club

The Columbia University Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club is one of the oldest collegiate clubs in the world. Founded in the late Nineties, it has been home to thousands of students looking to stay safe, get in shape, and make new friends.

The club’s instructors provide a curriculum which emphasizes fundamental, universal concepts of submission and control, while also exploring cutting-edge developments in modern sport techniques.

Our club is dedicated to preserving a safe and friendly atmosphere. A positive attitude and willingness to learn are all that are required to train with us! We welcome beginners, the experienced, and those who are simply curious to know what this is all about.

Jason Yang

Jason began training in 2000 when the Columbia club was only a few members who were lucky enough to be taught by Matt Serra. (Matt Serra would later become the UFC Welterweight Champion.) Jason started taking classes at Renzo Gracie Academy and took over teaching the Columbia club in 2002. Now a black belt, he has racked up an impressive tournament record and regularly teaches classes at the main branch of the Renzo Gracie Academy.

He brings to the club a wealth of technical knowledge and the experience that comes with routinely training with some of the best grapplers in the world.

Andrius Schmid

An advanced student of John Danaher (the grappling coach for numerous UFC fighters, including Georges St. Pierre and Chris Weidman), Andrius trains at the prestigious Renzo Gracie Academy in Midtown Manhattan. He has twenty years of significant martial arts experience, the last ten exclusively in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also holds 3rd-degree Black Belts in Okinawan Karate (Shorin-ryu) and Traditional Jujutsu.

Andrius has taught martial arts for fifteen years, both domestically and abroad, and since 2009 has served as co-instructor of the Columbia University BJJ Club. Known for a teaching approach which is rich in conceptual detail, he is able to tailor his instruction to a variety of learning styles and skill levels.

To join the club simply attend one of our regular sessions and speak with an officer. You may join at any time during the semester. No prior martial arts experience is required.

Although aspects of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu curriculum are cumulative, each lesson is designed to be self-contained. Consistent attendance is encouraged in order to progress quickly, but many members attend once or twice a week, as their class or work schedules permit.

Club benefits include:

  • Up to seven hours per week of in-class training and high-level instruction. Free admission once or twice each year to a CUBJJ-hosted seminar featuring world-renowned instructors.
  • Special off-schedule training opportunities for advanced students.
  • Subsidized tournament competition and spectator fees.
  • Numerous free screenings of UFC and top-tier grappling tournaments, accompanied by free food.
  • Substantially discounted training opportunities at the world-famous Renzo Gracie Academy.

Membership Requirements:

No experience is necessary. Membership dues are $100 per semester. Your first week trial period is free. All participants must have a valid Dodge Fitness Center membership and sign a waiver in order to train.

Shorts and a t-shirt are fine to train in. Some classes throughout the semester will be taught with a uniform, called a gi, but it is perfectly acceptable to participate without one. Most students tend to obtain a gi by the end of the semester, but they are not required for club participation. For more details, see the Gear page.

Please Note: This sport can be physically demanding. If you have a disability or medical condition that you think might affect your ability to train, be sure to speak with one of the club instructors prior to your first lesson.

Equipment for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Training

One of the nice things about training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that you don't need to spend a small fortune on equipment and training gear. Nonetheless, a few items will be necessary to ensure your safety and comfort while training.

Starting Out

If you're brand new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, all you need to wear are some comfortable workout clothes. A t-shirt and a pair of shorts will be fine for your first few classes. Avoid anything too loose; baggy clothing can sometimes get caught while you're training.

Please Note: BJJ is a close-contact grappling sport. As such, we expect all members to preserve good personal hygiene; keep your nails trimmed and gear/uniforms washed regularly, please.

No-Gi Classes

The majority of classes each semester will focus on training without the traditional Jiu-Jitsu uniform, commonly referred to by the Japanese terms gi or kimono. For these classes, you will need the following items which can be purchased at nearly all sporting goods stores, department stores, or online:

  • T-Shirt or Rashguard: A t-shirt that's not too loose is fine, but most BJJ practitioners find they prefer to wear a compression shirt (also known as a rashguard). Rashguards are form-fitting and wick moisture from your body.
  • Shorts or Gi Pants: Board shorts or fight shorts are the most preferable for no-gi training, although the pants from a martial arts gi may also be worn. Some men and women prefer to wear compression shorts or full spandex leggings.

Gi Classes

Some of the classes each semester will focus on training with the traditional Jiu-Jitsu Uniform, commonly referred to by the Japanese terms Gi or Kimono. Although a gi is not required, it is preferable for these classes:

  • BJJ Gi: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with the kimono places significant emphasis on grasping the cloth of your training partner's uniform, so durability is a factor. If you have a gi from another martial art, you're welcome to bring it along to start, but unless it's a Judo gi, chances are good you'll need something stronger before long.
  • Both BJJ and Judo gi are made in a variety of weaves and thicknesses and are designed to withstand the rigors of these sports. There is a growing variety of gi types available for purchase at a range of prices. Starting out in Jiu-Jitsu, it's recommended that you get something well-made, but not exceptionally expensive. White or blue gi are the most traditional colors and the best to start with.
  • Choice of gi is a largely personal one, based on style, fit, and cost. Advice on which ones to buy may be asked in class or on the Facebook Group. Online purchases offer the best selection and prices, by far. We often recommend checking out BJJHQ, a deal-a-day site that has regular offers on Jiu-Jitsu gi and other gear.

Recommended and Optional Equipment

The following equipment is optional, yet encouraged:

  • Jockstrap with Cup: One of the most important additional items. Even though there is no striking in competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, accidents happen and it's best to be prepared. Not all BJJ practitioners opt to wear jockstraps, but we encourage it. Tighter-fitting is preferred here in order to prevent much shifting while training.
  • Mouthguard: Another important option, for the same reasons as listed above. There are a number of styles available for a range of prices. Be sure to follow the instructions closely when fitting for your mouth.
  • Protective Earwear: A small percentage of BJJ practitioners find that the friction inherent to the sport can cause pain and eventual swelling to their ears. For most people, this won't be a problem; but for anyone with sensitive ears, we recommend headgear specific for grapplers. If you start feeling pain in your ears, speak with an instructor to see if headgear might be the right option for you.

2015-2016 Schedule:

Mondays and Wednesdays

7:00 - 9:00 p.m.


4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Training sessions are held in the wrestling room, 2nd floor of Dodge Physical Fitness Center

Attendance at all meetings is not required. Each lesson is self-contained, more or less; come as often or as little as you like. Many of our members attend only one or two classes a week as their schedules permit. Late arrivals are fine as well. Some training is better than no training!

We are a highly social and interactive club. The vast majority of our communication and conversation is done during class-time or through our Facebook Group.

Feel free to reach out via email at ColumbiaUnivBJJ [at] gmail [dot] com

Get in shape · Stay safe · Make friends · Gain discipline