At the Academy for Body Efficient Tactical Arts (BETA Academy), we teach a comprehensive grappling system. In addition to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which serves as the core of the BETA Curriculum, effective techniques have been adopted from other grappling arts such as Wrestling, Sombo, and Judo. The integration of selected techniques into the BETA program exposes our students to a number of different grappling situations and techniques, ultimately making them well-rounded martial artists.

Washington DC Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu Class Photo

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu focuses on submitting opponents without using strikes. Time-tested training methods allow students to practice with full speed and power, akin to the effort used in a real competition, while nearly eliminating the risk of injury. At BETA Academy, we encourage respectful free sparring (or rolling) against fellow students and instructors. This provides students with the opportunity to test and develop their skills in submission under realistic conditions, while minimizing the risk of injury. Other training methods include technique drills, in which techniques are practiced against a non-resisting partner, and isolation sparring, where only a certain technique or sets of techniques are used against full resistance.

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BETA Academy now proudly offers integrated Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu classes for both men and women. When confronted by an assailant, most women find themselves forced to the ground, the area of combat most often neglected by traditional self-defense courses. In these training sessions, women learn to defend themselves on the ground, using the battle- tested methods of BJJ that enable a smaller, weaker person to defeat a larger, more powerful attacker. Women are encouraged to participate in BETA Academy’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes so that female practitioners may become empowered to defend themselves and escape real-life martial confrontations, all the while getting a great workout.

Originally launching as a Women’s only Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program, several women have now joined the integrated BETA Academy Competition Team and competed in several tournaments. Hear about their experiences competing at a US Grappling Tournament

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Photo of Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu Instructtion in Washington DC

To prepare for tournaments, BETA Academy offers special training sessions for students who wish to compete in sport Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Submission Wrestling tournaments. In these classes, offered exclusively to members of the BJJ Competition Team, students learn techniques and strategies with the purpose of dominating competitions. We also tap into the wide network of BETA Academy affiliate academies to participate in the Team Leo Dalla competition training sessions and open mats. This provides our students with the opportunity to further hone their skills. See video footage of some of our competitors at the Cope Nova Fall 2010 Championships here.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) took root in Kodokan Judo of Japan and then spread to Brazil via the teachings of Mitsuyo Maeda, or “Count Coma.” Through a series of vale tudo matches (the predecessors of modern MMA), the legendary Gracie family developed and refined the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ came to international prominence among the martial arts community in the 1990s, when Royce Gracie won several Ultimate Fighting Championships using BJJ against much larger opponents who practiced other styles of fighting, including boxing, karate, judo, tae kwon do and wrestling. BJJ has since become a staple art for the large majority of MMA fighters and is widely credited for bringing attention to the importance of ground fighting to any self-defense methodology.

After being tested in many arenas, Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu has continuously evolved into the most sophisticated and effective ground grappling style. It focuses on gaining a dominant position over an opponent on the ground and then using joint-locks and chokeholds to force him or her into submission.
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Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu offers a wide variety of effectual techniques to take opponents to the ground. Once the opponent is on the ground, a number of BJJ maneuvers (and counter-maneuvers) can be utilized to manipulate the opponent into a favorable position before a submission technique is applied. Obtaining a dominant position on the ground is achieved with the use of the guard to defend oneself in bottom positions, and passing the guard to dominate from the top position with side control, mount, and back mount positions. To defeat the opponent from these dominant positions, submission holds are applied, including joint-locks (isolating a particular joint and leveraging it in an attempt to force the joint to move past its normal range of motion) and chokeholds (using leverage to compress the airway or interfere with the flow of blood in the neck).

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is practiced not only by MMA competitors but by people of all walks of life. This is because it allows a smaller, weaker person to successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant using leverage and proper technique. Most of the advantages that come from superior reach and more powerful strikes when standing are negated when grappling on the ground. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is thus recommended for women who want to learn how to defend themselves, as they are most likely to be taken to the ground if assaulted.

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  • Do I need a uniform to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

For the first few classes, students only need to wear comfortable clothes such as a T-shirt and sweat pants. Eventually students will need to purchase a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Uniform, also known as a Gi. BETA Academy offers uniforms for sale at the academy store.

  • Do you teach no-gi grappling?

We do teach no-gi grappling, also known as submission grappling, and encourage our students to take an interest in learning techniques both with and without the Gi. Once our students learn the basics using the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi, we transition to techniques that do not require the use of a uniform.

  • Are there belt ranks in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Traditionally, there are five belt ranks in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black. BETA Academy uses this traditional ranking system.

  • How long does it take to earn a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Earning a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not easy and the length of time depends entirely on the student. Successfully winning competitions can, in some instances, reduce the time it takes to earn a black belt. Although achieving the rank of black belt is a great accomplishment, students should focus more on learning art and less on the color of the belt.
Women Learn Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu at BETA Academy in Washington DC

  • What is the difference between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

There is no difference; Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The Gracie family is the Brazilian family who created the Martial Art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The fighting system that this family originally developed in Brazil is now taught around the world. The name Gracie Jiu-Jitsu credits the art’s Japanese roots while recognizing the family responsible for revolutionizing the art.

  • What if I have practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu before?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and students of all levels and martial arts backgrounds are welcome to join our academy. If you have prior grappling experience, an instructor will assess your level and place you in the appropriate class.

  • How often should I practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a complex art and students are encouraged to train a minimum of two hours per week. Free sparring is key to effectively applying the techniques learned in class so it is recommended that our students spar as much as possible.