Welcome to 80/20 BJJ, Perth

Hi, I’m Dion Mendel. I’m passionate about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When I train, I think of nothing else. I am completely in the moment. I am alive.

It’s not just me. Everyone who trains BJJ experiences it. The blood thunders through your veins. Your body twists, arches, stretches. We’re built to move, not sit in a chair. Your mind races, probing, analysing the situation. You see the hint of an opening. Misdirection. A push, a shift, and the opening widens. It’s enough. You take the submission. Tap.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling based ground combat sport. It is one of the world’s fastest growing sports. Exposure by Mixed Martial Arts contests, such as the UFC, has fuelled this popularity but the real reason for its success is that it fulfils the physical and psychological needs that aren’t being met in the rest of our lives. All children grapple with each other. Their joy as they do this is obvious. As adults, we are self restrained, serious and dignified. Our bodies are stiff and immobile. BJJ allows us to regain our suppleness, our fluidity. There is joy in being able to move smoothly and freely.

You don’t need to be especially fit or have prior experience to begin BJJ. This is probably its biggest drawing point. BJJ is a personalised journey. We all have different body types but the same goal. Finding our own path is what makes it fun.

Okay, enough fluff. What is BJJ really like?

Marcelo Garcia vs Alexandre Ferreira

My idol Marcelo Garcia defeats Alexandre "Cacareco" Ferreira via RNC in the absolute division at the 2007 ADCC.

You. Your opponent. The mat. You attempt to make him submit via a choke or joint lock. He’s trying to do the same to you. It’s safe. Tapping signifies that you submit and accept the loss. There are rules so no-one gets hurt; we all need to be able to work the next day. The goal is to make your opponent submit. There is no striking or hurting your opponent.

It’s physically hard. You will use muscles you don’t normally use. You will be twisted into positions you’ve never before imagined. You will sweat. A lot. And you will tap many times. Each time you tap, it means you give up, that you’re not as good as you thought you were. This will hurt your ego. Maybe you are emotionally tough enough to accept this, maybe not. Many people aren’t.

Eventually you will tap less. One day you will get your first tap on somebody better than you. This may take months. BJJ is difficult, especially in the beginning. You will notice that you’ve become stronger, fitter, more agile. Perhaps your diet has improved. You feel good, confident, perhaps cocky.

And then it happens. Someone you used to easily submit starts submitting you. At first it’s once or twice but it increases. Soon she’s submitting you with ease. Yes she. Your ego plummets. BJJ is a physically tough sport but it can be even tougher emotionally. However, it is incredibly rewarding. It builds you into a stronger, more resilient person — physically, mentally and emotionally.

Come try a free class at our Midland gym. You’ll find it the friendliest gym for BJJ in Perth.