What is American Jiu Jitsu? AJJ vs BJJ

What is American Jiu Jitsu? AJJ vs BJJ

Inside the Jiu Jitsu global, there is always some type of vigorous controversy surrounding new varieties or ways. Closed guard vs open guard, Gi vs No-Gi, and recreation vs self-defense are only some examples.

The latest scorching topic involves Keenan Cornelius and the branding of the martial paintings that he’s calling American Jiu Jitsu, or AJJ. This switch thru Keenan won slightly a bit of bit of heat with him from one of the crucial a very powerful Brazilians throughout the BJJ staff. It has moreover presented up many questions.

What exactly is American Jiu Jitsu, and is it different from typical Jiu Jitsu? I’ll cover all of this, in conjunction with a breakdown of the drama with Keenan and why he started this.

Jiu Jitsu and its Brazilian Roots

While you call to mind Jiu Jitsu, you almost certainly in an instant call to mind Brazil. It is the position the martial paintings blossomed (after being brought to Brazil from Japan), and where the core of the ways used to be as soon as complex beneath Mitsuyo Maeda and the Gracie family.

Different forms of Jiu Jitsu have complex the world over, then again they all will also be traced once more to Brazil. Because of this some practitioners have taken umbrage with Keenan’s comments about his style of Jiu Jitsu and the debatable name he provides it.

The latest battle between practitioners arguing the validity of AJJ vs BJJ isn’t anything else new throughout the martial paintings. Throughout Jiu Jitsu’s history, there have been quite a lot of disputes over ways, varieties, and even the validity of the martial paintings. Fight inside Jiu Jitsu isn’t anything else new.

What Does AJJ Suggest?

AJJ stands for American Jiu Jitsu. A handful of grapplers have used this period of time to provide an explanation for their style of Jiu Jitsu. Inside of the rest year, the period of time has been thrown spherical further creating a debate between some Jiu Jitsu practitioners.

The central theme of the debate is: should American Jiu Jitsu be considered a sound style, or is it merely branding to inform aside itself?

When used to be as soon as the period of time AJJ first used?

Keenan wasn’t in reality the principle person to use the period of time “American Jiu Jitsu.” The period of time has in reality been used slightly a bit of bit forward of he started using it. I’ll degree to 2 explicit events it used to be as soon as used.

  1. American Jiu Jitsu Self Coverage Program at MIT
  2. Jake Shields

AJJ Self Coverage Program at MIT

Since 1994, MIT has presented a self protection program to students known as American Jiu Jitsu. While the description on their site sounds pretty similar to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

We be told and observe Jiu-Jitsu (jujutsu, ju-jitsu), or the “Refined Art work,” consisting of a wide variety of ways: joint locks, submission holds, throws, strikes, weapons use and unarmed weapon coverage (gun, knife, blunt weapons), and ground-defense.

– The American Jiu-Jitsu Club at MIT

I in reality spoke to Jeffrey Cohe, one of the crucial necessary Club’s people at MIT, and he let me know that their club has no relation to BJJ or MMA. They consider it unrelated to these forms of martial arts.

And of course, this club is most simple open to students of MIT, so it doesn’t really matter to the 99.9999% of practitioners. But it surely does show that the period of time AJJ has been thrown spherical for slightly a while.

Jake Shields and AJJ

Previous to Keenan started using the period of time American Jiu Jitsu, MMA and BJJ athlete Jake Shields used AJJ describe his style. Like Keenan, Jake claims his style is an “Americanized” style of Jiu Jitsu that blends typical BJJ with American wrestling.

No person in the neighborhood really took offense to Shields calling his style AJJ. In the end, Keenan is further outspoken and there are multiple reasons he started using this period of time for his BJJ style.

Let’s dig into the details of this AJJ vs BJJ controversy.

Keenan Cornelius and his new academy, Legion AJJ

In mid-2019, Keenan Cornelius left the well known Atos academy in San Diego on account of having a falling out with head instructor Andre Galvao. After atmosphere except Atos BJJ, Keenan used to be as soon as on his private for some time. He wasn’t positive if he wanted to train at a brand spanking new academy or open up his private.

By the use of the highest of 2019, Keenan had made up his ideas and determined to open up his new 10,000 sq. foot academy known as Legion American Jiu Jitsu. Keenan already used to be as soon as on thin ice with one of the crucial a very powerful remarkable Brazilian figures in BJJ, and using the period of time “American Jiu Jitsu” disenchanted quite a lot of people in the neighborhood.

Many Brazilians felt it used to be as soon as disrespecting typical Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Keenan to use this name. Keenan used to be as soon as moreover going spherical making comments like this one at the Matburn podcast, that enraged out of date BJJ practitioners:

In case you occur to mention the remaining about Helio or Rickson, like if you happen to say that their Jiu-Jitsu wasn’t good. People might be like “are you kidding me? Rickson is the most productive black belt of all time”.

I get that you want to show respect to pioneers who were given right here forward of you then again their Jiu-Jitsu used to be as soon as definitely not as good as it is in recent years. Their level used to be all over again than most probably tricky pink belt level…

– Keenan Cornelius on the Matburn podcast

Now, I don’t think Keenan in reality meant any disrespect proper right here. To Keenan, he used to be as soon as merely bringing up a truth about his style of Jiu Jitsu. He created the pc virus guard and he’s American, so it’s an American style of Jiu Jitsu. Like each sports activities actions, Jiu Jitsu has stepped ahead briefly over the years. It’s not honest to test the most efficient athletes of one generation with the most efficient of some other.

That discussed, his choice of words used to be as soon as poor (I believe he would admit this), they generally royally pissed off the Brazilian guard. This is one specifically antagonistic commentary in opposition to Keenan on Instagram that BJJ Scout posted in BJJ Digest 120 about American Jiu Jitsu:

The explanation why Keenan Created Legion AJJ

In my eyes, there are 3 primary the reason why Keenan opened his private faculty and started using the period of time American Jiu Jitsu:

  1. Branding
  2. Creativity
  3. Uniting American Jiu Jitsu athletes


As Keenan has started a brand spanking new trade, he is trying to inform aside himself from other BJJ schools. The varsity is positioned in San Diego, which is a the town recognized for having the most efficient BJJ schools on the planet. By the use of calling the college Legion American Jiu Jitsu it seems like he is offering something different.

In a Jiu Jitsu the town like San Diego, you need something to stand out. There are such a large amount of black belts in San Diego, and over 100 academies. Pronouncing his faculty supplies American Jiu Jitsu is a great way to get people talking about his fitness center.

It positive turns out to have worked, as Legion’s mats are one of the crucial a very powerful busiest in all of San Diego less than a year after opening. Legion AJJ’s Sunday open mat is incredibly in taste and is frequented thru high profile athletes from around the country.


As a student in any person else’s academy, Keenan felt like his creativity used to be as soon as being limited. He had to go thru any person else’s laws (Professor Galvao’s) and teach the ways the trainer wanted. With the level of grappler and type of person Keenan is, it wasn’t the easiest environment for him.

This used to be as soon as the necessary reasons why he wanted to start out out Legion AJJ. He wanted to have a place where he used to be as soon as unfastened to be inventive and expand his Jiu Jitsu. Keenan moreover wanted a place to let other grapplers be inventive and have the same opinion them expand their talents.

Keenan has a particularly unique style of Jiu Jitsu that didn’t always take a seat down smartly with Jiu Jitsu’s royalty. Since leaving Atos, it’s clear there is however force between him and Andre Galvao. Professor Galvao has even introduced some YouTube instructionals like “The Highest Guard Cross Against The Lapel Guard” that are clearly meant to throw color Keenan’s means.

Unite American Jiu Jitsu Athletes

Keenan notes that the best American Jiu Jitsu athletes are spread out across the country, maximum often training beneath Brazilian instructors. Every so often with language boundaries and cultural diversifications, it’s laborious for the ones athletes to get the strengthen they would like.

I’m going to check out to hunt out the scattered Americans around the world, and pull them together to form the Avengers.

-Keenan Cornelius on Flograpping (Would possibly 10, 2019)

At Legion AJJ, he needs to give American athletes the danger to train with an elite American instructor. This fashion, there received’t be any language or cultural boundaries for them to explain ways and understand each other upper.

Keenan is also an expert marketer and promoter. There isn’t a ton of money in Jiu Jitsu, and he’s conscious about that if he can assemble rivalries and offers Jiu Jitsu tournaments further of an Olympics truly really feel where there is national excitement, he will building up passion throughout the recreation. It’s a an equivalent then again a lot much less douchey and over-the-top method to BJJ athlete Gordon Ryan‘s promotional techniques.

Since launching Legion AJJ, Keenan has attracted top BJJ athletes to his team of workers like Andris Brunovskis and Darin Conner DeAngelis.

The American Jiu Jitsu Syndicate

Excluding for Keenan’s American Jiu Jitsu faculty, there are a few other academies that simply in recent years formed a host known as the AJJ Syndicate.

The Syndicates function is to build global class champions on the mat, in conjunction with construction global class people off the mat… The vision of the Syndicate is to unite the American Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and assemble one of the crucial necessary highest pageant teams on the planet.

– The American Jiu Jitsu Syndicate

The academies involved include some huge names, like embellished black belt Tanner “The Ginger” Rice and ADCC competitor Eliot Kelly.

Draculino weighs in on BJJ vs AJJ

One person specifically that spoke out on this topic used to be as soon as Clutch Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes. He is a fifth degree black belt and Gracie Barra instructor that is the head of GB schools in Texas.

Draculino used to be as soon as interviewed thru BJJ Europe on quite a lot of topics, one in every of which used to be as soon as the BJJ vs AJJ construction that had been debated for the rest year.

Well, there is no American, Brazilian, Japanese, Russian, Planet or any other name. THERE IS ONLY JIU JITSU! If the ones people don’t know, until the paintings exploded in the us, BRAZIL, Europe, Japan and other places the paintings used to be as soon as known as Ju Jitsu or Jiu-Jitsu. It used to be as soon as in HERE, im the us, that people started to emblem it that means. Once more in BRAZIL, we not at all discussed we observe JIU-JITSU BRASILEIRO. It used to be as soon as Jiu-Jitsu. Period.”

– Clutch Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes

Seems like a ravishing inexpensive take to me.

Is this debate So much Ado About Now not anything else?

The comments from Draculino type of smashed the entire BJJ vs AJJ debate. For Draculino it is all Jiu Jitsu and it doesn’t matter what you identify it at the end of the day it is all Jiu Jitsu.

A large number of people truly really feel this manner moreover and aren’t thru Keenan calling his style “American Jiu Jitsu.” At the end of the day it is all Jiu Jitsu and comes from the an identical place.

Was once Keenan being disrespectful thru using the name “American Jiu Jitsu?” Totally not.

You’ll now to not to find a person further passionate and in love with the paintings of Jiu Jitsu than Keenan Cornelius. He has trustworthy his existence to learning and instructing Jiu Jitsu and is always having a look to invent new ways. Sure he has different opinions than traditionalists throughout the martial paintings, then again that incorporates every new technology.

Like most debates inside BJJ, this one used to be as soon as blown means out of proportion. A few people on the web took offense to Keenan using the period of time “American Jiu Jitsu” and that’s about it. The majority of the Jiu Jitsu staff didn’t care what Keenan known as his academy, and welcomed to its opening.

At the end of the day, it is all Jiu Jitsu. Keenan is without doubt one of the highest grapplers on the planet, and having his private academy provides him the danger to expand his inventive style. This is not most simple a chance for him, then again for various practitioners that share an equivalent philosophies and want to toughen their video video games.

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