Priit Mihkelson

I talk to Priit Mihkelson, A Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt From Estonia and founder of Defensive BJJ. Priit always has a lot of interesting takes on the teaching, training & traditions of Jiu-Jitsu, and after recently relocating his school, I took the chance to ask him about his thoughts on belt rankings. We have a great conversation about how he has applied them to his Defensive BJJ system and set up his new school. We then move on to the use of hierarchy & titles like Professor and Master and their place in Jiu-Jitsu

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How Priit Mihkelson Teaches His Beginners Class

The beginner’s course that we offer for 10 weeks, with 20 classes. However, we only have two people who have finished it so far. But what we do in this course is teach submissions only. Every class lasts for 1 hour. In the future, we may change the duration to 115 minutes or something like that. The first 10 or 15 minutes of a class is a warm-up. They review what was taught in the previous classes. This helps them remember the techniques and how they are connected. The rest of the class is mostly submissions.

We show them how to use toeholds, tarikoplatas, and knee bars to get submissions. We also teach arm bars, north-south chokes, and leg locks. We do this because people often get into unfamiliar leg lock situations, and they panic. So we show them the positions early, and they become familiar with them and are more controlled. Submissions are important because we want our students to understand the final goal. We teach them how to do nothing and defend and also how to do a lot and escape.

On The Professor & Master Titles In BJJ

We make fun of the situation more because I don’t like the traditional stuff and I don’t like the rigid atmosphere. It’s better to make jokes with each other, talk about even professor, take it a notch higher, make it a joke, even. So we make light of a situation and show our environment that, yes, I know you to more than you if you’re a beginner, because I’ve done it 21 years. But you are not a white belt person and another black belt person. We’re both experts in our own different fields. I have an expert photographer attending my classes. He’s an expert in photography.

I think we should call him professor or Master of Photography, and he should call me something. I also don’t like titles because in classes, it’s confusing for people. That’s why I don’t like belts in Jiu-Jitsu. It puts a white belt on people who are actually black belts in life. And it shows that I’m a black belt and you’re a white belt. In no Gi, it’s different. We just teach Jiu-Jitsu and it’s awesome.

Priit Mihkelson Resources


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