Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu is a Japanese term that translates to "The Yielding Method" or, the "Gentle Technique." The martial art began as the practice of unarmed combat designed for use on the battlefield by the Japanese Samurai in the desperate situation of loosing a weapon or fighting at very close range. The Samurai armor, designed to protect against weapons, made the "hard" martial arts that emphasized striking much less effective. The "soft" martial art of Jiu Jitsu emphasized joint locks and throws that remained effective even against an armored adversary.

The art was systematized and transmitted in various ways by different Ryus (martial arts schools) around Japan. As Japan was forced into trade relations with foreign powers during the 19th century, it began to "modernize" its culture, an effort that resulted in the formal abolishment of the Samurai as a class. Born during this era of social upheaval, Jigoro Kano traveled around Japan studying at various schools and under the sequential tutelage of various masters of Jiu Jitsu. He synthesized the arts he had learned into Judo, an art that he would spend his life teaching and spreading around the world. He eventually managed to get it included in the Olympic games, where the sport of Judo continues to be contested to this day.

In the early 20th century, ambassadors of Judo traveled around the world, including to Brazil. One judoka in particular, Mitsuyo Maeda, had a profound influence on the Gracie family. The Gracies developed a style that would emphasize the Ne Waza, or ground techniques of Judo. This style would come to be known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where it gained international attention for being a martial arts style that consistently outperformed other traditional martial arts in the mixed martial arts tournaments that began to be held at the end of the 20th century, most notably the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Its distinctive submission grappling style became a cornerstone of Mixed Martial Arts, alongside wrestling and the striking arts.

Rodrigo Vaghi, an instructor at the original Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in Brazil, began teaching the art in St. Louis in 1996. The art has since spread around the city, with various schools and affiliations opening up over the decades. It has been heavily influenced by the folkstyle wrestling already popular in the area, and is today often practiced without the Gi jacket, and with an emphasis on leg attacks that were frowned upon in the traditional Brazilian art. This has leg to the development of "American" Jiu Jitsu, a revival of the old catch wrestling style that was popular among the travelling circuses and carnivals across the country.

Nomad Jiu Jitsu is proud to carry on and acknowledge the traditions and influences of all these arts, and to keep the art "alive" by incorporating high percentage techniques from modern competitions and while encouraging people to develop and refine existing techniques with an open mind and an attitude of discovery and exploration. Be a part of the story: come and train with us!


Nomad Jiu Jitsu began as an informal group of training partners who practiced at different schools and dropped in at welcoming clubs. We would meet in garages, basements, and attics to train. Our desire to get in extra rounds of rolling, drill new techniques from video instructionals, explore different situations we would find ourselves in during our regular training, and hang out with friends led us to deciding to opening up a studio space dedicated to pursuing our interests. It offered us the opportunity to have a less political, more welcoming, and physically cleaner place to train. We opened our studio in the summer of 2023.

Nomad has no traditional affiliation structure. We vibe with the BJJ Globetrotters ethos of offering a safe and welcoming training environment to anyone who wants to train regardless of affiliation. You are always free to train at other clubs, and we do not discriminate against club patches, gi colors, or practitioners of similar sports. If you are a safe and hygienic training partner, you are welcome to train at our club.


Check back soon as we update the profiles of our coaches who are offering classes at the studio!

Interested in coaching? Contact us and share your martial arts resume for us to review and we'll discuss available opportunities.

South Grand Business District

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