Life of jiu jitsu

Bruno Lima

Photo by Cathy Wagner

Bruno Lima, owner of Bruno Lima Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, has been involved in martial arts his whole life, starting with judo at just 5 years old. Growing up in a tough neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, his parents encouraged his interest, which shifted toward jiu jitsu when he realized one didn’t have to be big and strong to be successful at it. This year, Lima celebrates two decades since first stepping onto the jiu jitsu mat in 1998. Lima came to the United States, to Stockton, in 2010 to assist in training UFC fighters. During his six months there, he attended a seminar in Chico and he was invited to teach jiu jitsu in Chico for a summer after that. Lima never looked back. In 2012, he opened his own gym specializing in Brazilian jiu jitsu—“a high intensity grappling martial art that uses leverage and technique to overcome larger, stronger opponents.” Next month he’ll host his second annual seminar with Beatriz Mesquita, a longtime friend and seven-time world jiu jitsu champion, with two separate events—June 9 is for women and girls and June 10 is open to all. Lima offers a variety of classes for kids, women and men. Check out his website ( for more information or stop into the gym at 2145 Park Ave., Ste. 1, for a free week trial membership.

Why jiu jitsu?

Jiu jitsu is a kind of lifestyle. When you start and really like it, you can’t live without it anymore. You change your life, your whole life, so you can do jiu jitsu; your nutrition, how you take care of your body, the friendship aspect you learn from doing jiu jitsu changes you, changes your whole life. The people I have here have been here for a long time and they come like two or three or five days a week.

Why a special day for just girls and women?

I want to try and build a jiu jitsu girls community here in town. With jiu jitsu, it doesn’t matter if you’re strong or not; it’s all about technique. If a girl learns jiu jitsu, she knows she’s gonna use techniques so she can escape or do something so she can be safe and move away. That’s important, very important for me, and for the girls I train. If you come to my class, you will see girls like 5 years old using technique to dominate boys that are bigger or older and you’re gonna say, “Damn, that’s amazing what you’re doing!”

But your gym is open to everyone, right?

Now I’m focusing on girls and women, but I have college students, I have everybody. If you come in here, you’re gonna see a gym where everybody’s welcome. Building a community was my focus when I opened the gym …. How are you gonna do that? You need to focus on the basic. What’s the basic? Kids. Focus on the kids, because if you teach the kid, he’s gonna be a better person when he gets to be an adult, so let’s focus on the kids right now.