BJJ.Org merges with OnTheMat.Com

The time has come for a transition for the web site BJJ.Org.

In 1993, Royce Gracie opened the eyes of the martial arts world (outside of Brazil) to the importance of groundfighting. I began training in the Gracie family's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 1994. My web site for BJJ originally began a decade ago, on January 15, 1996, under the URL On October 1, 1997 I gave the site its own domain, and went live.

In those days, it was hard to find any BJJ instructors in the US (much less elsewhere in the world outside of Brazil). There was a small collection of qualified folks teaching in Los Angeles, but other than that you were lucky if your town had a club run by a blue belt, much less some real black belt available to teach personally.

In the late-1990's, BJJ.Org had a useful niche on the web. Besides interviews and articles with BJJ teachers and fighters, I collected addresses of BJJ academies, belt ranks and lineages of students and instructors, and had a large set of online BJJ techniques with photos and videos. When BJJ was hard to find, many people found that a useful service. Of course, there were a number of academy-specific web sites, but as a place for the art of BJJ as a whole (and in the English language), the BJJ.Org web site had a niche.

The world has changed. Most large US cities (and many international ones) have a BJJ black belt or two teaching there. A school run by a blue belt as the highest rank is rarely an acceptable thing any more in the US. The number of instructors has grown, and the number of students training in the art has exploded.

At the same time, my time and energy has remained constant. BJJ.Org was never a commercial site, never made any money, and never had any staff. It wasn't affiliated with one of the official federations, supported by dues. It was just something I put together as a hobby, since I enjoyed the sport, and knew a bit about web sites.

The combination of my fixed amount of time, with the explosive growth of the art, meant that updates to BJJ.Org have been getting farther and farther behind. (This isn't news to anyone who has tried to update their rank on the site in the last year. Allow me to apologize to all of you.) Worse, I had such a head start with the data I had collected in the past, that there wasn't even really a vacuum that some other site could try to fill in. Instead, it was the worst of both worlds: an established, long-lived web site (and ranked highly in the search engines), with enough data to appear authoritative; yet without updates being processed regularly, it was getting more and more out of date. Rather than being a boon to the BJJ community, as in the early days, it was becoming more of liability.

I spent a long time trying to think of possible solutions. I could just shut the site down, which would be sad, but perhaps someone else would decide to fill the hole that appeared suddenly in the community. I could automate all the data and submissions; but then you run into the problem of a few bad apples out there and lots of spam. (A deliberately erroneous site isn't much better from an out-of-date one.) I could attempt to turn it into a commercial site of some kind, where the income (from ads, or DVDs, etc.) would allow me to afford paid staff to keep the data up to date. None of these options sounded ideal.

And then I was contacted by Gumby, from, with a suggestion that we merge our two sites. After talking through the possibilities with Gumby, this seemed like an ideal arrangement for both our sites, and for the BJJ community as a whole:

  • is a commercial site, with the resources and staff to put energy into maintaining things.

  • They cover MMA and submission grappling also, but have strong roots in the BJJ community.

  • They were already developing a belt database and school database, with both automated submissions and also manual quality control.

  • BJJ.Org was already hosted on their servers, as when I had bandwidth issues some time ago, they immediately stepped up and offered free website hosting and bandwidth for; without their volunteer help, BJJ.Org would have already been offline long ago.

  • And finally, I knew Scotty and Gumby (the founders of from a long time ago, as we all started as BJJ white belts at Ralph Gracie's academy in Mountain View.

It is with pleasure that I thus announce the merger of BJJ.Org and It is a "merger" only in the sense that this was not a financial transaction, but instead one of trust and responsibility. But the future going forward is clear: They have downloaded all the content from, and found a home for it somewhere in They have their own belt and school databases (with automated submissions!), but have populated it with the data I've collected for a decade. From now on, however, all the future work and credit belongs to them. I may be involved for occasional "special projects", but on the whole they are taking over the whole site, and by extension the trust from the community.

I hope the BJJ community has enjoyed the last decade of BJJ.Org. Best of luck to the new, bigger,!


Don Geddis
September 5, 2006


The Academy Database can now be found here:

OTM Academy Database

The Belt Database can be found here:

OTM Belt Database


Great news. Two of the best sites out there.

The belts database is work in progress and being repopulated right now. Because of the time to verify things, update with pictures and biographical information where I can it is taking a long time to do this. Basically I'm starting at 10th degree red belts and working my way down.

The anticipation is that people are going to want to update their own information on the site. Also, as we move down the belt ranks (particularly anything below black) a lot of the information on is out of date, so for brown and below it's probably better to start off from scratch as oppose to try to import the content in.

I wish they wouldn't use Gene Simco's pics for tech demos.

Great idea. What can we do to help repopulate it with accurate info?

You can enter your own info into the belt database here:

You can add your own academy into the academy database here:

If you need something edited or updated that's already in the database, you can e-mail me (It may take me a few days to respond because I am more swamped than usual right now).

Two really important and valuable sites for the ground fighting community. congrats and good luck

Technically anyone can list anyone else. But it has to go through an admin approval process to even get up (me checking things on the back end) and I have a verification system where I plan on checking out the credentials of anyone posting. If they check out, they get an additional graphic on the listing. Basically it be "verified" I'll contact the instructor claimed on the lineage to see if the actually awared the belt or not. Hopefully this can avoid some controvesies as there have been in the past.

I should point that I'm not an official belt verification instition, nor do am I endorsing any particular federation, confederation or the like. I'm keeping it as simple as if so and so claim he was awarded a belt by an instructor, I just need the nod from the instructor to mark it as verified. Otherwise, the entry will remain and not be marked as verified. If the ranking is an outright falsehood, I'll remove it from the database.

hey Gumby can you do me a favor and get my last named spelled correctly on the site? If so email me at

Thank you

As both a computer nerd and a BJJer I had always wanted to do the same thing, but my lack of time always stopped me from even starting, so good to see someone else doing it!

I just went ahead and added my school to the database, all went smoothly.

Then I decided to add myself and just thought I would post some ideas.

I think that once a school has been added, it should appear in a drop down. I.e. you select country (in my case Australia), then all the listed schools for Australia appear. Same thing for Lineage.

Only reason being, that spelling and typos will always happen and you'll end up with innacurate and duplicated data very quickly.

But all in all, very good to see. Congrats!


Also, need to be able to enter State for non-US people. ;)

well, americans often believe that they are the only country on earth

Awesome. Good luck getting all the info working smoothly.

Database thought:

Seems like you wouldn't want the lineage stored as just text, but have some way to store teacher-student relationships.

Right now it would be hard to find out if there are more Carlson students vs Helio students because people are just going to type in their black belt like Royce Gracie instead of Royce Gracie, Helio Gracie, Count Koma.

changing up the database design when this thing gets populated would be a pain.

yes, a good point about setting up the database so u can track how the lineage works, so u can see how it all offshoots off each other like a huge family tree.

otherwise, if u keep it like the way it is, then it wont be very useful, rather, less useful. im not sure about how powerful u need the software to be or complex it needs to be to incorporate the linking of fields

also, a small spelling mistake, u have instructor for the academy database as instuctor, u have missed the "R". just pointing it out

also, i tried to enter a few guys from out academy and it said "cannot process without empty fields"
what does that mean

hey gumby, any reason why when i try to add to the belts database, it says gives me an error. it says i cannot process with empty fields.

also, is it possible to set it up so we can see for example carlos gracie jrs black belts, and the belts that they in turn produced, using a program such as ACCESS could work, but that seems like a lot of work

any direct mail to have my gym added, and to have me readded, i was on but cant find myself here. also i need to get removed from my old gym listing