Welcome to the Team



You’ve taken the first step on a journey towards becoming the best possible version of yourself.  Newton (Isaac, not Cam) taught us that a body in motion will stay in motion, just as a body at rest will stay at rest… unless acted upon.  Getting started is often the hardest part, and you should be proud for taking action!

The Pursuit of Mastery, in any field, is a worthwhile endeavor.  We all have at our core a fundamental need to continuously grow, improve, and contribute.  It’s been said that if you aren’t growing, you’re dying.  That’s hyperbole, of course, but there is certainly truth to it; stagnant is a four letter word.  Tony Robbins would say that the secret to a fulfilling life is constant and never-ending personal improvement, and I’d agree.

It’s crucial to never abandon the learning process, at any age.  Learning keeps you in the moment.  It keeps you young.  You could spend your entire life learning the nuances of the Japanese Tea Ceremony and it would not have been a wasted life.  But few things on Earth will give you the profound fulfillment and purpose you’ll experience embracing the Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle.

If you want to go fast, go alone; If you want to go far, go together…

Everyone is at the Academy for different reasons.  Whether you’re here to get into phenomenal shape, learn effective self-defense, become a world champion, or simply surround yourself with motivated and positive people, each student has the same worth inside our Academy and receives the same amount of attention from the instructor.

My dream was to create an academy where students from all walks of life- no matter their goals, abilities or prior training experience- can not only learn, but thrive.  Jiu Jitsu truly is for everyone.  This is a maxim instilled in me by my teacher Professor Ricardo Almeida, and something I’ve dedicated my life to building upon.

At McHugh BJJ, we make certain the 54 year old recreational student has the same transformative training experience in the Basic BJJ Class as the 21 year old competitor does in Advanced Competition Class.  And the culture of our academy reflects this.  Our students understand that their training partner is the most valuable piece of equipment in the world; truly irreplaceable.  We encourage everyone to check their ego at the door, and to remember that “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”  You will not find a safer or more supportive training environment.

A Ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what Ships are for…

You’ve undoubtedly heard someone say, “that’s just how I am.”  Nonsense, you’re human, and are therefore capable of incredible adaptations and growth.  You’re not only capable of living an active, positive, and fulfilling life, you were built for it.  Yes, you!  All you need is the right environment and you can accomplish anything.

Whether it be running a marathon, surviving an Arctic expedition, or enduring a Netflix binge on the couch, your mind, body and spirit will become accustomed to whatever stimulus it’s exposed to regularly.  So be sure your influences are positive ones.

Lasting change is built upon taking action, building momentum, and the compounding of small choices over time.  You’ve taken massive action, now build momentum by showing up and giving it your best.  Our positive learning environment, your incredible teammates, and the transformative power of Jiu Jitsu will keep you on track.

You’re going to learn far more than armlocks and chokes.  Jiu Jitsu teaches us to embrace and overcome challenges, push past our limits, uncover hidden talents, and even retain the spirit of youth.  George Bernard Shaw famously said, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  Get on the mats, invest in the process, and have a blast.

What to Expect…

We all have different abilities.  Some techniques will come to you easily, while others might be more difficult.  That’s ok.  In the very beginning, do your best to understand broad concepts of Jiu Jitsu- like maintaining the top position for example- instead of trying to memorize a series of specific techniques.  Jiu Jitsu is expansive, and our goal for you early on is to learn how to learn!

You’ll find that we are experts at teaching Jiu Jitsu techniques in a beginner-friendly fashion.  We’ll show you the technique, explain why it’s done, and point out common pitfalls or mistakes.  Techniques are broken down into 4 steps, and are demonstrated 3 times before you’re given about 5 minutes to practice with your partner.  It’s important to realize that we are genuinely here to help in every way possible, that there are no stupid questions, and that it’s ok to need a little help.  Just ask!

Our Basic Program follows a 12 week rotating curriculum, which you’ll see 4 times in a year.  Each week will focus on a specific takedown and ground position.  The curriculum adheres to the “hierarchy of position,” meaning it’ll flow in the same steps an actual fight would.  You’ll learn which positions are most dominant, and how to get there.

Get Ready…

Get ready to be surrounded by people who genuinely want to help you succeed.  Your teammates are going to share nutrition tips, exercise protocols, and stretching routines with you.  They’re going to hold you accountable to your goals.

What is your default setting?  Is it to be stressed, or pessimistic, or reactionary?  You can change that.  Jiu Jitsu is a martial art of dynamic problem solving in real-time.  It’s high stakes chess, and will help you learn to better navigate stressful situations both on and off the mat.

Get ready to live the Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle.  You’ll gain flexibility, strength, mobility and endurance.  You’ll find yourself making smarter and healthier decisions; getting more rest, eating cleaner, taking the stairs over the escalator.  You’re going to forge friendships seldom found off the mat.

Some final words of advice…

  • The #1 most valuable piece of advice is this: check your ego at the door!  
  • The instructor is a re-source, not the source.  Never forget that you are most responsible for your own learning!  The instructor can lead you to the mount but he can’t make you choke.  Be eager to actively learn, and receptive to learning from everyone you encounter on the mat.
  • We’re not giving out gold medals!  Basic Class isn’t the UFC, and your training partner isn’t your boss, so don’t take it out on him.  You’ll have certain teammates with whom you’ll naturally go a bit harder, but make sure you know who you’re training with and adjust your approach accordingly.  If you’d like to compete, come to competition class.
  • Learn to navigate the valleys and endure the plateaus of progress.  Jiu Jitsu is a marathon and not a sprint, so don’t beat yourself up.  There will be periods of exponential growth, followed by times where nothing clicks.  At the end of the day, just do your best to enjoy the ride.
  • The secret to success: B.O.M.  Butt on the Mat.  Not surprisingly, there is a direct correlation between mat time and skill development.  Get your butt to class!
  • If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!


A Black Belt is a White Belt who never quit

author: Peter McHugh

Professor Pete McHugh is the owner and Lead Instructor of McHugh BJJ in Mt. laurel NJ. He is a black belt under BJJ & MMA legend Ricardo Almeida.


Leave a reply