Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
About the program
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a combat and sport martial art that stresses ground fighting on the assumption that "all fights eventually go to the ground." Its core principles of leverage, conservation of effort, and realistic training have made BJJ the fastest growing martial art in the world. It is a core skill for any mixed-martial artist, and an exceptional defensive system for people of all size, body type, and age.
Using specific techniques, concepts, and systems of movement in a ground fight, any man or woman may defeat a much larger, stronger opponent, and in a manner that allows him or her to completely control the severity of damage inflicted. A BJJ practitioner may, in fact, using positioning, chokes and submission holds, completely defeat an adversary without inflicting any physical harm at all.
BJJ is the only combat martial art that can be safely practiced at full speed and full strength, using the same techniques that one might employ in a real-life situation. For this reason it is the most effective single martial art for self-defense, and also delivers an incredible cardio workout in every class.
Our Yamasaki BJJ program in Springfield is the core of our Academy. One of the first programs in the Mid-Atlantic, our classes are routinely attended by a large number of upper-belt students (brown and purple), and you will be instructed by one of the most well-known and respected black belts in the world.
While both BJJ and Yamasaki Academy come from a Japanese heritage, our Brazilian legacy enjoys a more laid-back attitude, and so the program is family-friendly, safe, and appropriate for kids, teenagers, men and women of all levels of skill and conditioning.
Francisco Neto
Neto was born in 1979 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His training in the Martial Arts began at the early age of three with Judo under the guidance of Shigueto Yamasaki, Mario and Fernando Yamasaki’s uncle.
Neto started competing when he was only seven and began his start as an assistant instructor at 13. As a competitor, Neto won titles as State Champion, National Champion, South American Champion, North American Champion and many others, also placing 2nd and 3rd in dozens more. Neto was a member of the Brazilian National Team of Wrestling, Judo and JJIF Jiu-Jutsu.

Neto began training in Jiu-Jitsu in 1991 under Fernando Yamasaki. When he moved to the Washington D.C. area in October 1999, Neto began teaching full-time at the Yamasaki Academy with Mario. Shortly after his arrival in the United States, he had the first “super fight” that Grapplers Quest ever had in the country against Renzo Gracie’s Matt Serra. He has also fought well-known opponents such as Nova Uniao’s B.J. Penn and Relson Gracie’s Steve Maxwell.

Neto’s goal at the Yamasaki Academy is to pass on all that he has learned as a competitor and as a teacher to the students of the Yamasaki family! Neto currently holds the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and 3rd Dan in Judo.

Fernando Yamasaki
Fernando was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the second son of Judo Grand Master Shigeru Yamasaki. He trained in Judo as soon as he could walk, and joined a long line of distinguished Yamasaki martial artists, including his father, Uncle Shigueto, brother Mario, and cousin Shigueto, Jr.
Fernando grew up as a decorated Brazilian judoka and wrestler, earning his Judo black belt in 1983, and winning numerous national titles in Greco-roman and free-style wrestling between 1985 and 1997. He qualified for the Olympics three times.
Also in the late 80's, Fernando trained extensively in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Otavio de Almeida, and Marcelo Behring, in the line of Master Rickson Gracie. He received his black belt from Marcelo in 1991. He is now an important figure in BJJ in Brazil, the United States, and internationally, and is highly respected among the various federations and organizations, including the UFC.
Today, Fernando is the head instructor for the entirety of Yamasaki Academy. His skill, gregariousness, and contagious passion are the glue that binds our locations together.
How to join
You can be confident that we have met and trained with hundreds of uncertain newcomers, including every one of our current students. Our instructors and students are not interested in hurting anyone, or proving anything about our art, but rather sharing our dedication to this unique sport. Hopefully, we'll show you enough about our discipline, classes, students, and academy to convince you to join us.
  1. Contact Neto so he can arrange the best day for you to come in, and/or let other instructors know in advance to expect you.
  2. If you prefer to observe first, wear lightweight clothes (it gets hot in the gym) and prepare to go barefoot (no shoes on the mat). It's more boring than training with us, but you'll see how things works. The last half-hour of class is when we spar, so please stay for that to see the effectiveness of our training.
  3. Bring or wear a moderately close-fitting t-shirt (loose shirts can rip), light sweat pants or surf shorts (athletic shorts tend to be too loose) and barefeet. Bring sandals or flip-flops for walking off the mat. Bring a sweat towel, and a water or gatorade.
  4. Park anywhere and come on in. Tell anyone in a gi (our uniforms) that it's your first day and you'd like to speak with the instructor.You'll find all our students friendly and willing to help.
Your first day:
You will participate fully in a regular class.
  • Of course we have a standard release form for you to sign. There is no charge for your introductory class.
  • Under no circumstances will we ask you to do any more conditioning or sparring than you can handle, or try any techniques that make you nervous or uncomfortable.
  • We will pair you with an advanced student who has trained with new students before, and will keep you safe from any accidental injury.
  • When in doubt, just do what everyone else is doing.
  • You will get a great, intense cardio, strength and flexibility workout during the 90 minute class. 
  • You will be sweaty and exhausted. The next day you will be sore in muscles you didnt know you had.
  • You will also be impressed by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and it's possibilities for your personal goals.
After your first class, contact Neto and let him know if you'd like to continue. He'll discuss our various price and contract options.