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Building a Better You

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Waza BJJ specializes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one of the fastest growing martial arts in the world.  We are open seven days a week for scheduled classes (both gi and no-gi) and open mat sessions.  We offer adult, children (ages 4 through 16), and women's-only classes.  Waza BJJ opened in 2010 in the Elk Grove community of Laguna West.  The name "Waza" was chosen because it means "technique" in Japanese, which is an appropriate name given BJJ’s subtle, yet highly technical nature, and compliments “Jiu Jitsu,” which means “gentle art.”


Our Mission


To provide a safe, positive, supportive, and welcoming environment for all
people. To use the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle as a tool for our members to become better, happier, healthier, and fulfilled human beings. To follow the highest professional standards and strive to support the growth of every student and
guide them in achieving their goals. To nurture a community that supports
one another internally as well as gives back to the larger community.



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Motto: Through the Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle, Become a Better You

Waza Kids

Motto: Happy, Healthy, Smart



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Adults Program

“I love training at Waza BJJ and I still remember what Derek DiManno said to me when I first met him and joined.  I had just moved to the area and was thinking of quitting.  I had previously trained at a tough guy BJJ gym where the upper belts would use and beat up the lower belts.  I had lost my motivation and was about to give up.  Derek inspired me to give Waza a try and just keep coming one day at a time.  He understood that life gets busy, and sometimes after a hard day at work it's very tempting to skip out instead of working out.  And when I notice that temptation, to just go and train instead.  So I did, and I rediscovered the fun of BJJ.  Here is a place where the people are so positive and encouraging, just happy to be learning and training hard together


Waza means "technique" in Japanese, and that sets the tone for Derek's phenomenal instruction.  I've never met another person who so deeply understands leverage, distance and timing, and has such skill in communicating the details to a wide variety of students.  We're all inspired to give our best, and to help each other along the way.” - Andy B.

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Kids Program

“Both Chris and John alike are nothing short of amazing coaches and mentors for our kids. The lessons they learn in the sport and, more importantly, in life are unmatched by any extracurricular activity we’ve enrolled our kids in thus far. I can’t speak highly enough of the attention to detail each lesson has, the amount of praise they effortlessly give every student, or the communication they maintain with families. 


For context, we brought our daughter here as an emotional kid who struggled sitting still and handling any crisis, big or small. Yesterday during a roll she was in a bad spot. One year ago she would have panicked, most likely cried, and asked not to come back. With the consistent coaching she’s received this year, she told us she didn’t panic. Instead, she said she took deep breaths, slowed her breathing, and thought about how she could get out of it. This is HUGE for her. HUGE. 


Thank you for maintaining this program and, more importantly, for having two incredible individuals coaching our kids. We are beyond grateful and can’t speak highly enough of the experiences our kids have had.” - J.V.

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