There is nothing better than hearing from a fellow student about their experience with a hobby you’re looking to take up. In this article, we will be hearing from a student of BJJ and his BJJ first class experience, as well as tips for others and so much more! We hope you enjoy the interview!
In the Brisbane area and interested in taking up BJJ? TFC is a warm and welcoming gym with world-class level instruction. Feel free to get in contact if you’re ready to begin your journey.
1 How did I hear about BJJ
The influence of UFC
I was first introduced to BJJ through being a fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Having grown up with the sport, I have had the luxury of seeing how effective different martial arts are. I took a real interest in BJJ when I began to see how effective it could be in immobilising and submitting lethal strikers. There was something that really hit home when I saw a fighter that was bullying his opponent on the feet have the look of absolute terror in his eyes once he hit the ground. This is what sparked my curiosity.
2 What got me interested in training
Exploring different martial arts
It was after my first professional fight in Thailand that lead me to give BJJ a try. I had come back from Thailand and wanted to keep training, however, not thai boxing. In all honesty, I wanted to give getting punched a break for a little while. It seemed natural for me to go for a grappling style martial art. Knowing how effective BJJ was, it was the discipline I chose to pursue.
Giving martial arts a second chance
Although I had known about BJJ for a while, it took many years before I did my BJJ first class. I’m not exactly sure why it took so long. It may have been due to a disinterest in practising martial arts that stemmed from a poor experience learning karate as a child (it lasted all of 2 weeks before I was done). This is a stark reminder of how important it is to start in the right gym with the right people.
3 What did I expect
I think I was expecting it to be more painful than it really was at my BJJ first class. Through seeing it on UFC, it looked really uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of a submission. What hadn’t clicked was that it was because they were literally fighting for their lives in the octagon. This was very different from a couple of guys and girls getting together to have fun.
Warm & welcoming
I guess I also expected for people to stick to their groups. In actual fact, they were all really welcoming from the get-go and made me feel right at home.
4 How did I feel when I walked in
The atmosphere was amazing. I came to understand this is something to expect from a quality BJJ gym. I felt at home almost instantly. As an introvert, this meant that at the start of the class I didn’t say much to anyone. However, at the end I had already met some people I felt comfortable enough having a good chat with. I think there were some nerves initially, but the excitement of being there soon took over. Both the students and the instructor made me feel welcome. I felt I had arrived home.
5 What do I remember
BJJ etiquette is important
One of the things that really stuck in my mind at my BJJ first class was how important respect was in the martial art. I was absolutely clueless about BJJ etiquette before I arrived. Therefore, I had to pick it up as I went along, thankfully my fellow white belts helped a lot. Being absolutely mesmerised watching smaller higher belts take on much bigger lower belts with ease really left an impression. I became well aware that brute force was only going to get me so far. A ‘force it’ approach actually plays into the hands of more experienced partners.
Would you like to learn more about BJJ etiquette? Check out our comprehensive article on the subject here!
6 What did you learn on your first day
Re-discovering my body
I learned that my body could move in ways I never imagined. Seriously, the drills seemed like trying to teach my body to move like an alien. Rolling over shoulders, this interesting maneuver labelled “shrimping”, a stand-up technique and many more.. I felt like a fish out of water at my BJJ first class, I probably looked like one too! However, I could tell by the looks on my fellow training partners faces and the words of encouragement that this was a perfectly normal experience.
My first submission technique
After that, I believe we were taught how to do a armbar. Again, my brain was knotting up to no end trying to get my head around how to do it. I was finally able to do what sort of looked like a armbar and the feeling of excitement was clearly evident on my face, I couldn’t stop smiling!
7 What would you tell yourself if you were new again
Research the gym before going
I got really lucky to be honest. If I had gone in and had a bad experience, it may have put me off like before. I’d recommend that you get a sense of what the gym is like before you take your first session. I’d also learn how to do basic things such as tying your belt and how to interact with your trainer before taking your first class.
Don’t panic! Just breathe.
Oh, I’d also remind myself to breathe. I know it sounds obvious, but it so common to see people hold their breath when they’re in a tricky situation while training. Simply remembering to breathe releases tension which is both important for your physical and mental wellbeing while training.
8 What advice would you give to others
Nothing can compete with a quality BJJ gym
BJJ is such a wonderful discipline to learn and the connections you’ll make along the way make the experience something truly special. Unless you have any medical reasons for not training, I suggest you look for gyms near you, pick out the one that seems to be the best fit for you and give it a go! Watching videos etc.. can be a good way to fine-tune technique, but nothing can replace rolling with other people and learning in the traditional form.
Look after your partners
For those of you who are competitive by nature, remember that training in a gym is like going to school, you’re there to learn and practice. Practicing does not mean doing everything within your power to win when sparring. Your training partners are there to improve and enjoy themselves, look after them and they will look after you. If you have a real desire to compete, train hard and then consult with your instructor.
Personal hygiene is really important, especially in a martial art like BJJ where you will be in close contact with multiple people. Although most people remember to have a shower before coming to training, many new to BJJ students forget to wash their Gi often enough. If you’re serious about learning BJJ and will be attending multiple times a week, we suggest you purchase two Gis. This will allow you to always have a fresh Gi to hand when needed.
9 What should I bring to my first class
An open-mind is key
Come with an open-mind to your first class and expect to look like bambi on ice until you get a grasp of the movements. Like I previously mentioned, we’ve all been there, so don’t beat yourself up for not getting certain drills or techniques down on your first day.
Respect is at the core of BJJ. Ensure that you are respectful to all fellow training partners but most importantly your instructor and the higher level belts.
10 How do I book a class at TFC
Due to demand and wanting to uphold the highest standard of customer service at all times, we prefer for those that are interested in trying out our classes to contact us, before coming to a class. This however is not a rule set in stone and if for any reason you decide on the spur of the moment you want to come down to a class, that isn’t a problem. If you are below the age of 18 please make sure to bring with you the signed waiver from either your parent or guardian otherwise we will not be able to allow you to take part. It is recommended that you reach the gym at least 15 minutes before the class you wish to attend begins, this is to allow you the time necessary to get shown around the gym and fill out a few papers.