It’s natural to have a whole load of questions before starting a new hobby. Especially one that is so physically involved as BJJ is! Below we share with you some answers for the most commonly asked questions we recieve.
If you have any questions that aren’t covered below, feel free to get in contact and we will be more than happy to answer them for you!
We look forward to seeing you on the mats soon.
Learn more about our BJJ classes and book your free trial by clicking here
1 What should I bring in my first workout
At the very least we suggest you bring the following: gym wear & a towel. If you are thinking about sparring (the instructor will need to approve) then a mouthguard is required too.
Don’t be the smelly one
Hygiene is extremely important, especially in such a close quarters martial art like BJJ. Please ensure that you’ve showered and bring a fresh set of gym wear and a towel to training. It only takes one person to make it uncomfortable for everyone, don’t be that person.
2 What fitness level do I need to be
Just get started
This very much depends on the students that you will be training with. For example, if you are at TFC there is a wide range of skill levels present at any given BJJ session, you’ll often find a partner of a similar fitness level. However, you can imagine how this can be a troublesome issue if you’re training with black belts who’ve been doing it for 10+ years. There is no doubt that having a decent level of cardio will serve you well, however it is not an essential requirement before you get started.
Getting into BJJ shape
BJJ demands the engagement of so many different parts of the body. You’ll notice that even ‘fit’ people with no experience in BJJ will find it challenging. You’ll also find that people who haven’t trained regularly before can get into BJJ shape if they show up regularly. You get into BJJ shape, by doing BJJ!
3 Do I need to be lifting weights
Weights are overrated (atleast for BJJ)
You’ll start to learn very early on that strength is helpful but unlikely to trump technique. Especially as you get more experienced. Some of our students lift weights aside from training BJJ but this is only to supplement the training they are doing on the mats. You’ll be far better off working on your cardiovascular system than you are pumping weights in the gym if you want to be getting the most out of the BJJ sessions that you will be attending.
4 Do I need to fight someone
Learn how you like
In most martial arts there is a form of practice we call ‘sparring’ or more specifically for BJJ ‘rolling’. This allows for students to try out the techniques they’ve been taught in a simulated fight scenario with another student. Precautions are put into place to ensure that the simulation is both realistic while being as safe as possible. Obviously due to the nature of the discipline, there is always a potential, although very slight, of injury. Sparring is not essential to be able to learn BJJ. There are many reasons why people may shy away from sparring and that is not a problem at all.
5 How often should I expect to work out
Consistency is King
The amount of times you visit us per month for BJJ instruction is really dependent on your wants and needs. We suggest that if you’re looking to make BJJ part of your lifestyle that you make it to at least 3 sessions per week. This will allow your body the necessary time to recover, allow for the compounding effect of regular practise to improve your knowledge in the discipline at a rapid rate while your strength and conditioning grows in tandem.
Enjoy the journey, keep moving
Learning a martial art is a personal journey done with others. Therefore, do not feel that you need to do 3 sessions a week if you’re only able to attend 1. The most important thing is that you show up. If you’re regularly showing up once per week for a year you’ll improve more than a person that shows up 3 times per week for 2 out of 12 months.
6 What if I don't know anyone in the class
Making friends has never been easier
One of the best parts of joining a BJJ gym is that the comradery among students is second to none. Students and instructors actively do their best to ensure that newcomers are made to feel welcome, you don’t need to worry about feeling awkward!
Looking out for each other
Respect plays a central role in BJJ, your fellow white belts will welcome you into their group and higher belts that you gel with are likely to take you under their wing. In short, we know what it’s like to start something new and not know anyone and therefore we do our best to make you feel as welcome as possible.
7 How should I greet everyone when I first enter the gym
Keep it simple
Jacquie our Gym manager will be delighted to greet you when you arrive and show you about!
Be polite, say ‘hi’ and if you can, put a smile on! It’ll set you on the right foot moving forward. The etiquette for entering the mat space where you’ll be training is slightly different(check out our BJJ etiquette mega article here). This is fundamentally due to the fact that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu descends from Japanese martial arts. Japan takes respect very seriously, therefore, the same is the case when training BJJ. Make sure to bow when entering the mat space and say ‘hi’ to the people who are also waiting for the session to start.
8 What intensity should I go at
Stay healthy, keep coming.
This question really depends on what your goal is and where you are at on your journey. To ensure you can regularly train, you want to avoid sustaining injuries that can keep you off the mat. Therefore, when starting out you are better off not giving your absolute max but around 75% max. Momentum in regards to regularly training is a key component to become competent.
Levelling up your training
Knowledge is power. You should aim to gain a solid understanding of which positions and situations you can push yourself to the max in without risk of injury(this can take a considerable amount of time, there is no rush). Once this has been attained you’re ready to start pushing your body to the max. Make sure to consult with Ben or Ícaro if you have any specific BJJ questions.
9 What if I cant keep up
Listen to your body
You don’t need to be able to keep up to get loads out of the session. At least not initially. You’ll notice that your stamina and strength will increase significantly in a short period of time, allowing you to ‘keep up’ with the more experienced students in no time. If you are finding that things are moving a bit too quickly for you, you’re always more than welcome to take a step back and observe until you catch your breath.
There is no silly question
If it’s not a stamina issue but the technique for example being taught is too complicated, then wait patiently until your instructor has shown the move in it’s parts to the whole class before asking for them to go over it one more time with you and your partner. Asking questions is not a problem at all, in fact, we love being asked questions! It is a true indication that you are actively trying to get better. That is exactly what we want to see.
10 Do you do private lessons
Turbo charge your growth
We do offer private lessons for those looking for some 1-on-1 assistance to level up their game. We suggest that for the vast majority of students, going to a beginner class to get started is an all-round better introduction to BJJ than starting off the bat with 1-on-1 classes. However, if for any reason you would like to take a 1-on-1 class for whatever reason, we can tailor sessions to fit your exact requirements. Whether it be getting to grips with the basics or fine-tuning a submission that has been giving you sleepless nights, we can provide you with the necessary support to reach your goals.
Want to hear what it was like for a student to experience their first BJJ class? Check it out here.