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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: How to Prepare for Your First Class

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the fastest-growing martial arts in the world. Known as “The Gentle Art,” the goal in every match is not to knock out the opponent nor deal damage with every strike. Instead, it aims to neutralize and immobilize. Its non-concussive nature makes it an ideal discipline for children and adults alike.

It’s touted as one of the most effective self-defense martial arts around, mainly due to the fact that strategy and technique overrule size and power. It doesn’t matter how big your opponent may be. If you have superior technique, they’re going down for sure. A smaller player can easily stand on equal footing against a bigger opponent. 

BJJ is a fantastic way to get fit, lose weight, be more active, and improve your overall functionality. The best thing, however, is that you gain all these things while having fun and making friends. 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at The Fight Centre

If you’re looking for the best BJJ gym Brisbane and Logan have to offer, then come to The Fight Centre. We offer free introductory classes where you can get a feel for the gym, the environment, and the instructors (who, of course, are all highly qualified and very competitive). Make sure to give us a call first so we can save a slot for you—spaces are limited. If you’ve already signed up elsewhere, then that’s fine too. You can still come and try out the free introductory classes.

When people say that the first step is the hardest, it’s mainly because you don’t really know where to start. To make things easier for you, this article lists down five things you need to prepare for your first class and three exercises to get you familiar with your first lesson.

What You’ll Need

1. Proper hygiene 

In case you haven’t noticed, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (and any form of grappling, really) involves rolling around with your partner in a mess of tangled limbs. You get all up in each other’s space, so as a courtesy, you want to make things as comfortable as the two of you as possible. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than getting up close and personal with a person with bad hygiene. Take a shower, apply deodorant, wear fresh clothes, and brush your teeth.

Ladies Practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Even if you’re coming straight to the gym after work, you have to make a bit of effort. Just wash your face, neck, and underarms with some soap and water. Also, remember to swish some mouthwash around. It’ll make a world of difference compared to if you hadn’t.

2. Appropriate clothing

No Gi Jiu Jitsu

You’re not expected to come in with a gi on your very first day, but you do have to wear clothing that will give you very little friction. Don’t wear anything with buttons or zippers. Find a pair of fight shorts to put on, or if you don’t have those, at least a pair of board shorts. You can wear a plain T-shirt, but ideally, you should wear a rashguard or any lightweight clothing that covers as much skin as possible. You will sweat buckets, and so will your training buddies. It’ll be nice to have some sort of barrier so you’re not rubbing your sweat right against each other.

3. Proper hydration

When we say you will sweat buckets—well, we don’t mean it literally, of course. But the point is that you will sweat a lot—possibly more than enough that you can wring your top out after the class. Somewhat surprisingly, a lot of people don’t bother bringing water to the gym. Such people usually think that they’ll just grab something to drink once the class is over. 

You need to hydrate during Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

But here’s the thing: you likely won’t get to the end of the class if you don’t take the time to hydrate properly. Dehydration may cause a drop in performance and, later, lightheadedness, and then the instructors will have to pull you aside when you’re not looking too good. You’ll have to sit on the sidelines and watch the rest of the class train. You won’t get to join in on the fun.

4. Do-or-die attitude

Once you step inside the gym, you have to resign yourself to doing everything the instructors say. It will feel awkward since you’re not quite sure where you should place your limbs when you’re doing drills and executing techniques. But don’t let your fear of making mistakes hold you back from doing your best. 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Practice

Remember, you are joining an introductory class. Nobody really knows what they’re doing, so you’re all on the same boat. The instructors will be watching to make corrections to your form and technique without judgment, so just go at it and maximize the experience.

5. Proper BJJ etiquette

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu With Gi

There is a basic code of conduct that isn’t obvious to someone with no background in martial arts. There are quite a few of them that you can read about here. The most fundamental thing you need to know is that it’s disrespectful to step on the mats with your shoes. BJJ players typically aren’t a judgmental lot, but step on the mats with your shoes, and you will definitely receive some odd looks. The mats are sacred—you’ll be spending a lot of time rolling around in it. Often, your face will be in direct contact with the floor, and you really don’t want any nasty shoe germs on it.

 

Try These Basic Exercises Out

Just so you have some idea of what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu exercises are like, here are some warm-up BJJ drills that you can try out at home. While you should do your best to get them right, don’t worry too much about making mistakes. Don’t expect to be perfect because no one ever is.

1. Hip bump

The hip bump is a drill that leads to the hip bump sweep, one of the most basic sweeps in the closed guard. You’ll probably do less of it as you get more advanced. It’s a solid sweep, regardless. To do the drill, you start on your back, sit up to a half-kneeling position, and bump your hips forward. Then you roll back, rinse, and repeat. 

Rather than read this instruction, you’ll get a better idea of how it’s done if you watch the video above.

2. Bridge

The bridge isn’t that much different from the bridge exercise done to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. The main difference is in purpose, intensity, and direction. The glute bridge just goes straight up, with the heels flat on the floor. On the other hand, the BJJ bridge tries to go as high as it can.  In BJJ, the bridge’s main purpose is to throw off your opponent and get out of the bottom position. It is angled towards the side, and you bridge with your base over one shoulder instead of your upper back.

3. Shrimp

Shrimping is an essential move in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that can be used to manage distance, escape bad positions, and even sweep your opponent. The name actually gives a hint on how you do it. Begin on your back on the mats, your feet as close to your butt as possible, and your hands up. Using traction from your feet, throw your hips to the side and up towards your head. The  movement is much like how a shrimp throws itself backwards, and you’ll end up in a position that very much looks like a shrimp. Adjust yourself back to the center and do it again.

 

Now that you know what to expect during your first BJJ class, why not go and get the full experience? Click here to sign up for a free introductory class and see what it’s like to be taught by world champions.

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