So you’ve done it. You went on to the free trial page, signed up, and now you’re all set for your first BJJ class… or are you?
It’s normal to have a whole load of thoughts going through your head before coming to your first session. We’ve been there, and we get it. In this article, we aim to cover the main steps and things you’re likely to encounter in your first session.
Upon arriving for your first class with us at TFC, you will have to complete some paperwork. We suggest you arrive 10 minutes early so we can get this out of the way and start your first class on time.
It is important that we know about your prior experience and health status. We’ll also have you sign a disclaimer regarding any potential injuries in our training centre.
That said, we do our best to ensure our training and the environment are as safe as possible. Injuries are relatively uncommon in BJJ (which is surprising given the nature of the sport.) To ensure you stay safe, follow the rules and tap early if necessary. Ego tends to be the catalyst for most injuries in BJJ.
2 Small tour of facilities
For many of our students, the BJJ gym is a home away from home. Students learn best when they are comfortable in their learning environment; we want that for you. What better way to get you settled in than by showing you around? We’ll show you all the facilities available, including the mats where BJJ instruction takes place and the changing rooms where you’ll find running showers and toilet facilities.
3 How to line up
We greet the instructor by bowing in before each session begins. Students taking part in the BJJ class must line up side by side. There is a particular order you must follow, and this is based on the colour of your belt. Being your first day, you’ll be a white belt, so find your spot among the other white belts.
Tip: Before lining up, you will need to do your belt for your gi (if you’ve attended a gi class). This is often quite a struggle for the beginner practitioner. Check out this video on doing your belt so you can practice before you come to train and impress your instructor when you get it right perfectly ‘the first time.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) descends from its Japanese predecessor Judo. Showing respect plays a significant role in Japanese culture, which is also apparent in BJJ. Before entering the training area, you are to bow as a sign of respect for the sanctuary you are entering. Repeat this whenever leaving/coming back to the mat. Bowing also occurs at the beginning of the class, when your instructor bows to greet the students, and they bow back before the warm-up begins. You will bow again once you’ve finished your session before you leave.
5 Warm up
The warm-up is an essential part of BJJ training. Preparing your body for the load you will be putting on it is essential to avoid injuries. Some of the activities in the warm-up consist of general stretching, light cardio (jogging) and bodyweight exercises.
Drills are BJJ-specific movements to familiarize yourself with different techniques. You will do these drills before you learn the technique for that day’s session.
Tip: Don’t worry if some of the drills seem impossible! We’ve all been there. Give it time and try your best. You’ll be rolling over your shoulders backwards and mastering the standup technique in no time.
7 Technique with partner
Once the class has completed the drills, your instructor will allow you to rehydrate. Try not to spend any more time than necessary off the mats. The session will re-commence after the water break.
Your instructor will then demonstrate the technique you will practise in that session. They will often break up the method into smaller digestible chunks to avoid information overload! Once your instructor has demonstrated the technique step by step, you’ll be given some to partner up and practice the technique yourself.
Practising techniques with your partner is a great way to get to grips with new techniques. However, rolling allows you to attempt to execute the technique in a simulated fight scenario. You’ll pair up with a partner and, when told to, commence ‘rolling’. Before you engage with your partner, make sure to slap palms and bump the fist of the same hand.
Tip: You will be simulating a controlled fight scenario with a partner. As controlled as it is, people are people, and injuries may happen. Do yourself a giant favour—for your bank balance and aesthetic appeal. Buy a decent mouthguard to protect your teeth.
FAQ 1 Do I need experience
You don’t need experience to begin! You can have your first BJJ class with us, and we’ll help you get started on your BJJ journey. We have tailored our classes to be easily accessible for all students.
We all started from zero—as a white belt with no stripes. Don’t let that hold you back from striving towards your potential.
FAQ 2 Will I get hurt
Just like any sport, there is potential for injury. We do our very best to ensure this doesn’t happen, but it’s ultimately up to you and your training partner. As long as you are following the instructions your trainer is giving you and being respectful of your training partner, you should be okay!
FAQ 3 What if I cant do something
Some techniques are tricky and take a while to get to grips with, let alone master. Other times you are having an off day, and techniques that you can normally do quite easily don’t seem to be working quite right. In either case, you’re among friends. So don’t worry about it! Just try your best and know that is enough.
FAQ 4 Do I need to roll
You don’t have to roll, and not in your first BJJ class. However, you will find that you are missing out on a significant part of the learning process by skipping this stage later on. Rolling can be a bit daunting. Let us know if you’re concerned about it, and we can pair you up with a more experienced student who will ease you into the experience.
FAQ 5 Do I need to wear a gum shield
Due to the nature of the sport, body parts can go astray. What may have ended up as a simple bump on the lips could end up with a bloody mouth if you don’t wear a gum shield. It’s up to you whether you think the risk is worth it, but we think not. You can purchase a gum shield from our store in the training centre if you still need to get one.
FAQ 6 What if I get paired with someone bigger
This sometimes happens, depending on how many students show up and who has paired with who. It may seem intimidating, but it is an excellent learning opportunity. It allows you to improve your game more than if you paired with someone your size/strength. BJJ has been designed for the smaller, more technical fighter to prevail over the bigger opponent. Remain calm, do your best to apply your techniques, and in time, you’ll welcome the bigger, stronger opponents with confidence.
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