- Ryan Tkachuk
10 Tips for Surviving Your First Jiu Jitsu Class
Starting your journey in jiu jitsu can be a daunting task, especially for beginners. The unfamiliarity of the sport, the lack of knowledge about the techniques, and the unknown of what to expect in class can all contribute to a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. With the right mindset and preparation, you can survive your first class and start on the path to Black Belt. We will be providing you with 10 tips for surviving your first jiu jitsu class, so that you can walk into the gym with confidence and excitement. From understanding the importance of proper clothing, to the significance of listening to your instructors, to the benefits of keeping an open mind and having fun, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools to make your first jiu jitsu experience a positive one.
1. Show up early
Arriving early to class will give you time to get settled, meet your instructors and classmates, and prepare mentally and physically for the class. This will also give you time to ask any questions you may have and familiarize yourself with the gym. By showing up early, you'll be able to watch the class before you, which can give you a sense of what to expect.
It's a great opportunity to get to know your fellow students and instructors. This can help you feel more comfortable and at ease in class. You can ask your instructors about the class schedule, what to expect, or about any other concerns you may have to alleviate any nerves or anxiety you may be feeling.
Showing up early can help you get the most out of jiu jitsu. You'll be able to learn and practice more, taking advantage of every moment of class to maximize your training.
2. Wear the right clothing
Wearing comfortable, tight clothing that allows for a full range of motion is important. Avoid clothes with buttons or zippers that could scratch or poke an opponent. A gi is the traditional uniform for jiu jitsu which may be provided by the gym for your first class. Wearing the appropriate clothing ensures you'll be able to move freely and focus on learning the techniques without any discomfort. Make sure your clothes are clean and well-maintained. This is a sign of respect to your training partners and instructors.
It's a good idea to bring a towel and a water bottle to class to keep hydrated and cool during class. You may want to bring a change of clothes for after class, as you will likely sweat a lot.
Lastly, make sure to trim your nails and tie your hair back, this will prevent accidental scratches or discomfort to your training partners. It helps ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience in class.
3. Focus on learning, not winning
Your first class is about learning the basics and getting a feel for the sport. Don't worry about winning or losing, just focus on learning as much as you can. Keep in mind that everyone starts as a beginner, and progress takes time, so don't put too much pressure on yourself.
While physicality helps, jiu jitsu is not a sport where you can just rely on physical strength. It's a sport that requires technique, timing, and strategy. In order to succeed in jiu jitsu, you need to focus on learning the techniques and developing your skills. This means that you should be open to trying new things and making mistakes.
Do this by focusing on learning from your training partners and instructors. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and they can help guide you through the basics. By listening to their advice and tips, you'll be able to progress.
Just don't be too hard on yourself if you don't get the techniques right away. Remember that progress takes time and to be patient. The key is to keep an open mind and to enjoy the learning process.
4. Listen to your instructors
Your instructors will be teaching you the proper techniques, so it's important to listen carefully and follow instruction. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and can help guide you through the basics. It's important to not just listen to them during class but also to take note of their advice and tips and apply them in your practice.
Your instructors will also be able to correct your technique. They will be able to point out any mistakes you may be making and give you tips on how to improve. They will be able to give you feedback on your progress, which will help you to set goals for yourself.
It's also important to remember that your instructors are there to help you. They are there to answer any questions you may have and to give you advice. If you're ever unsure about something, don't be afraid to ask them for help. They will be more than happy to help you out.
It's important to remember that learning in jiu jitsu never ends, your instructors will be there to guide you through your journey. You will learn a lot from them, not only in terms of techniques but also in terms of mindset, attitude and discipline.
5. Start with the basics
Jiu jitsu is a complex sport, and it's important to start with the basics. This means learning the proper stance, how to fall, and how to move. By starting with the basics, you'll be able to build a solid foundation that you can build upon as you progress.
It's also important to remember that the basics are the foundation of jiu jitsu. Without a strong foundation, your techniques will suffer. Therefore, it's essential to take the time to master the basics before moving on to more advanced techniques. This way, when you encounter more complex situations, you will have a solid base to fall back on.
Starting with the basics also allows you to understand the concepts and principles of jiu jitsu. This will help you to understand how the sport works and how to apply the techniques in different situations.
Lastly, practice the basics regularly. This will help you to internalize the movements and make them second nature. This way, when you're in a real-life situation, you'll be able to react quickly and effectively.
6. Keep an open mind
Jiu jitsu is a complex sport with many techniques and strategies. It's important to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. By keeping an open mind, you'll be able to learn more and progress faster.
Remember that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. You may be great at one technique but struggle with another. Keeping an open mind means that you should be willing to try different techniques and find what works best for you.
Be willing to learn from your training partners. Everyone has their own unique perspective, and you can learn a lot from them. By being open to learning from others, you'll be able to improve more quickly.
Lastly, keeping an open mind means that you should be willing to make mistakes. Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. By being open to making mistakes, you'll be able to learn from them and improve faster.
7. Practice, practice, practice
The key to improving in jiu jitsu is practice. The more you practice, the better you'll get. It's important to make time for regular practice, whether it's drilling techniques, rolling with partners, or just shadow grappling.
It's also important to practice with a variety of training partners. By practicing with different people, you'll be exposed to different styles, techniques and body types. This will help you to adapt and improve more quickly.
Make sure to practice with people of different skill levels. Practice with more experienced partners will help you to improve more quickly, while practice with less experienced partners will help you to solidify your technique.
Lastly, make sure to practice with a purpose. Before you begin, have a specific technique or concept that you want to focus on, and make sure to practice it deliberately and with intention. This way you'll be able to identify your weaknesses and work on them specifically.
8. Learn to breathe
Breathing is an essential part of jiu jitsu. It's important to learn how to breathe properly in order to conserve energy and maintain control during a roll. Proper breathing will help you to stay calm and focused, which is essential for success in jiu jitsu.
It's important to learn how to breathe deeply into your diaphragm, this will help you to take in more oxygen and to stay calm under pressure. It's important to learn how to exhale fully, this will help you to release tension and to stay relaxed.
It's also important to learn how to breathe during different situations. For example, when you're in a bad position, it's important to breathe deeply and slowly in order to conserve energy. When you're in a good position, it's important to breathe normally in order to maintain control.
Remember that breathing is something that you can practice and improve. Take time to focus on your breathing during your training, and you'll be able to improve your technique and performance.
9. Learn to tap
Tapping is an important part of jiu jitsu. Tapping means to tap your training partner or the mat to indicate that you submit or give up, it's a sign of respect and a way to practice safely. In jiu jitsu, the goal is not to hurt your training partner but to submit them, if you're in a position that you can't escape or you feel pain, you should tap, this way you'll be able to practice safely and learn from the situation.
Tapping is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of respect for your training partner and for yourself. Tapping allows you to practice at a high intensity without getting hurt, it also allows you to learn from your mistakes and to improve faster.
It's important to learn to tap early. By tapping early, you'll be able to practice more, and you'll be able to avoid injuries. Even if you think you can escape, it's better to tap early and live to fight another day.
Just like your partner, you must respect your training partner's tap. When your partner taps, it's important to release the submission and to help them up. This will help to create a positive training environment.
10. Have fun
Jiu jitsu is a fun and challenging sport. It's important to enjoy the journey and to have fun while learning. By having fun, you'll be more motivated to continue training, and you'll be more likely to stick with it.
Jiu jitsu is a journey, not a destination; it's a process. Enjoy it and celebrate your progress to see how far you've come and to stay motivated.
Having fun also means that you should be willing to laugh at yourself. Jiu jitsu is a complex sport, and you're going to make mistakes. By laughing at yourself, you'll be able to stay lighthearted and to not take yourself too seriously.
Having fun also means that you should be willing to try new things. Jiu jitsu is a diverse sport with many different techniques and strategies. By trying new things, you'll be able to find what you enjoy and to have fun while learning.
In conclusion, starting your jiu jitsu journey can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. By following these tips, you'll be able to survive your first class and start on the path to becoming a skilled practitioner. Remember to wear the right clothing, focus on learning, listen to your instructors, start with the basics, keep an open mind, practice, practice, practice, learn to breathe, learn to tap, and most importantly, have fun.
Jiu jitsu is a challenging but rewarding sport that will help you to improve your physical fitness, mental toughness, and overall well-being. It's a journey that will take time and dedication, but the rewards are well worth it. So, don't be afraid to take that first step and try your first class. You'll be surprised at how much you'll enjoy it.
It's important to remember that in jiu jitsu, there is no finish line, no final destination, but a continuous journey of learning, growing and having fun. So, embrace the journey, stay committed, stay consistent and healthy!