How To Make A Start On Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, an intense, hard-hitting sport. Not made for the faint hearted.

BJJ is known for being host to some of the most fierce skills for both the body and mind to master.

How To Make A Start On Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Taking an average of 10 years to progress to a black belt, BJJ is one of the strictest martial arts. 

Stars such as Marcus Almeida made a career being the Brazilian National Champion from 2007 to 2010, winning a total of five championships. But gaining a title such as ‘King of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’ takes hard work. 

So how do you get started? This simple how-to guide explains how you can get started today. Learning how to grapple and focus on controlling your opponent for a nonviolent submission! 

What Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Before we go and buy the uniform, and enroll ourselves into classes, it’s important to understand what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu actually is.

BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) is a grappling-based martial art in which the major focus is the ability to control a struggling opponent in such a way that he submits.

Because control is simpler on the ground than it is in a standing posture, much of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) technique revolves around the ability to wrestle an opponent to the ground and establish dominant control positions from which the opponent can be subdued and controlled. 

The party’s main goal is to control and conquer larger size opponents’ strength, and hostility with smaller size and strength.

This is accomplished by gaining an advantage over your opponent by superior leverage, grip, and positioning.

Students that participate in the sport obtain a thorough awareness of the human body’s functions and limitations.This can then be put into practice on the mat.

BJJ is a physically and mentally demanding sport with great benefits.

Students learning and practicing BJJ gain problem-solving skills, self-knowledge and have the fun of learning in an environment with likeminded people. Not to mention the awesome physical benefits. 

What To Know Before Starting

With any martial art there are certain etiquette rules to be followed which take place outside of the mat.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has less of a focus on etiquette as it’s a modern variant of martial arts, although there are still a few to be mindful of. 

How To Make A Start On Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Belt Rank. In BJJ, a belt system based on traditional Japanese martial arts is used. Some etiquette is based on belt rank, such as while rolling, higher belt ranks normally have the right of way. Rolling is a term used in the sport to describe sparring or drilling. 
  • Basic Knowledge. In a sports Jiu Jitsu  situation, some techniques and attacks are prohibited, and as a result, most gyms will not allow them. This can include attacking of the fingers and certain variations of leg locks. The most important rule within the sport is that there is no striking of any kind. Unlike cousin martial art Karate, BJJ focuses more on submission holds and does not tolerate any punching or kicking in order to ensure the safety of those participating. Anyone found to be committing any illegal moves will be forced to forfeit the match and can be disqualified from the tournament. 
  • No shoes. When in the Jiu Jitsu studio it is important to not step on the mats with any shoes on. The mats are expensive equipment and can cause damage through ripping or tearing. They are also frowned upon as shoes carry germs and bacteria. Not the type of thing you want on a mat where you are going to be rolling around, right?
  • Respect. Throughout all forms of martial arts respect plays a large role between teacher, students and supporters. Show your teacher respect by learning from them and asking for their direction over another student. This ensures everyone is learning in a safe, controlled environment. 


Like any sport, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has its own language and meaning for certain words. There is an abundance of techniques, submission and stances to learn, all with their own name.

Below are some of the words you should know to get started. 

  • Rolling. A term used to describe sparring or drilling.
  • Base. This is your foundation when grappling. In other words, your stance. 
  • Bridge. A maneuver in which you lift your hips off the ground while maintaining your weight on your shoulders, which is typically utilized to escape a hold or submission. 
  • Upa/ Bridge and Roll. Similar to the Bridge, this move allows the defender to trap the opponent’s limb and roll them away in order to escape or gain dominance. 
  • Oss.  This a shortened, abbreviated version of the Japanese term “Onegai Shimassu”. This is used in BJJ as a form of respect or just to say hi. 

With this short list of words used throughout Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you are ready to walk into your first BJJ class!

You’ll never feel lost or unsure when asked to perform a bridge by your coach. However, your coach is there to guide you into becoming the best BJJ student you can be. 


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu whilst extremely tough on the mind and body is an excellent way to begin a healthy lifestyle.

With the right training and mindset, the martial art can be learned by anyone. 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu focuses on ground grappling in order to establish dominance over your opponent.

This can be done through a range of holds to get your opponent to submit in a non-violent way.

The sport holds no room for striking of any kind, unlike other martial arts such as Karate and Taekwondo.

Any form of illegal moves used on the mat will result in the practitioner forfeiting the match and there is ground for disqualification. 

Now you know how to get started on your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey! Work your way up to become a tough black belt or join a class to meet new people.

There is room for everyone in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu studio, no matter your skill level. 

Christopher Anderson
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