One of the things that can be most daunting to someone entering the world of martial arts, or a new dojo/school, is the training aspect of it.
That might sound a little counterintuitive, but feeling like you need to show that you are worth being there, and wanting to prove that, is a type of confidence that can be a pretty big hurdle to get over, and it takes a while for that confidence to come to you.
This is especially the case if you are going in as a complete newbie, with no reference for what your experience is going to be like.
Quite often, this can put people off trying a new martial art for a long time.
And that is such a shame because martial arts are often the best tool to get that confidence to try new things!
However, with a little preemptive research, you can ease some of those fears that may be plaguing you. This is what this guide is here to do!
We are going to explain to you what you can expect from training in the martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), as well as a little background info on the style itself.
We’re also going to show you some things that you can do to start finding places to practice it, as well as how to prepare for an actual training session.
A Brief Introduction To Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
To start us off, let’s go over some of the key details that you may want to know about BJJ before getting started.
As the name implies, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a variation of classic Jiu Jitsu, that has been altered with elements from Judo, as well as refined and developed by Brazilian martial artists over the last hundred years.
The man who is regarded as its founding father, Mitsoyu Maeda, a master of both martial arts, as both were strongly tied together at the time.
He would teach his knowledge of these martial arts to Helio and Carlos Gracie, as well as Luiz Franca, who would go on to become the main founders of the new practice in South America.
BJJ has many similar elements to the martial arts it is based on, as it practices using leverage, grapples, angles, and pressure, as well as knowing when and where to strike human anatomy to defeat your opponent.
However, unlike its Japanese counterpart, there is much more emphasis and ground-based fighting and grappling opponents yielding, as opposed to the throws and targeted joint strike of Japanese Jiu Jitsu.
How To Start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
So, with that groundwork covered, we can now start to discuss what you need to do to get started.
Finding A BJJ Gym
To practice Jiujitsu in a safe and controlled environment, you want to find a good gym or school that teaches it.
With Brazilian Jiujitsu being the most popular variant to practice in the Americas, as well as growing in popularity in Europe and the rest of the world, finding a place that does teach BJJ may not be as difficult as you think.
When it comes to what qualities you are looking for in a good BJJ school, you want to look for a school or dojo with an instructor that will be both friendly and supportive, as well as knowledgeable, if not experienced at least.
In terms of the atmosphere of a gym, you should try and find one that is open, supportive and understanding of its members and students, rather than too closed off and tightly knit so that it becomes unwelcoming to newcomers.
This is where Google and other search engines can be very helpful. If you find a BJJ school near you, try and find as many reviews of it from different people as you can.
Their experiences will be able to help you make an informed final decision.
What To Expect
So, you have found a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class near you, and you’re ready to start.
The next question you may be considering is what exactly you can expect from a standard training session. This is where Google will also be able to help.
If the school or gym has a website, they may be able to give you an idea as to what they choose to focus on in training.
Whilst each school will be different, most will likely be some variant of the following:
- A warm-up to the session, which can last for anywhere between 10-15 minutes. This will include a whole range of exercises, such as squats, backward rolls, and other movement exercises.
- The next 30 to 40 minutes will probably consist of drills and technique learning. Your instructor will show you one or more techniques to practice, before practicing with a partner.
- After drills, sparring will likely be the next item on the schedule. A sparring session with one opponent will last around 4 to 5 minutes, and the sparring can last as long as 30 minutes in a large enough group.
- There will then be a final cool down or wrap-up to the session, which will be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
How You Can Prepare
So, what can you do to prepare for starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Well, if you are worried about not being fit enough to start, you may want to start doing some cardio workouts before your first session.
Even fit people will find BJJ exhausting, so it pays to have decent cardio before you start. Being a modern martial art, BJJ does not have the same etiquette as many older forms.
However, being aware of certain etiquette, (belt ranks, etc.) will be helpful. Also, make sure to leave your ego and pride at the door.
You will lose in Jiu Jitsu, especially early on, so it is important to know how to not take those losses too hard.
There’s plenty to think about when starting BJJ. However, with the right gym, you are going to love it!