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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes 101

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Brazilian jiu-jitsu, also known as BJJ, is a popular form of ground fighting in martial arts. BJJ originated in Japan but grew in popularity throughout the world when one of the most influential names in mixed-martial arts, Royce Gracie, popularized the fighting style and revolutionized MMA with his results contributing to the movement towards grappling and ground fighting in the sport.

Before you begin training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and in particular taking your first class, it is a good idea to gather some knowledge on what to expect and what the art form is all about. Every school is different, but most of them operate under a similar curriculum. Before you sign up and start a BJJ class it is best to observe one first. Interested students observing from the sidelines is a normal occurrence in most gyms and schools. Watching the other students and instructors in action is a good way to get a feeling of what the class will be like. If you have any questions you’ll be able to ask the instructor after the class is over.

Before your first class

For your first class you will probably be allowed to wear gym attire such as sweats or shorts. If you continue your training a traditional GI will need to be purchased unless it is a No Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class. Street clothes and shoes are generally not allowed as they can scratch your partner or damage the floor mats. You’ll want to make sure you have eaten a light meal and are well hydrated before trying your first class. BJJ is a full body workout that requires stamina to continue with best effort. If your gym does not have a drinking fountain, bring something to drink.  You most likely will not need to sign-up for your first class but you may need to sign a waiver. The main thing is to just go and try the class that way you’ll know what to expect for the next one.  

What to expect during the class

Every class is run a little differently, but most classes will usually include:

  • Warm up- The goal of a warm up is to loosen the muscles to avoid injury before training begins. It can last anywhere from a few minutes to longer. Most classes start with a group warm-up, such as running laps and doing push-ups, followed by solo drills like forward and backward breakfalls and shrimping.
  • Techniques- After warm-ups, you’ll be partnered with someone and go to your own section of the mats to be taught your first lesson. Some instructors hit you with a flood of techniques and some will just show one or two but in more detail. The techniques might be difficult at first but just follow along and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

After Class

When the instruction is complete it is tradition to line up and offer respect to your instructor and fellow students, thanking them for their time and effort. Some schools have open-mat or rolling after the initial teaching is over but you are not required to stay for that.  

After you have cleaned up make sure you are hydrated, and get something to eat. If you enjoyed the class and want to continue training, you can discuss prices and setup a schedule with the instructor and if you have any further questions, that would be the time to ask. All in all you will be excited and proud to have completed your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class.

Good luck in your future training! Try a class for free by requesting a free UFC GYM pass.

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