Congratulations on finally deciding to join a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class. Maybe you have been looking for a self-defense skill or even something that you can pursue professionally. There may be some questions running through your mind. Do you have what it takes to attend that first class? How will you handle your opponents?
It is okay to have mixed feelings, both happiness and anxiety. You may now be anxious as you do not understand what is expected of you when you attend that first class.
What is BJJ?
Brazilian Ji-Jitsu is a ground-based martial art that can find its root in Brazil. However, Ji Jitsu is derived from two Japanese words Ju which means gentle, and Justu which means art. Jiu-Jitsu can thus be described in the simplest terms as ‘gentle art’.
This self-defense skill relies on principals of leverage, pressure, timing, angles, and knowledge of human anatomy to gain an advantage over the opponent in a non-violent way. Jiu-Jitsu is not like other forms of martial art that focus on kicks and/or strikes but its focus is on close contact, joint manipulations, and the application of chokes.
What to carry to that first BJJ class
The right attire
Some of the schools have some gear that they can loan you during the session. However, the best option is when you get your own gear that you can head home with. Such attire may differ depending on the grappling style applied by the school in question. You will find GI and no GI grappling options when it comes to BJJ. BJJ gi gear will thus differ from one used in a college which has adopted No-Gi.
.No-Gi requires items such as rash guard, fight shorts, and spats. However, irrespective of the schools’ model, a rash guard is of the items that are highly recommended. If you find a school that combines both Gi and no Gi, some of the items you need include a Ji-Jitsu gym bag, mouth guard, water bottle, a towel, and toiletries.
A positive mindset
Acquiring a new skill is something that requires the right state of mind. You must familiarize yourself with what is expected of you before you join that class. This is a grappling art, unlike Muay Thai or boxing, which involves lots of striking. You must learn some of the basic boundaries before you attend that first class.
Do not be afraid of tapping earlier than expected during the first day. You can tap your training partner at least twice during your first encounter. Some people tap by rapping on the mat. However, this may not be a good decision if you are a beginner as your opponent might fail to hear the tapping or even mistake it for a general noise from the mat. You can even combine your tap with a verbal hit to ensure that your opponent gets the message.
Having a positive mindset and understanding the basic rules is essential as a start. However, it Jiu-Jitsu etiquette that is important to learn how to conduct yourself or not hurt anyone during the first day. The funny thing is that most of the rules you have to follow are unwritten. However, you will get on the instructor’s bad side or the teammates when you break some of these rules.
One of the things that you have to observe is no shoes on the mat. You can come with sandals or flops that you can easily slip off at the edge of the mat. You also have to wait until the instructor is over explaining a certain concept. You may feel the urge to interrupt but it is unadvisable. Ask a question once the instructor is through with the explanation.
You are also expected to shake the hands of the instructor and the teammates. You can as well go on and introduce yourself on the first day. However, this can vary from one academy to the other. Do not expect a lot for the first day. You may have seen some cool moves on YouTube but this is not the day to try them out. Wait for the instructor to take through the process and training.
Your first day in BJJ class does not have to be stressful when you observe the above tips. You may have studied several concepts over the internet but listening to the instructor is a must. Your opponents on the first day are not enemies but people who will help you become better at the craft.