So, you’ve finally plucked up the courage to pop down to your local BJJ Club and take a lesson...
..now the real test starts. You walk onto a matted area filled with a team of sweat soaked individuals, performing a variety of strange movements and possibly even attempting to avoid strangulation.
It’s reasonable to say this can be a daunting and intimidating experience (especially for someone who’s BJJ experience goes as far as having a late-night YouTube binge).
Some of the concerns running through your mind could be anything from; Am I too old? Too young? Do I need to be in shape already? Will, I be expected to spar? What is the correct etiquette?
The reality is often something far more manageable than expected. A typical class is usually structured into 3 segments which include;
- A brief warm up of maybe ten minutes
- A class demonstration of technique and some time to drill that technique
- Then to end, the customary 30 or so minutes of sparring, be it positional or free sparring
The challenge this represents will depend on many factors however, being prepared can make things far easier and help ensure less awkwardness and more enjoyment from day one.
Here are our top tips for day one survival;
Get yourself a Gi: Most BJJ classes involve wearing a uniform & belt which is commonly referred to as a Gi or Kimono. The typical first day nightmare of loaning an old Gi from your teacher can be an unfortunate one! Ill fitting, battle scarred and with its own interesting odour, you will be far better served by a good fitting Gi of your own to start you on your way. White is the traditional colour to go for but blue or black won’t be a problem. Most beginner uniforms usually come with a free white belt but double check just to be sure.
Click here to see our most affordable BJJ Gi
Think about comfort: “The Gentle Art” is something that you will hear as a description when people are describing BJJ but anybody with experience knows that it doesn’t quite accurately describe the reality. If you are going to persevere, why not make things a little easier on the body. To add a degree of comfort, getting a Rashguard and grappling ‘Spats’ to wear under your Gi, can prevent “Gi burn” which can inspire interesting questions at work the following day. (This is also worth baring in mind as some classes are “No-Gi” where this will be the chosen outfit).
Essential protection: The absence of permitted strikes doesn’t always guarantee you will escape an accidental knock or collision in sparring. A mouthguard is a must have for this sport but it doesn’t have to cost the world.
Check out our top pick for a starter mouthguard here
Now with day one complete, you have a taste for the strange feeling and endorphin high that comes with being twisted up and made to surrender to the effectiveness of “ The Gentle Art”.
Time to stretch down, hydrate and think about how you might be able to look slightly less terrible on your second showing, after all, the road to glory is long, why not enjoy it.