Prospective students are encouraged to come in and try a free class to see if Brazilian JiuJitsu is something you want to pursue, and if the gym environment is comfortable for you. Generally, it is best to call or message to let the instructor know that you will be coming so they can be prepared for a new student. You should wear exercise shorts, tights, or capris for under your uniform pants, and a t-shirt that isn’t loose. Note that you will be leaning over a lot right in front of someone, so you may want to wear a higher-cut crew neck, and not a low-cut shirt.
When come for your first class, arrive at the gym 15 minutes before the start time. You will be greeted, and will be given a typical legal waiver form to fill out. Someone will find you a uniform (gi) to borrow for the class, and introduce you to the other students.
Classes are generally structured in the same way each day, with different techniques taught and practiced.
First, class will start with a light warmup and stretching. Don’t worry about being able to do all the movements or being in-shape enough to do everything. Just follow along as best as you can and do as much as you are comfortable doing. There is no need to “get in shape” before starting BJJ–most people get in shape by doing BJJ, not the other way around. Many students began by just doing what they can and their fitness fills in as they continue to come.
After the warmup, the instructor will demonstrate and explain the first of a few techniques chosen for class that day. We usually go through two to four moves each class. After watching the first demo, you will be partnered with someone who will be able to help you try the moves out, and you will drill the move back and forth. If at all possible, you will be paired with someone close to your size and with more experience, so she or he can help you understand what to do. If you know that you would prefer to partner with another woman, mention that to the instructor before class, and preferably during your initial call or message before attending–unless you are attending the women’s class (no problem there!). We nearly always have women in the regular co-ed classes who would be happy to partner with you, but can make sure someone is there for you if we know ahead of time.
Most classes have a time at the end in which the students “roll”, or wrestle. This is jiujitsu’s sparring, and can be thought about like a lab after a lecture in school. It is time to try to apply what was learned on a resisting partner, which is a vital part of learning BJJ. Brand new students with no grappling experience do not generally start to wrestle for a few months. At our gym, we have students wait until they know a few moves from most of the positions before beginning to roll. This is so you can practice good technique, begin to develop proper responses, and not entrench bad habits. This sparring time is a part of the class that new students–especially people trying the class–should stay to watch. It the most fun part of BJJ for most practitioners, and will show you what you’ll be doing soon if you decide to join. You will likely see the moves you practiced in class used real-time against a resisting partner as the students try out “the move of the day”.
If you had fun and want to join the gym, just head back in for another class. You will get signed up, order a uniform or purchase one that is in stock, and start your BJJ journey. Welcome!!