What to expect your first day of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
Watch a class– This is a good way to get a feeling of what the class will be like. If this is your first time doing any martial art it might make you feel more comfortable if you watch a class from the sidelines. People wanting to watch is common and most schools will be happy to have you observe a class. Find a convent time to introduce yourself to the instructor or gym owner; don’t interrupt them in the middle of the class.
Before your first class– The main thing is to just go and try the class. Many people put it off with excuses about being in better shape, or watching more videos online. Review the rules guide, this will help you avoid common mistakes. Contact the instructor and ask what you should wear, it should be ok if you don’t have a Gi yet (here is a guide for getting your first gi). They will probably tell you to wear a t-shirt (it might get ripped), and board shorts, or maybe sweatpants. Do not wear clothing that could damage the mats or other people (zippers, snaps, belt loops). You need to be clean and have short nails, this is in the rules guide but it is worth saying again. No one wants to roll with the stinky guy. Don’t over eat before class, defiantly come to class hydrated. If your gym does not have a drinking fountain, bring something to drink. You most likely will not need to signup for your first class but you may need to sign a waver.
What to expect during the class– Try to get to class a little early that way you can meet a few of the students. Every class is ran a little different, most classes will have some or all of these stages (warm up, techniques, rolling, openmat).
Warm up- this can be just a few minutes or an exhausting workout. The goal of a warm up can be just to loosen you up to improve flexibility, or increase your strength and cardio. Many parts of the warm up may involve odd rolls or movements designed to help you move better on the mat.
Techniques- 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 hard to do at first but they will get easier with practice. Don’t expect the instructor to change the entire class to keep it simple enough for you, just do what you can. Focus a lot on learning about the basic positions, and learning how to escape.
Rolling- This is the part of class that most students look forward to. You will be paired up with another student and will learn about the heart of BJJ. Try your best to go slow and learn, you do not need to worry about winning or loosing. Be ready to tap, even if you are rolling with a skinny whitebelt. It is common to have two students start grappling while on their knees, this will cut down on injuries from takedowns. You might be paired up with the more advanced students. Don’t take this as the instructor trying to test you, they are more likely trying to protect you from over excited whitebelts. Whitebelts seem to be a little more accident prone, so rolling with the colored belts may be safer. Don’t push yourself too hard but try to go at least two rounds, you should be tired when you are done.
Openmat- After rolling sometimes there is an openmat time. This is an unstructured time you can be at the gym and work on your BJJ. You can get more time in rolling, ask questions or just watch. Openmat typically has no obligation for you to stay, you will be free to go home any time. This is a good time to ask other students for advice.
After Class– Congratulations you just completed your first Brazilian Jiu-jitsu class. Your first class is probably one of the toughest. In time you will get better, and you will go home less sore. Your first priority should be to take a shower, then throw your cloths in the washing machine. After you have cleaned up make sure you are hydrated, and get something to eat. If you are sore an ice pack or heat pad can help a lot. If you think that the class was not for you I urge you to take a few days off and consider going back. To give BJJ a fair chance you should train for at least three months, your skill will improve greatly in that short amount of time. You will be able to see your progress when you roll with a new student, but remember to be courteous you where once recently in his place at the new guy.
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