So You’re The New Kid?: What to expect on your first day of Jiu-Jitsu
If you’re reading this you’ve probably considered (or have already joined) a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. Like most first-comers you’re nervous about walking into a room of people who want to strangle you. Allow me to put your mind at ease and help “set the scene” of what to expect on your first day of class.
- A Warm & Friendly Environment
Generally speaking I’ve found that Jiu-Jitsu practitioners are simultaneously the most respectful and the most lethal people you will ever meet. I believe this is largely due to the humbling nature of the sport. Every single grappler not matter what rank started in your exact same spot at some point. All grapplers know the intimidating feel of walking into a room and feeling like they’re drowning match after match. As a result they will (or at least should) be gracious as they welcome you into their Jiu-Jitsu family.
Warm-up sequences vary from school to school but you can usually count on there being a light jog, hip escapes (shrimping), and front rolls. However when I was a white belt I remember my instructor having us do nearly 30 minutes of intense core exercises….(part of me wonders if this wasn’t just a way to sneak his own workout in.)
- Technique Demonstration
This is where the magic happens. Instructors will break down a few techniques for the class very slowly and methodically explaining each detail along the way. Schools will usually display a series of moves or techniques that will start with one base position and build from there (closed guard, top mount, etc). This is helpful because of the review and overlap that occurs; if you are unable to make it everyday you will have a chance to see the techniques reviewed.
After the technique is shown you will break off into partners and practice it smoothly while the instructor walks around and makes proper adjustments; during technique your partners will not be resisting.
Following the technique, you can expect to “drill” the move. Drilling is exactly as it sounds; you will practice the move(s) you just learned on an opponent that is only resisting around 40-50%. The goal is for you to have to work a little harder to execute the technique so you can get a feel for how it could go in a live match.
- Sparring/Competition Training
Live sparring is the “Test Track” if you will. Everything you’ve learned will now be tested going “live” against your partner who is not only actively defending against your attacks, but also attempting to land techniques of their own. It’s important to note that even during a live match your energy exertion should not exceed 70-80% of your maximum effort; the reason being so can continue to train the rest of the week. The most distinguishable difference from watching a black belt and a white belt is how calm the former is compared to the sporadic movement of the latter.
While many Jiu-Jitsu schools and teachers will vary, it’s important that you find a school with an instructor that makes you feel comfortable and a team that will help you meet your goals; this winning combination will provide a sustainable training environment you can stick with for many years to come.
For more information on Jiu-Jitsu, self-defense, personal fitness or selecting a Jiu-Jitsu academy feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team members will respond shortly.