Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is having a bit of a moment, and rightly so. If you’ve scrolled past videos of it on Facebook or Instagram and thought it wasn’t for you, just hear us out.
Like most workouts or sports, Jiu-Jitsu can be for everyone. It can be a great workout for stamina, balance, and flexibility, and it’s also a great self defense tool. Here’s everything you need to know before signing up for your first class!
First thing’s first - what is it?
Jiu-Jitsu is an ancient martial art that dates back to 1532, having its roots in Asia, Japan and China specifically, when ground fighting was essential to the livelihood of Monks and Warriors. Jiu-Jitsu was brought to Brazil by Esai Maeda and taught to the Gracie family, where it was refined to become what we recognize today as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu emphasizes speed and timing over strength and technique, enabling a smaller opponent to overpower a stronger one.
If your gym offers a fundamentals program, take it!
Fundamentals programs are a great way to meet the coaching staff and get familiar with the basics of Jiu-Jitsu and the studio or gym environment. It’s also a great opportunity to see how the classes are generally structured. Often, they’re one-on-one or very small group training sessions, so you can really learn a lot quickly!
Make sure you understand the levels of each class
Most gyms will offer classes at different levels. Some classes can be appropriate for all levels, but they’ll typically have certain classes for more experienced persons, or higher belts. Make sure if you have questions about the level of a class you ask your teacher to ensure you sign up for a class that is appropriate for your skills set.
Understand the uniform requirements
The traditional uniform of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is called a ‘Gi’. Most gyms will have Gi’s available for purchase, but be sure to call ahead so you can plan accordingly if they don’t. Some gyms will have a trial period where new users will be able to wear athletic clothing initially but then will require them to purchase a Gi. Most gyms will also have a non-Gi class, where users will wear tight fighting athletic clothing, including a rash guard.
Introduce yourself to your classmates and teachers
If it’s your first class, make sure you let your teachers know! Sometimes classes are big, but you definitely want your teacher to know if it’s your first class. This way they can provide a more detailed explanation of certain movements and make sure you don’t injure yourself at any point. Your peers will keep you accountable, so don’t forget to introduce yourself to your classmates, too!
Ask if you don’t know!
If you are ever uncertain about anything, always ask! The teaching staff have years of experience and are there to help you. Sometimes it can be helpful to visit the gym prior to your first class, just to watch a class and see what Jiu-Jitsu is all about and meet your instructors. You can bring all of your questions with you and have them addressed in a less formal setting.
If you want to work on your balance and stamina while harnessing your inner MMA fighter, Jiu-Jitsu may be just for you! Be sure to check out our network to find a studio near you, and happy #peerfitting!