Regular classes begin with a lineup and are followed by a warm up. During the lineup, head to the very end of the line with the other white belts. (Stripes determine your spot within the white belts) The line progresses from white belt to black belt. Warm ups are going to seem like a workout by themselves in the beginning, but will become more bearable as you progress. Typically, the technical side of class is right after warm ups, where the instructor demonstrates a move, and then you go drill it with your partner. (Someone similar in size/rank) Later in class you’ll have the opportunity to try these moves “live” in a situation through position sparring or drilling. Rolling is at the end of the class where anything goes. It’s the toughest part for brazillian jiu jitsu beginners. It’s fun, hard, and very humbling at first.
Breathing = Survival
As a beginner in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you want to understand what’s going on around you. During the first month you’ll be pretty clueless to what the rest of the class is doing around you while they’re rolling. This is normal. Accept the fact that you’re a rookie, and in time will be fully aware of what’s going on. It takes time to be able to roll and not gas out right before submitting. Focus on surviving and figuring out your gas tank before looking to attack. Breathing will play a massive role in surviving. Remaining calm under attack, and not panicking will separate you from other beginners in BJJ. The moment you get a little bit fatigued it’s a natural reaction to start panicking, especially when another person is trying to choke you out. Focus on being smooth with your breathing, which in turn will make your movements the same. Concentrating on the flow of your breathing (inhale/exhale) will help disassociating any negative self talk during rolling or drilling.
“If you can’t grip then you can’t fight” -Felipe Sousa. Wise words from a master of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Strength in your hands is crucial in BJJ, and will naturally come in your fingers and hands after a few years. If you want to speed up the process consider doing some sort of grip strengthening program or purchase a hand grip gadget. Efficient gripping is another way to improve your grip strength, and it is done by figuring out how much strength you need to hold onto your opponent without giving up position or fatiguing your forearms. Also, knowing what and where to hold is crucial in BJJ. Figuring out the proper leverage points to achieve your objectives will help you immensely.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (like any martial art) takes years to master. Even getting remotely proficient takes a fair amount of time. Don’t go into BJJ with the mindset that you’ll dominate everyone and never tap out. That’s a fool’s mindset. A beginner in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu should be prepared to be humbled, and go in with an open mind. Check out a class today and be the best student you can!!