Do You Want To Start Learning Brazilian Jiu-jitsu? How To Get Started!

When January 1st rolls around many potential students think about getting started training bjj.
read also:3 Tips For Your First Year of Training

Here are 5 Tips for Getting Started in BJJ:

1. You don’t need to “get in shape before I start”.

This is a common statement by people who are apprehensive about getting started in bjj. Part of it likely originates in the (understandable) wish to avoid “paying your dues” and getting tapped a lot at first.
Truth is the Gracie Barra warm up and drills will build the type of fitness that bjj requires without being overly exhausting. When you focus on the techniques you are being taught and attend class 2-4 times per week your body will adapt to the new demands.

The famous GB warm up
GB warm up

2. Expect to be the “nail” early on.

Jiu-jitsu legend Renzo Gracie famously said “Sometimes you are the hammer and sometimes you are the nail!” When you start any new skill, there is that initial step learning curve.

You are not alone in feeling like the proverbial “nail”. I have witnessed well conditioned competitive fighters from other martial arts flounder when they first started. It isn’t only you!

3. You don’t need to buy every piece of training gear in the pro shop to start

Some students of bjj are “gear heads” and have every piece of training aid and fashionable rash guard and spats, limited edition kimono…  the truth is you need to spend hundreds of dollars to get going. read also: 7 Things To Keep In Your BJJ Gear Bag

A kimono and rash guard are really all you need to get started. Usually your gb school has kimonos in stock in the pro shop and can fit you properly.

4. Being fit to start helps, but your body will have to adjust to the sports specific requirements of ground grappling.

This is related to #1
You might have a six-pack and have great “guns” from all of those concentration curls at the gym, but you will find out quickly that the conditioning required for grappling is different! Forget the beach muscles and think more about core strength, abdominal’s and muscular endurance.

There is a principle of sports science known as “specificity of training” which means the closer the exercise is to the specific demands of the sport, the greater the carry over benefit.


5. Go watch a class before signing up

Gracie Barra recommends that you seek a legitimate gb school with classes run by a black belt instructor. It isn’t always possible to find a black belt where you live but it should be your first choice. Remember, any martial arts school can put “brazilian jiu-jitsu” on their sign, but it is no guarantee that the instructor is qualified to teach beginners!

If there are numerous bjj schools in your area drop by and ask to observe a class. You will get a feeling as to the culture and vibe of the school.

The Gracie Barra mission is striving to put a qualified instructor and school in your city. Look for a Gracie Barra bjj school near you here!

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Bangkok, Thailand
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ