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What Should I Expect In My First BJJ Class?

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What to Expect in My First BJJ Class

What Should I Expect In My First BJJ Class?

Taking BJJ classes is one way to help you feel like you can move mountains. Something is undeniably life-affirming about seeing yourself progress and grow physically and mentally as a practitioner.

The above notion rings true whether you aspire to compete or partake in BJJ only to remain active and fit.

That said, it’s fair to ask us, “What should I expect in my first BJJ class?” 

After all, you want to get started on the right foot. 

BJJ can be a lifelong pursuit that makes you a better athlete and overall person. You’ll also build friendships and become part of a community of unique and passionate individuals. 

You give yourself a better chance to reap these benefits by preparing for and knowing what’s coming. So, we’re offering a guide on what to expect during your first BJJ class.

We appreciate that not everyone reading this page can attend classes at Kioto BJJ since not all of you will live nearby. Thus, we’re offering a more general idea of what to expect (and seek) from a top-tier BJJ class best suited for first-timers. That said, we’ll often use Kioto’s approach to beginner classes for various examples.

Disclaimer: Not All BJJ Schools Are Created Equal.

You’ll encounter various types of BJJ schools. Some of these establishments are less beginner-friendly than others and won’t necessarily cater to your needs. While some people may relish such a challenge, we’ve typically found it wiser for first-timers to find the appropriate classes. This way, they don’t get left behind.

So, use this article as a guide for what you should prioritize in a school or gym before your first BJJ class. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the instructors before you agree to any lessons. This way, you’ll know if the given BJJ school is more suitable for beginners.

Your First BJJ Class Should Be Beginner Friendly.

Children and adult students alike should enjoy their first BJJ class. It should be fun for them–the point should be to give you a glimpse of what’s possible if you commit to a BJJ journey. 

So, in a sense, your first BJJ class or experience should provide a snapshot into the future. At the same time, it’ll strike a delicate balance of no over-complicating things. You’ll be starting with fundamentals suited to your skill level. Most importantly, these fundamentals will be taught in a manner that’s exhilarating and engaging, motivating you to put your heart and soul into your techniques.

We understand that starting any martial art or form of combat can be intimidating. Anything we associate with organizations like the UFC has an aura of toughness and grit.

While there’s no denying that physical exertion is part of BJJ, intimidation and overly macho attitudes aren’t part of the deal. Instead, BJJ is profoundly philosophical and rooted in self-defense. It’s a thinking person’s martial art; most BJJ communities welcome beginners with open arms. 

Thus, BJJ classes for beginners are anything but intimidating. It’s quite the opposite. For example, our instructors at Kioto go out of their way to make beginners feel at ease and engaged from the moment they strap on their gi. 

You can also take private lessons if you have reservations about starting as a beginner in a larger class setting. Undoubtedly, at Kioto, we ensure our group classes meet the needs of beginners. Still, we’re always accommodating and empathetic regarding our students’ needs and concerns. 

Expect To Be Welcomed By More Experienced Students.

Gyms often offer all-level classes to their students.

Initially, this type of setting might seem too advanced for your first BJJ class. However, depending on your learning style and personality, an all-level class might get you started on the right foot.

All-level classes are designed for more accomplished practitioners to mix and match with less experienced students. Teaching and community-building are significant components of BJJ. First-timers often benefit tremendously from rolling with more advanced counterparts.

First and foremost, a more advanced student will be well aware that you’re a beginner. Thus, any sparring or techniques you drill with them will be performed in a controlled manner. You won’t be at risk in any way.

Instead, you’re likely to feel a rush of excitement as you trade techniques with a BJJ expert who wants to help you grow as a practitioner.   

Contrarily, you may get paired with another beginner during an all-level class. Experienced BJJ instructors will be aware of this scenario and will join you. They’ll offer directions on techniques, showing both of you the appropriate steps and positions.

The theme of support, encouragement, and enthusiasm will be present in both all-level classes and beginners-only classes. 

You Won’t Be Forced To Do Any Drills.

A skilled BJJ instructor will encourage, suggest, and motivate. What they won’t do is force you into anything or ridicule you for not participating in something you aren’t comfortable with. 

At Kioto, we’re conscious of our beginners and prioritize their safety. We won’t suggest you do anything that puts you at risk. Sure, there’s a lot of rigorous activity involved–but nothing that goes beyond a reasonable threshold.

In many class settings, there will be a move or technique of the day the group will focus on. This is usually paired with “live” training, otherwise known as rolling or sparring. In many gyms, this segment of a class lasts for five to eight minutes. You’ll be paired with an opponent, and you’ll both attempt to control or submit one another.

Beginners can safely take part in rolling. Experienced instructors–like those at Kioto–will ensure the 100% safety of all participants. Moreover, our strong sense of community and duty means participants won’t take liberties or go too hard. 

Rolling is an invigorating challenge for those who partake. It’s a chance to drill techniques and put your hard work during drills into practice.

Even still, we would never force beginners to roll if they weren’t comfortable. In fact, it could be better for you to watch and learn your first time around.

Whether you decide to partake or sit back, your decision will be supported by your instructor and fellow students.

The Basic Fundamentals

All-level and beginners-only classes are both beginner friendly. Thus, the moves being drilled won’t be overly complex. Rather, drills would revolve more around basic, core concepts in your first BJJ class. 

Sure, you may be whipping out omoplatas before you know it–but that can only happen with a fundamental understanding of BJJ techniques.

So, your first BJJ class will likely include tutorials and drills on positions like full-guard, mount, back-mount, etc. 

First and foremost, your instructor will want you to recognize these fundamental positions before things get more advanced. 

Often, the technique of the day for beginners will incorporate a straightforward passing or escape sequence. 

While following along as best as possible will always help, you won’t be expected to master a move right away. 

One way to look at your progress, even if it’s slower than you’d like, is you’ll inevitably get better. Once you get the BJJ bug, there’s no shaking it, and you’ll continually improve and evolve as a practitioner. Plus, under the tutelage of high-level instructors–like the team at Kyoto–you’ll have a system that makes improvements occur as naturally as breathing.

Yet, for the sake of argument, let’s say you struggle for your first three years. It doesn’t matter. Top-notch BJJ schools like Kioto prioritize white belts as much as any black belt. A member of our school is like our family, no matter their skill level, and we treat them with the immense respect they deserve. 

Warmups: Starting On The Right Foot.

One thing to be prepared for in your first BJJ class is the warmups. Whether an all-level or beginners-only class, these beginning segment of the class consists of drills, such as:

  • Hip escape sequences.
  • A series of bridges.
  • Backward and forward rolls.
  • Moving your body across the mat with or without a grappling partner. 

These warmup sequences are building blocks to more comprehensive grappling maneuvers.

Such movements may seem simple when performed by an instructor or more advanced students. They’re never that simple for beginners–so don’t get frustrated or flustered. With focus and dedication, it’ll only take a few weeks before you’re performing these movements crisply.

Thinking Of Taking Your First BJJ Class? Contact Kioto BJJ Today!

Kioto Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specializes in BJJ for beginners, whether kids or adults. We tailor our instructional approaches to your needs for the best possible results. You could be someone looking to compete in the future or just looking to stay in shape while honing BJJ techniques. Our community will welcome you with open arms!

Learn more about our instructors by clicking here or contacting us to ask questions about our beginners’ classes. 

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