Ultimate guide to your first day of BJJ
Decide on your gym
After finding the best BJJ gym for you, the first step is to reach out and get in contact with the gym.
If you have any questions about finding the gym for you, take a look at our GYM vetting checklist to help make sure the potential gym ticks all the boxes for a fun and safe environment. Alternatively, you could use our BJJ Gym Finder bot to find your perfect gym.
Step one: Contact the gym
Contacting the club first and let them know you want to try out a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. The club will then be able to guide you on the best day to attend as they may have a dedicated class for new students. It will also allow them to organise things like waivers/disclaimers that will need signing before your first class.
Step two: What to wear
Some gyms will have a BJJ Gi / Kimono you can borrow for your first class (ask them when you contact them in step one).
If not wear, clothes that will not restrict your movement is your best bet. If possible, try and avoid clothes that have pockets or zips.
Surfing board shorts, rash guard, yoga clothes, general fitness clothes will be fine for your first day.
Step three: Hygiene
Before going to your first class ( and all subsequent classes), make sure to have your nails trimmed, both fingers and toes. Not only for your own safety, but more importantly, for your training partners.
Make sure you are clean yourself, BJJ is a very high touch sport and you will find yourself in very close quarters with your gym buddies and so it is important to maintain a high standard of hygiene.
Step four: Turn up early
Its a good idea to turn up 10-15 mins earlier than the class start time to give you a chance to change into the Gi if necessary and signing any disclaimers and other admin issues so you can get started on time.
What to expect in the BJJ Gym
General Class Structure
The majority of BJJ classes will follow this structure:
- All the students line up according to rank (white, blue, purple, brown and black belt) before the start of class. Generally ordered left to right (white to black belts).
- Instructor will then go and shake hands with each student before starting class
- Includes a variety of basic exercises, jog, run, side steps etc and a variety of fundamental BJJ movements. Don’t worry about knowing the techniques on your first day, someone will be there to show you the movements.
- Watch a warm up session run by one of the friendliest and toughest in the sport: Marcelo Garcia
PS. This is an extreme example of a warm up, yours is likely to be much slower paced and simpler.
- Instructor will generally demonstrate a techniques on a partner, this is your time to watch and listen.
- Everyone will then practice the technique, known as “drilling” in BJJ. This is your time to copy the technique on a training partner.
- Some gyms will set a timer for you to drill ie 5 mins, then tell you to change so your partner gets to drill the technique. Other gyms may tell you to change after x amount each.
- During drilling, if you are struggling with the technique, feel free to put your hand up and ask the instructor for additional help
- After each partner has had a turn drilling the technique, the instructor will likely demonstrate the next technique. Generally 2-3 related techniques are practiced each class.
- This is where you will spar or roll with your team mates. This is the time to practice the techniques you just learned in the class.
- Generally beginners on the first day will not be sparring and most likely just observing what is done. Read the sparring section below for more details on what to expect.
- After students will line up again according to rank.
- Normal stretching and warm down routine.
- Closed by shaking hands with everyone in a line.
General rules during class: BJJ Etiquette
Following these basic rules will keep you in good stead in any BJJ Gym:
- Listen when the instructor is teaching
- Do what the instructor tells you
- Have fun
- Be respectful