Your First Jiu Jitsu Class

Your First Jiu Jitsu Class


So you finally worked up the courage to try your first jiu jitsu class. Trying new things can be scary, but very rewarding. When I first started training jiu jitsu I never expected to enjoy it as much as I do, and it has given me a whole new perspective and respect for the sport. I have also gained many new friends, confidence, and become more patient and determined to excel on and off the mats.

While still young in my jiu jitsu journey, and no expert by any means, I thought I would share a few tips of what to expect on your first day.

  • Class Structure – Every school has a different structure to how they run their classes, here at Essential Jiu Jitsu an Intro class begins with a short high intensity warm up (10-15 mins) where you will encounter a series of cardio based exercises, jiu jitsu drills, and stretching. Some of the exercises include: jogging, side shuffles, squats, pushups, sprints, forward & backward rolls, hip escapes, stand up in base, and etc. While it may seem that everyone is in better shape than you, these warms up will take some getting used to. Don’t be afraid to take the exercises at your own pace, and ask an instructor to demonstrate anything you are having trouble with off to the side. Once the warm up is over you are welcomed to stretch out,  and the class will continue on with technique instruction. Typically you will learn one to two techniques per class, which you will then drill with a partner. The last 20-25 mins of class will end with sparring.
  • Wearing the Gi and tying your belt –  I wore a hammy down gi from my boyfriend that was two sizes too big for me and was always coming undone, it was a hot and sweaty messy by the end of class. Wearing the gi will take some getting used to, make sure to find out if a class is gi or no-gi before you come. If you don’t have your own gi that’s ok , here at Essential Jiu Jitsu we provide you with a uniform to borrow, gi and no-gi during your trial, just bring an ID to borrow any gear. One of the things that took me the longest to get was tying my belt (it took me months!) Be sure to show up 20-30 mins early for class to fill out any paper-work, get fitted for the gear and ask any questions, like how to tie your belt. Any protective gear is optional.
  • Sparring– Sparring is optional on your first few classes. Don’t feel pressured to jump right into it. Take this time to really observe whats going on and ask the instructor a lot questions.  It takes a lot guts to get out there and roll, be brave before you can be good.
  • Formalities– if you never been to any martial arts class before some of the formalities can seem very foreign. Everyone will bow in front of the instructor before the class starts and line up by belt order. The class will also end in the same manner, but in the end everyone will also bows to each other and shake each others hands to thank them for the class. Side note – Be sure to bring a pair of sandals with you for the times you need to step off the mats, shoes however are not permitted on the mats. It always a good idea to leave your jewelry and piercings at home, just to keep you and your partner safe.
  •  Tell everyone you are a new student – Everyone’s journey is different, while I was lucky enough to be introduced to jiu jitsu by very experienced and professional instructors through my time in San Diego, CA  at Atos Jiu Jitsu HQ. I felt extremely nervous during my first class and I really wanted to be good off the bat, you are going to get tied up like a pretzel, and really not know whats going on, and thats OK! Everyone has to start somewhere and you will feel awkward its all apart of the journey. Don’t be afraid to tell everyone its your first day, you will be surprised to find how accommodating and helpful everyone will be.

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5 Responses to “Your First Jiu Jitsu Class”

  1. Some questions from a beginner. Does the instructor pair students for technique and sparring? Does the instructor care if students are paired and there is a size difference and tell people to switch? Since you are a competition school is there a such thing as rolling too rough? What happens if someone bullies someone else on the mats? Does that happen at Essential at all? If not, what would happen if it did?

    • Jolanda Scotto

      Hello there,
      The Professor will pair you with a more experienced student for your first few classes until you feel comfortable. Although we do have many students that compete, we offer classes for all experience levels and goals. We encourage all of our students to use technique and not power when rolling with students that are smaller in size. If there every was a situation, it would be addressed.

  2. Hi Jolanda, I found it interesting when you said that trying to do new things are scary but very rewarding! This gave me the idea of also enrolling in a jiu-jitsu class. From my point of view, it will not only become a form of exercise but for safety reason as well. Thanks!

  3. My brother wants to learn self-defense and be able to defend himself in case of an emergency. It was discussed here that when he’s a new student it will be best to introduce himself to his classmates. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to professionals when planning to enroll in a jiu-jitsu class.

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