I love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I had studied other martial arts before learning BJJ, but there is something different about it that changed how I look at, train, and teach martial arts now. Below are some pointers for anyone starting Jiu Jitsu.
1. Don’t tell everyone how much you already know.
One of the great things about BJJ is that you will get the chance to roll with, and tap out most everyone in class, every class you attend. If you are already a grappling wonder, they will figure it out in short order. When you over sell your abilities you either offend the members of your class by appearing arrogant, or at least you will convince them not to offer pointers since they figure you already know, and you’ll spend more time trying to figure things out on your own.
2. Don’t try so hard to win, try hard to play.
They say that Jiu Jitsu is like chess. Remember what it was like when you learned to play chess (I don’t know, are kids still playing chess?)? The first few games where more about remembering how the pieces moved then really trying to win. If you are in your first few classes of Jiu Jitsu, you still don’t know the moves of the game. Give it time. Watch how the people are playing against you and learn from that. When you get submitted, ask what just happened. If you spend the entire match hugging your opponent to death, you won’t be learning anything.
3. Don’t try to teach other people during the teaching time.
You just started Jiu Jitsu, the other students know this, your instructor knows it too. No one cares what you saw on Youtube and no one wants corrected by someone that isn’t the teacher. Its off-putting and opens you up to being corrected by everyone else. You might even be right, but no one cares.
4. Don’t talk during grappling.
You’re new and nervous, but avoid talking when you grapple. Its confusing to your opponent and breaks up the round. An occasional “Sorry I stepped on your eye.” is fine, but this is not the time to talk about the most recent Ultimate Fighter episode, or even how much you hate getting caught in someone’s guard. If you are the quiet guy (or girl) who just steadily fights every class, everyone will want to roll with you.
5. Don’t brag about tapping someone out.
I get it, this might be the first time you’ve ever beaten this person, but jumping up and proclaiming it or bragging to people after class is a good way to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This one sounds like simple good sportsmanship, but it happens. Don’t say ” I took Brian out with that Kimora.” Say something like “I finally caught someone with that Kimora” Just leave Brian out of it. No one minds it when new guys are happy to be doing well, we’re all trying to get you up to speed, but without the good will of your training partners, its going to be hard to progress.