Beginning Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu

A Comprehensive Short Guide to Starting BJJ


As the popularity of martial arts has increased and MMA moves to the forefront of sports coverage, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has become a widespread choice for learning a new skill. Whether this will be your first martial art, or you are an experienced fighter, it can be challenging to find everything you need to know compiled in one place. We want to make your decision as easy as possible, so we’ve created this guide to answer all your questions if you are considering starting BJJ. 


What is BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a grappling-based martial art that involves ground fighting and submission holds. It is both a system of self-defense and a combat sport. Although founded in Brazil, it has its roots in the Japanese art of Judo.


Mitsuyo Maeda, a student of the founder of judo, brought the sport to Brazil in 1914; it was then redeveloped during the 1920s to become the art form we witness today. The primary learning objective is to enable a smaller or weaker person to defend or subdue someone larger or stronger than them. For this reason, it is an excellent form of nonlethal self-defense. 


Are There Any Specific Benefits?

It has been firmly established that any form of exercise is beneficial in a multitude of ways. Martial arts additionally offers positive physiological changes, improved mental health, and a welcoming community. 


Just 30 mins of rolling can burn up to 500 calories. This is because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu works every muscle in your body, challenging the cardiovascular system, building strength, and increasing flexibility and balance. Training reduces stress, depression, and anxiety while increasing focus, concentration, and overall well-being. 


And, of course, BJJ is a proven and successful form of self-defense. It is becoming increasingly common that law enforcement officers learn BJJ as a nonlethal way of de-escalating assailants. 


What is a BJJ Class Like?

Most classes will involve a group warm-up, partnered drills, and possibly some free rolling if you want to. Of course, every gym will vary, but often there may be some running and warm-up exercises known as ‘shrimping’ and ‘breakfalls.’ You can copy the other students, or simply watch the class to see what it entails before joining in. Following that, you will be paired up to learn beginner-appropriate techniques before finishing with rolling, which is a less guided practice with different partners. 


You will want to wear suitable clothing and arrive about fifteen minutes early to introduce yourself, ask questions and discuss any needs you may have. And remember - no shoes on the mats!


How Do I Choose The Right Gym?

You want to do some research before committing to a gym. Most will offer an intro, trial or to recieve a tour for insight into their operations. Above all else, a professional team of staff and instructors will treat you with respect and help you with any questions and concerns you may have. 


As BJJ requires contact with the mats, it is crucially important that the facility is clean. This is why it’s a good idea to visit the gym in person before making your decision. One thing that cannot always be seen, but is often felt, is that the facility embodies the martial arts spirit. Reciprocal respect should be at the forefront of their practices, as well classes that teach discipline, humility, and patience. You should feel pushed outside your comfort zone but supported by knowledgeable instructors who guide you along the way. 


Finally, location and schedule offering is an essential part of the decision-making process. Consider how far you are willing to travel. It may be worth going slightly wider than that just in case there is a gym worth traveling for. Finally, check their Google reviews; this gives a first-hand account of what to expect.


Is BJJ Right For Me?

Some people may have apprehensions about taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While fitness level, age, and ability are valid considerations, you never know what you are capable of until you try. The right gym and instructors will guide you along the way and aim to help you reach your fullest potential. There is always more to learn in BJJ so you will never get bored, and you will join a diverse community of people on their own martial arts journey, which makes it all the more fulfilling.



We hope this short guide answers some of your most pressing questions and relieves any hesitancies you may have. Should you need any further assistance, please feel free to reach out via our contact form, and we will be happy to assist you.

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