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Thread: I took my first BJJ class yesterday - what advice would you give a neophyte?

  1. #1
    IS WHAT PLANTS CRAVE BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    I took my first BJJ class yesterday - what advice would you give a neophyte?

    My son and I both took our first class last night and we'll be going back tonight. He has no experience, I have very minimal "combatives" training from the Academy and attended @SouthNarc 's ECQC several (5? Maybe?) years ago.

    So what should I know? I think I already know why I should be looking to buy a 'rash guard'...
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    Quote Originally Posted by UNM1136 View Post
    Maybe with talented students I would lube up with baby oil and then go at it.

  2. #2
    Site Supporter David S.'s Avatar
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    I'm just a few months in, so take it for what little it's worth.

    - Take your time. Focus on learning and implementing BJJ fundamental techniques, base, posture, feeling connection, leverage points, tension and weight shifts, etc. . . not on winning.

    - White belt jiu jitsu is the best jiu jitsu. Don't be in a hurry to get beyond it.

    - If your training partner has been at it for any amount of time, they know the escape/move you're about to try before you do.

    - It's easy (at least for me) to get frustrated and resort muscling my training partner around, instead of calmly working the problem. Strength and speed without good technique is a good way to hurt your self and/or training partner. It's also a good way to gas out and not nearly as effective as your lizard brain would lead you to believe.

    - Be heavy.

    - Leave some gas in the tank for tomorrow. My brain is at least as tired as my body when I leave the gym.

    - I'm currently choosing to emphasize my defensive (escapes) game, and deemphasize on my offensive (submissions, etc) game. Obviously, that will eventually change.

    - Be a good sportsman. Good natured ribbing aside, don't brag about beating a better opponent.

    - My gym has an online video curriculum. I find it well worth the extra tuition.

    - There's a metric shit ton of BJJ content on YT. I'm sure most of it fine. For my personality, goals and where I'm at, I really like the stuff SBG Portland puts out. A lot of it is teasers for their online material, which is fine, but there's plenty of gold in there.



    Cheers,
    David S
    Last edited by David S.; 08-31-2021 at 07:14 AM.

  3. #3
    My advice (mostly applies to older beginners)

    1. In order to avoid injury, don’t try to “win” sparring at first. If you could win walking in off the street why pay money and put in the time to learn bjj? This concept is simple but it’s hard for some to understand. It was for me at first.

    2. IME older people struggle most with body control and movement on the floor since it’s not something adults do much of. Developing a “grapplers body” as one of my coaches calls it takes time. Focus on the traditional warmup drills and I also recommend stability ball drills (google Jeff Glover) in order to develop the muscles and balance leading to body control.

    3. Focus on being “soft” and “relaxed”. It will take time to understand what that means and that can be frustrating, but by making it a focus from the beginning of your journey you can expedite progress and avoid injury.

    4. Just try to have fun. It’s difficult to learn at first because when your physically exhausted and just trying to make it through a class it’s hard for the brain to digest techniques. Just have fun and don’t worry so much about learning for a month or two. I often am assigned new older students as a partner by my coach and this idea seems to take some of the stress off.

    *disclaimer- I am a 48 year old purple belt and I’ve only been training consistently in the gi for <6 years. There are many others here who have more technical expertise than me. My area of interest is older folks beginning training and how to make it past the difficult initial phase.

  4. #4
    IS WHAT PLANTS CRAVE BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EPF View Post

    4. Just try to have fun.
    I had a blast. I don't care about 'winning' and my ego is not wrapped up in this. I think because of my real life experiences or just my personality type I don't have anything to prove to myself or anyone else in this regard.

    My flexibility definitely sucks. I'm glad I've been doing all the running, my cardio isn't bad. I'm definitely using muscles I don't use much. My left hand is sore today from gripping. It'd probably be worse if I hadn't been using the CoC grippers @P.E. Kelley so generally Karma'd my way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UNM1136 View Post
    Maybe with talented students I would lube up with baby oil and then go at it.

  5. #5
    - Strive to breathe through your nose. This is not only good for breath control but also for pacing.
    - Take notes or at least reflect on what you learned in class and what you learned in sparring.
    - Since you are learning with your son, it would be good to review the moves you learned in class with him.

  6. #6
    Best things you can do are listen to your coach, eat well, get some rest and spending a few minutes every day with a foam roller isn’t a bad idea.

  7. #7
    Just keep showing up

    Be a good training partner

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheap Shot View Post
    Just keep showing up

    Be a good training partner
    This is the way.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    A big one is to take the warm-ups seriously(hoping that your school does them). Whether they are calisthenics, movements down the mat, or a combination, these are good for preventing injury. Any jiu-jitsu movements should be done precisely and with intent; don't just go through the motions. I don't think that anyone is too good for warm-ups.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BehindBlueI's View Post
    My son and I both took our first class last night...

    So what should I know?.
    Congrats on getting on the mat. I don't know your age, but I think you're an "adult" so my comments apply to older grapplers.

    Give yourself plenty of recovery time between sessions.

    Avoid rolling with newbies - they're more likely to spaz out and cause you injuries.

    Avoid guys in their late teens and 20's who are hyper competitive or aggressive. Their idea of a "flow roll" is probably different than yours.

    Roll with older guys with higher belts. They're more mature, and less likely to be hyper competitive and smash you. They'll tap you, sure, but they'll usually be executing perfect form and not being brutally aggressive (unless you act like a spaz, which seems unlikely).

    Avoid rolling with guys significantly larger than you. Even if your form is perfect, sweeping a guy who is 250lbs is more difficult than sweeping a guy who is 165lb. The level of effort required for the larger opponent is correlated to an increased chance of injury.

    Understand the Boyd Belts (every 20lbs equal a belt, and every 10 years younger equals a belt) https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ture=emb_title

    Good luck. Please keep us posted on your progress.

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