A Quick Guide To Your First Year Of BJJ: 9 Things You Need To Know

Congratulations! You’ve just made the best decision of your life. You’ve decided to embark on an amazing martial arts journey, with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) as your martial art of choice.

We’re sure you’ve got questions and of course, we have the answers. Here’s Evolve Daily’s Quick Guide To Your First Year Of BJJ:


1) How do I fit in?


You walk into your first class and everyone seems to know each other. Fair enough, you just started. But as the days and weeks pass on, you feel as if you’ve failed to make any connections with your teammates. Don’t worry, these things take time. Chances are, your teammates probably went through the same emotions on their first few days of training.

If someone asks a question, don’t be afraid to speak up. Remember, everyone is a beginner just like you. Eventually, more opportunities to socialize will come up. Just take it one step at a time!


2) How do I remember all the techniques?


What makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu different from other martial arts is the sheer volume of techniques you’ll come across in your training lifetime. And as the sport grows, so does the number of techniques being developed. Your instructor can tell you all about it!

Many BJJ practitioners, regardless of their level, like to write detailed notes after each class. This helps them remember everything they’ve worked on and what they’re having trouble with. ONE Lightweight Champion and BJJ black belt Shinya Aoki swears by note taking!


3) How do I deal with losing?


So you’re doing drills and feeling confident about yourself. Next thing you know, you’re on your back. Your opponent has swept you! Should you: a) get back at him or her with full force; b) cry in the showers after training; or c) laugh about it and ask your opponent what you did wrong?

Dealing with your ego (and other people’s) is a big part of martial arts. Remember, there will always be someone better, stronger, and faster than you. But before you hang up your gi, don’t forget that you’re also better, faster and stronger than someone too! Learn from your losses and move on. It’s the easiest way to become a better martial artist!


4) How do I get promoted?


You’ve seen it many times — people posting their latest achievement on Facebook or on Instagram. Whether it’s a stripe or a new belt, getting acknowledgement from your instructor is definitely an awesome feeling. In your first year of BJJ, getting promoted is probably your goal. You want that belt color to change really badly and you’re probably wondering how to go about it.

The easiest way to get promoted is to be consistent (see #8). Not only in attending class but making sure that you’re actually learning. This means you’re working on your mistakes and executing new techniques. This applies to more advanced students as well.


5) How do I look the part?


You’ve seen the more advanced students and you can’t help but wonder why their gis fit so perfectly, or why they’re wearing so many different brands (and colors). You’re probably also wondering why some of them wear rash guards or sometimes, nothing at all. If there isn’t a martial arts store near you, the easiest solution would be to shop online. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the amazing selections you’ll find online.

Wondering which size to get? Consult someone with a similar size frame. With regards to wearing a rash guard under your gi, it’s completely up to you. Try both and decide which option you feel more comfortable in.


6) How do I tell what’s proper etiquette and what’s not?


Proper etiquette on the mats is the same as standard etiquette off the mats. Respect your instructor, keep yourself hygienic at all times, be polite, don’t hurt anyone, be nice, and the list goes on.

Since BJJ is a contact sport, you’ll probably want to avoid wearing jewelry and having long fingernails and toenails. Most importantly, stay fresh!


7) How do I get better?


The easiest way to get better might come as a shock to you. Yes, the fastest way to success is losing. Losing is one of the most difficult moments a martial artist will ever have to go through but learning from losing is undoubtedly rewarding.

Imagine if you kept on winning. You end up becoming complacent and overly confident. Don’t deprive yourself of learning new things and start working on your mistakes. You can do this by drilling techniques after class or even researching online!

By improving your techniques and overall skills just as little as 1%, you’re already on the way to becoming better than you were yesterday. Keep on trying!


8) How do I stay consistent?


Recreational BJJ practitioners have other priorities in life other than BJJ. Maybe they’re mothers, bankers, lawyers, students; whatever they are outside of the mats, stays outside of the mats. This should apply to you as well. Work can get hectic sometimes but don’t forget to set aside some time to train BJJ. After all, all work and no play isn’t very healthy.

Because BJJ isn’t your full-time job, it’s understandable that you’ll forget techniques (see #2) and become less willing to work on your mistakes. Remember, improvement doesn’t have to be drastic. Still having problems? Consult your training partners or your instructors. After all, that’s what they’re there for!


9) How do I talk to my instructor?


Don’t be intimidated by the color of the belt tied around your instructor’s waist. Your instructor is there to guide you. He’s not just there to teach you awesome techniques or force you to warm up. Instructors are the greatest resource of information you’ll ever have.

Not only will he help you with those nagging problems you’ve been having with passing the closed guard, but he’ll also be there to encourage you when you need it. And in a martial art like BJJ, you’ll definitely need it often.


Remember, the most important aspect of learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to have fun. Don’t forget to always train hard, attend class regularly, drill, research and work on your mistakes. Trust us, it’s all worth it in the end. Enjoy!

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