Here is what to expect on your first class at BJJ Academy
The purpose of this article is to answer any questions you might have about starting to train in BJJ, and your first class in particular. Every school is different, but this article will help you understand how WE do at Ivam Maciel BJJ Academy. You’ll find a glossary of basic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu terms at the bottom of this article. This is to help you understand any technical words used here or in your first class.
We work on ‘open doors policy’ so, if you just visiting Brighton and already train elsewhere, we welcome you to visit, train and roll at any of our locations. Come over, meet the team, the coach and ask questions before ever getting on the mats. Obviously, DON’T BE LATE!
What to Wear
If you starting from fresh, you’ll need to figure out what to wear. Here at BJJ Academy we try to make things as easier as we can for you. For your first week of training, you don’t need to own a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gi, we actually will lend you one free of charge for you to have an experience and see if BJJ it’s for you before you spend money buying your own gi. Just show up at the Academy and we will help you out with it. After one week, you will need to buy a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gi if you continue training, we also offer good prices on our in-house store, you can buy it straight from us.
Make sure your finger and toe nails are well-groomed. If you have long hair, you’ll want to put it up in a ponytail or bun during class. You should also remove any piercings to prevent injuries.
Your First Class
As we have mentioned above, the best thing to do is to show up a at least 15 minutes early to introduce yourself to the instructor and check out the school (if you haven’t visited already). You’ll need to sign a waiver and you ready to go.
Before class starts, you’ll have a chance to get dressed and stretch out on the mats. Be sure to get everything ready before class starts so you don’t have to miss anything.
Most of our classes start with a group warm-up, such as running laps and doing push-ups, followed by solo drills like forward and backward breakfalls and shrimping. Those last three moves will probably be new to you, so just watch what everyone else is doing and try to copy them. These are to help you learn how to fall safely and move your hips on the ground. Don’t worry if you don’t get the exercises correct at first—no one does on their first day, and they take a little practise. Just give it your best try and the instructor or a higher belt (who will be assisting you during your first class) will make sure you learn to do it right.
After warm-ups, you’ll be partnered with someone and go to your own section of the mats to be taught your first lesson. At BJJ Academy you will practice a beginner curriculum (Drill #1), which includes: Guard pass to side control - Taking mount from side control and your first submission ever, the Americana armlock from mount.
* No striking, punching or kicking.
* No eye gouging or hair pulling.
* No twisting or grabbing fingers.
* No slamming (picking someone up and dropping them).
* No heel hooks (twisting the foot or knee).
* No neck cranks.
Remember that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is designed to be trained safely without serious injury. These rules are to help keep you and your training partners safe and healthy.
The normal way you signal submission in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to tap your opponent three times. When you tap, make sure you do it hard enough that your partner can feel it; or tap yourself or the mat where they can see and/or hear it; or verbally tap by saying “Tap!”; or loudly tap the mat with your foot so they can hear it.
Likewise, be aware of your training partner tapping and stop whatever you are doing when he does so.
Tapping is just part of training and there is no shame in it. Don’t worry about winning or losing. Just try the techniques you’ve learned to the best of your ability and tap when you need to, ideally before it hurts.
At BJJ Academy the class concludes with live sparring. The coach will match you up with a sparring partner(s), and you will practise (roll) for 5 minutes round. At the start of each round, you’ll begin by facing your partner on your knees. When you’re both ready shake hands and start to roll: try out your techniques, stopping whenever one of you taps and restarting from knees.
With class over, you might have more questions, now you’ve trained for the first time. If you enjoyed the class and want to continue training, you can also discuss prices and setup a schedule.
I hope this answers any questions you might have about what your first day could be like at Ivam Maciel BJJ Academy. Good luck in your future training.
Americana — A basic submission where the arm is bent and twisted towards the head in order to crank the shoulder. Also called American armbar, bent armlock, chicken wing, hammer lock, paint brush, top wrist lock, ude garami, and v-lock.
Breakfall — The techiques for safely falling to the ground, such as after a throw. To breakfall means to execute a safe fall to the mat. Also called rollovers and ukemi.
Gi — The uniform worn when training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Also called kimono.
Guard — A number of positions in grappling where the person on bottom is defending themselves and controlling the person on top using their legs. Closed guard is where the position is held with one’s legs wrapped around their opponent’s waist with their ankles crossed. Open guard
Guard pass — A technique done in order to get around or “pass” someone’s guard, ending with them securely holding a dominant position. Attempting to perform these techniques against an opponent is called passing the guard.
Heel hook — A submission where the heel is used to twist the leg and possibly tear the knee.
Mount — A dominant position in grappling where the person on top sits straddled across the torso of the person on bottom. In a self defense situation, the person with mount would be able to strike without much threat of being struck back. In grappling, mount offers the leverage and control to effect chokes and armlocks. The person on the bottom is considered mounted.
No-gi — Refers to training without the gi, usually wearing shorts and a T-shirt
Hip escape — A drill done to train proper hip movement while on one’s back. It is an important part of many escapes and techniques. It is called hip escape because of it is used in combination with the elbow in several escapes.
Side control — A number of dominant positions in grappling where the person on top pins the opponent, usually with chest to chest contact. Also called crossbody, cross-side and side mount. Many particular holds from side control have specific names, such as 100 kilos and scarf hold.
Sweep — A technique done from guard to put an opponent on their back and allow one to come up on top. To sweep means to successfully perform such a technique.
Take the back — To gain one of the most dominant positions in grappling (called rear mount) on an opponent’s back. From here, one can strike (in self defence situations) or choke with little fear of retaliation.
Weave — The type of fabric a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gi is made from. Single weave is one of the thinnest types, making it good for hot weather training. Double weave is twice the thickness of single, and gold weave is somewhere between the two. Summer weave is the lightest and most easily torn.
Upa — A bridging movement where you lie on your back and lift your hips off of the ground. Used in the basic bridge-and-roll mount escape.