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Versus Grappling Tournaments for 2015 / What should I know before my first class?

The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community is a very friendly and welcoming one. Try to relax when you come to class, and just follow the example set by some of the more experienced students. We are a fairly informal school, and there are only a handful of rules that you should try to remember, they are:

  • No shoes on the mats – if possible, bring some flip-flops with you to wear while you walk around the gym (otherwise, just wear your normal shoes). Take them off by the side of the mats, and put them back on when you leave. This rule exists for hygiene reasons. The mats are cleaned between sessions, and we want any dirt from outside the gym being brought onto the mats.
  • Please remove all jewelry before you start training – BJJ is a contact sport, and if an ear-ring or a bracelet gets caught in someone’s gi it could cause you a nasty injury.
  • Please trim your nails – again, BJJ is a contact sport and it involves a lot of grabbing and gripping. No-one wants to get scratched by their training partners, and by the same token it would be unfortunate to have your nails ripped out or caught in someone’s gi.
  • Wash your gi (and yourself) after every session – just as with other sports, you will sweat a lot when you practice BJJ, and sweaty skin and garments are a breeding ground for bacteria, including MRSA and staph. There is also the risk of other skin conditions, such as ringworm. Wash your gi (and the belt) after every training session, and take a bath or a shower yourself too. There’s no need to spend a fortune on special “fight soaps” unless the brand appeals to you for other reasons. Washing your body thoroughly with a normal soap as soon as possible after each training session will protect you from infection.  You can read more about the different soaps and how to protect yourself from infection here. If you do notice something strange on your skin, don’t just keep training. See your doctor and ask them for advice before you get back onto the mats.
  • RelaxTraining a contact sport for the first time can be a little intimidating, but try to relax. For your first few lessons you will be looked after by the instructor or an experienced student. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions if you don’t understand something, and remember that if anything feels uncomfortable you can always stop. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the universally understood way of saying “stop” is to tap your hand on your training partner’s body. People usually tap when they are in a submission hold (such as a choke, or where one of their joints is being extended), but you can tap for other reasons too. Your training partner is there to help you learn and keep you safe.
  • Listen to the instructor – Origin BJJ is a fairly informal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school. We do not do a lot of bowing, or use formal terms of address for instructors. However, we do ask one thing. When the instructor is demonstrating a technique, please stop what you are doing to watch and listen to them. Follow the directions that they give you, and practice the techniques that they describe. Please do not use class drilling time to practice techniques that you saw on YouTube or on the latest UFC!
  • Keep coming back! There is a lot to learn in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and it can take many years to progress through the belts. Don’t expect to become a master overnight. Keep showing up to class and remember that the best way to measure yourself is not against the other people in the gym, but against your former self. If the you of today is stronger, more knowledgeable and more skilled than the you of six months ago then you are doing well.

Posted in: Getting Started

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