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Starting Your BJJ Journey - A Beginner’s Checklist
Start your journey with ease...
Getting started with jiu-jitsu training can be confusing. You may know you want to give it a shot (and this is GREAT!), but you may not know much more than that. What to wear. What to expect. How to act. What you will be doing. Those are all valid questions. And we are here to help guide you through it!
Your First Day
The first thing, is to be clean and well taken care of. Be sure to shower a couple hours before you head to your first class. It is not ideal to shower right before you head out, as you wash away your natural flora that keeps unwanted germs off your body. So, shower an hour or two before you head out. Also, be sure your nails, on your hands and feet, are trimmed. The easiest way to have people hate you is to give them a nice nail cut on your first day. If you have long hair, make sure it is clean and tied back.
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Clothing. People always worry about that to wear. On your first day, it is not a huge issue to not have grappling attire. For the gentlemen, head to the gym in a well fitting t-shirt (Under Armour type, wicking material is good), and a pair of well fitting gym shorts. Try not to wear anything too baggy, as it will get caught up when trying to perform your techniques. Also, a good pair of compression shorts under your gym shorts will give you some support, and prevent any Janet Jackson-esque wardrobe malfunctions. Also, try to avoid wearing tank tops, or anything that is loose or does not provide adequate coverage of the body. Think modesty here. If you have a pair of sandals, take them to the gym with you. This will allow you to navigate on and off the mats a little easier. Also, try to avoid strong cologne, or a ton over smelly body spray. Think neutral smelling when headed to the gym.
For the ladies, same idea applies to you as the men. A well fitting t-shirt, a good sports bra, a pair of compression shorts, with a well fitting pair of shorts over top. Yoga pants with shorts over top are good also. Try to avoid any low cut or revealing tops, and any very high cut shorts. Long hair should be tied back. Long nails are not preferred, but we understand that they are common for women. Just keep them well trimmed, and relatively blunt if possible. Like the guys, try to avoid heavy perfume. Neutral smelling is best.
Lastly, go in with an open mind and friendly attitude. Everyone at the gym is there to help you. You are going to be confused. Your body is not going to be able to do what the techniques are asking from you. And that is OK, and more importantly, completely normal. No one comes in on their first day and can do everything 100% correctly. Just be patient, do the best you can, and be attentive. It will all get better with time. Just keep showing up!
After class, be sure to stop by and talk to the owner/head instructor for a bit. Let him know how it went. Let him know what you thought of everything. Your feedback is very important to them. So, be honest, and share how you feel!
As soon as you get home, be sure to take a hot shower, and drink plenty of water.
Upcoming Weeks After Beginning
If you decide to stay, and we hope you do, you will need to get a wardrobe update! Get a nice Gi, that is built for jiu-jitsu. Your best bet first, is to talk to your instructor about this. They may have special requirements for the gi you buy (Color, patches, etc.). You do not need to go crazy and get a $250 gi for your first gi. A $100-$120 gi will last you for years to come. Aside from this, if you train no-gi, a good set of grappling shorts, and a nice rashguard are a good thing to have. Again, they do not have to be overly expensive. A $30-$40 each, for a pair of shorts and a rashguard are about normal. Also, getting a pair of sandals that are only to be used in the gym is a good idea. This keeps outside dirt out of the gym.
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Also, keep up with your hygiene. This keeps you, and everyone else on the mat safe from any unwanted skin infections, and keep you comfortable while you train.
Lastly enjoy the process. You got over one of the biggest hurdles in your training, in just walking in the door. Love and enjoy your time. Learn. Make friends. Work hard. It is all worth it!
As a new student of jiu-jitsu, Bernardo Faria has a great DVD to assist with your journey into the sport! Check out his DVD Foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! It will start you on the right direction. Check it out here!