You want to start Jiu Jitsu... now what?
So you’ve made up your mind, you’re going to do it. It’s finally time to start your journey into Jiu Jitsu... BUT... What is Jiu Jitsu anyway? How about choosing the BEST Academy or gym? What if you’re not good at it? If you sign up, are they going to make you fight in the UFC? Should you go get a gym membership to get in shape before you sign up?!? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!
Well, let me give you a few tips and a helping hand as we are about to start 2018. It seems like a big step, which it might be; but it’s a great step to take.
FIRST: you don’t need experience in martial arts or grappling to start doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I often hear “I’ve never trained or wrestled before” my response is always “Good, that means you don’t have any bad habits to break”
Well, what is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu anyway?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, often just called BJJ, is a lot of things to a lot of people. BJJ was originally designed for a smaller, weaker individual to be able to defend themselves against a bigger, stronger person through the use of superior technique and leverage. It’s lot of grappling, control positions, submissions and distance control. In this day and age though, its a lot more than that! it’s self defense, it’s a sport, it’s a stress reliever, a confidence builder, a weight loss tool, a challenge, a life style, it’s also just plain fun.
What is your goal?
Do you want to compete? Learn self defense? Lose some extra pounds? Just try something new? Maybe a whole family activity? Just have always been interested and it’s finally time? No matter what the answer to your question is; the steps to get started are the same. Now that you’ve figured out the “why” you want to train. It’s time to figure out the “where.”
How do I find the right Academy for me?
Research. In this day and age, the world is at your finger tips. You may live in an area that is rich in Jiu Jitsu options or you may have to travel a little bit to find the fit for you. All too often people are willing to settle for proximity when making their selection. What if the perfect fit was only an extra 15 minutes of travel, but you settled for an “ok” fit because it’s closer?
Don’t be scared to do some online research or just drop in and observe a class in session. Though you don’t know much about the art, you’re still a consumer and should be informed. There are MANY amazing BJJ gyms all over the world and maybe a few in your own town. Every gym will have a different vibe, curriculum, and focus. Some may look like high end zen spas and some may look like dark dungeon of gloom. Just don’t be too quick to judge accommodations before you witness what you’re really paying for; the instructors knowledge.
What is this “sport” and “self defense” I keep hearing about?
Like I mentioned earlier, every gym will have a different curriculum or focus. Some gyms will specifically focused on Self Defense. Focusing a lot on “real world” scenarios. Others may have a more sport oriented vision for their students that may compete in BJJ or MMA. Don’t immediately buy into these buzzwords. Overall, BJJ is about learning to use your body, spacial awareness, control, leverage and other principles that can be learned from any reputable instructor. Be opened minded when hearing these terms at first. Some gyms truly are focused on one or the other, but often they are marketing terms to sell you on their facility.
Should I get in shape first?
No. Just come to class. You’ll be really upset if you spend 6 months running on a tread mill just to find out you are tired half way through the warm up. BJJ uses different cardio systems that are hard to replicate through any other means than just doing BJJ. Just dive in and TRY. Soon you’ll realize that you lost some weight, feel stronger and don’t get winded do other tasks as easily.
At the end of the day, it’s on you to make the final decision. Choosing a gym to train at has a lot more variables than just cost and location. Some people like to train like spartan warriors, some like to dive deep into theory, some like to focus on someone attacking you in a dark alley. Find the fit for you and train CONSISTENTLY for best results.