3 things to remember before starting your BJJ Journey

Are you thinking about taking your first step into learning a new martial art like Brazilian Jiu-jitsu? Before you do, read on as we have some important points for you to remember before entering your first BJJ class. This is going to be a long and arduous  journey, so it is best to get as much information as you can before starting out

Remember -The Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt is the hardest rank to obtain among all of martial arts. The average time it takes to get a blackbelt is seven to ten years. This is longer than a majority of college degrees, and the time is comparable to becoming a lawyer or doctor. 

1. This is going to be one of the most difficult things you will do in your life

As cliche as it may sound, this is very true when starting out Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This is a sport unlike any you have ever done before. Grappling without any experience is like drowning in the ocean with nowhere to go. You will feel helpless, you will feel weak, and you will get frustrated.

 The first few months, even years, will be a trial by fire. Constant losing and getting tapped out, session after session, Some days will be bad, other days will be worse. But every so often, you will get that “aha!” moment and learn something new. 

Then you will lose…… and lose again. Then another “aha!” moment. And as you continue to collect and rack up these moments, you will soon start to realize that all those losses did not matter at all. What matters is that every time you lost, you learned, you got back up, and took another brave step forward. This is everything Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is about.

2. Go at your own pace

Everyone does Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for many different reasons. Some want to be world champions, others just want an after-work hobby that gives them a good sweat. You don’t have to go to training five times a week like the new young kid who started just a few weeks after you. Heck, you don’t even have to spar until you feel you are ready.

This is your journey and yours alone. You can go at a pace that makes every training session memorable to you. 

If you just want to spend the first year just learning moves without any actual sparring, speak up! Tell your coach or instructor you would like to get comfortable just learning the moves without actually doing them in a live spar. More often than not, your coach will gladly respect your request. They may even opt to just teach you positional sparring so you don’t have to go through the motion of a full-on spar. 

If ever the coach or anyone in the class forces you to spar even though you requested to sit out, just leave. This is a red flag and this may not be the gym for you. There will be other gyms in your area, you just have to keep looking!

3. Everyday is laundry day

This is especially true if you train in the Gi more frequently than in no-gi attire. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gis are required to be washed after every training session. Staph infection is very common in grappling sports. A dirty gi (which is usually damp) is a vessel for germs and bacteria. As you roll with different partners daily, the chances of catching an infection increases. 

 Brazilian jiu-jitsu gis are made of multiple layers of fabric and material. This ensures its durability so it does not tear apart right away. A good quality BJJ gi should be able to last the constant tugging, pulling, and grinding of everyday training sessions. And remember, there is a special way to wash a BJJ gi. Failing to follow the proper washing instructions may make the fabric weaker and cause the gi to shrink. 

Ariston Palacios

Ariston is a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and instructor under Carpe Diem BJJ. He is also a Coach at two UFC Gyms in his home country. Discovering BJJ at the age of 18, his passion for the sport usually ends up with most of his time doing all things BJJ related from training, teaching and writing articles. On occasion, you can catch a glimpse of him at a local competition to test his mettle, but you will usually see him sharing his knowledge and passion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to clients of all ages wherever a mat can be found.