Excited for your first BJJ class? Brazilian jiu-jitsu keeps you fit, teaches you how to fight, and shows you a different way of looking at self-defense, so it's a great martial art to pick up at any point during your life. While attending a class for the first time may make you nervous, you're likely to have fun and learn a lot along the way — you just need to be prepared. In particular, here are three things you should avoid before showing up on the first day.
1. Don't get physical before you're told
As with all martial arts, BJJ is a contact sport. Naturally, that means physical interaction with fellow pupils is required. However, it's important not to jump into "fighting" as soon as you enter the room. Brazilian jiu-jitsu lessons typically follow a set routine, and there are likely several things you'll need to do before you get to the sparring portion of the class. This includes traditional formalities such as bowing, stretches and warm-ups to prepare your muscles, and learning or drilling new techniques.
Even when it is time to spar, remember that there are limits to the physicality allowed. The aim of BJJ is to fight with specific moves, not win at any cost necessary. So, never hit or kick your sparring partner, never pinch, poke, or pull them, and always stick to the techniques your teacher has taught you.
2. Don't wear clothing that could get caught
Some BJJ schools require that you buy or rent a 'gi' (a Brazilian jiu-jitsu uniform) before even attending your first class. Others allow beginners to wear their own clothes at first before committing to the martial art.
If you're wearing your own clothes, remember to avoid putting on anything that could get caught when you're sparring, as this could lead to injury. You should avoid overly baggy t-shirts, for example, as well as belts and zippers. A comfortable t-shirt, rash-guard, or sports bra and a pair of loosely fitted shorts will make a suitable outfit for your first class.
Whether you're wearing a gi or not, remember to also take out any facial piercings (such as earrings or nose rings), remove any necklaces or bracelets, and take off your outerwear (including shoes and hats).
3. Don't show up without showering
Since you're likely to break a sweat during your first BJJ class, you may think there's no point in showering before you arrive. After all, you'll also have to shower afterward. However, it's important to keep in mind that Brazilian jiu-jitsu requires close contact with your classmates. Staying hygienic is both a common courtesy and important for preventing the spread of any illnesses.
So, remember to take a shower before heading to your first class. You may also want to brush your teeth or chew some gum, and don't forget to wear fresh clothes or a clean gi. Some BJJ studios have their own showering facilities, which is ideal if you're heading to a class right after work or school.