What Should I Expect in My First BJJ Class?


Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Kioto BJJ provides a welcoming and beginner-friendly environment for new students, with a community ready to support their journey and first-class facilities free of charge.

  • Warm-ups in BJJ are essential for preparing the body and mind for training, involving exercises that build the foundation for more complex techniques.

  • A key part of BJJ training is partnering with the right individuals, which can enhance the learning experience, and practicing etiquette and hygiene are crucial for a respectful and safe environment.

Embarking on your BJJ journey can raise a lot of questions about that very first class. “What to expect at my first BJJ class?” is a common question. Expect a session that includes warm-ups, fundamental drills, an introduction to the ethics of the sport, and possibly some observational sparring. This article is designed to walk you through the essentials of what you’ll experience, framed by the supportive community of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, ensuring that you step onto the mat with confidence.

Stepping into Kioto BJJ: Your First Experience

One of the top BJJ gyms welcomes people from all backgrounds when you enter Kioto BJJ. Situated in Oakdale, NY, we’ve cultivated a space conducive to beginners and supportive of every individual’s path within Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Conveniently located near the Oakdale train station, it’s easy as 1-2-3 to get to.

As soon as you walk into our Brazilian Jiu-jitsu school, the communal warmth will embrace you. Our seasoned practitioners and instructors are always prepared to assist. If there’s any drill that doesn’t sit well with you, opting out is completely acceptable here. We acknowledge everyone’s unique rhythm and levels of ease within the practice.

For those new among us, expect dedicated guidance from our coaching staff, ensuring your grasp on movements and safety measures is solidified. Questions and engagement is always encouraged, remember, learning is an interactive process!

Here at Kioto BJJ, we welcome newcomers into an encouraging community regardless of skill level, offering a complimentary first class as part of our jiu jitsu program. So take this opportunity – join us for your initial experience in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by attending your very first jiu-jitsu class!

The Journey Begins with Warm-Ups

When you first step onto the mat for your initial Brazilian jiu-jitsu class, it will become apparent that warm-ups are a fundamental component of BJJ training. They have a twofold function: they prepare your body for the rigors of training and align your mental state with an aptitude to absorb new techniques.

Throughout these warm-up sessions, you’ll participate in various activities aimed at elevating:

  • heart rate

  • body heat

  • suppleness

  • equilibrium

  • steadiness

  • range of motion

These elements are vital for effectively performing BJJ maneuvers. Even though these exercises may appear rudimentary, they’re essential building blocks in your journey through BJJ.

At Kioto BJJ specifically, our preparatory routines are customized to meet the unique requirements fundamental to the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You might find yourself doing movements like:

  • hip escapes,

  • bridges,

  • rolls,

  • and collaborative drills with partners.

Even if these exercises don’t seem directly connected to what’s taught later during class, they provide critical groundwork necessary for mastering more advanced techniques within Jiu-Jitsu practice. Keep in mind that each instance spent on warming up is integral—it represents laying down the foundational tier upon which you craft your personal style within the art of Jiu Jitsu.

Grasping the Basics: Your First Techniques

Kicking off with a warm-up, you’ll soon get to the core of BJJ: mastering its techniques. As a novice in the sport, one of the initial moves you’ll learn is how to open your partner’s closed guard. This involves applying pressure to their chest, hips, and/or knee while using your own knee to lift their back as part of a guard pass maneuver. Though straightforward, this move lays the groundwork for more complex skills later on.

Learning guard pass maneuvers is vital within any BJJ training program. Early on in your training sessions, key passes such as the over-under and bullfighter (‘Toreando’) will be taught alongside strategies that prevent an opponent from re-engaging their closed guard—fundamentals that are crucial throughout your growth in BJJ.

Beyond getting past an opponent’s guard lies another critical step: seamlessly moving into a commanding position like side control. Achieving this smooth transition solidifies supremacy over an opponent — a central tactic within BJJ technique.

When drilling these movements during practice, holding onto that dominant stance post-guard pass for several moments becomes essential—it ingrains understanding around maintaining authority against competitors in BJJ beyond just performing impressive moves. It’s equally about preserving dominance and seizing opportunities presented by opponents’ errors.

Partnering Up: Meeting Your Training Partners

Teaming up with others is a crucial component of BJJ practice. As someone new to the art, you may frequently be matched with a more experienced upper belt. This intentional match-up aims to give you focused attention and instruction, vital for understanding correct body mechanics.

The process of selecting your own training partners marks an essential milestone in your BJJ development. Considerations like physical size, relative skill level compatibility, and personal objectives can shape who you choose as a partner—alternatively, partnering up with someone at a higher level could provide added mentorship.

Should the task of finding the right training partner prove difficult, it’s encouraged that you seek advice from your instructor. They are well-positioned to pair you appropriately according to experience or physique so that every session maximizes your growth potential.

If there’s someone specific with whom you wish to train regularly during class sessions, try initiating contact before lessons commence or by situating yourself nearer them early on. Fostering rapport is just as integral as mastering maneuvers within BJJ circles.

Learning guard pass maneuvers is vital within any BJJ training program. Early on in your training sessions, key passes such as the over-under and bullfighter (‘Toreando’) will be taught alongside strategies that prevent an opponent from re-engaging their closed guard—fundamentals that are crucial throughout your growth in BJJ.

Beyond getting past an opponent’s guard lies another critical step: seamlessly moving into a commanding position like side control. Achieving this smooth transition solidifies supremacy over an opponent — a central tactic within BJJ technique.

When drilling these movements during practice, holding onto that dominant stance post-guard pass for several moments becomes essential—it ingrains understanding around maintaining authority against competitors in BJJ beyond just performing impressive moves. It’s equally about preserving dominance and seizing opportunities presented by opponents’ errors.

The Thrill of Positional Sparring

Once you’ve learned the basics and partnered up, it’s time for one of the most exciting aspects of BJJ – positional sparring. This is a controlled way to apply BJJ techniques against a resisting partner in a live setting. It’s where you’ll truly get to test your skills and see how they hold up under pressure.

The purpose of positional sparring is to practice the techniques you’ve learned in class against an opponent who is also trying to apply their techniques. It’s a dynamic, challenging, and incredibly rewarding aspect of BJJ training.

Safety is paramount during positional sparring. To ensure safety, we use the principle of ‘tap out’. If you’re caught in a submission and can’t escape, you ‘tap out’ – tap your hand on your opponent or the mat. This signals to your partner that you’re submitting, and they immediately release the hold. It’s a simple yet effective safety measure that keeps training fun and injury-free.

Dressing the Part: BJJ Uniform and Gear

BJJ Gi collage

Embarking on your journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires proper attire. The traditional BJJ uniform, commonly referred to as a ‘gi’, is essential for the practice of many techniques within the sport and transcends mere aesthetics.

When selecting a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gi, it’s critical that it conforms to certain standards. These include being crafted from cotton or a comparable material, possessing an appropriate thickness conducive to gripping maneuvers, and adhering to accepted color schemes—namely white, royal blue, or black—with both jacket and trousers matching in hue. And complying with size regulations established by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), which dictate suitable sleeves and pants length relative to each practitioner.

Your attire should include a BJJ belt indicative of your current rank. This accessory must be robust enough to endure intense training periods while maintaining its placement during sessions through securing with a sturdy double knot—all while meeting specifications between 4cm, 5cm in width.

For those participating in no-gi BJJ training scenarios where gis are not used, you’ll require alternative gear consisting of rash guards tailored snugly around your torso alongside shorts available exclusively in black or white hues—or any combination thereof—and compression garments also remain optional apparel choices, particularly opted by women practitioners.

Understanding BJJ Etiquette

At the core of BJJ lies a foundation built upon respect and discipline, making an understanding of its etiquette crucial for your practice. Such etiquette encompasses showing reverence to the belt ranking system, upholding personal cleanliness standards, and abiding by gym rules to foster a safe and respectful space for all participants.

In BJJ circles, the hierarchy indicated by one’s belt rank is crucial. For beginners, recognizing where you stand within this structure is vital. This pecking order becomes most visible when students arrange themselves according to their ranks at both the start and end of every class session—this orderly formation pays homage to not only the established hierarchy but also cherishes the training milieu.

Several additional protocols are integral elements of proper BJJ conduct.

  • Observance of bowing rituals upon mat entry or exit

  • Keeping a demeanor that conveys deference while off-mats

  • Adhering respectfully to directions from others with precedence—particularly referring to your chief instructor as ‘Professor’

Engaging in these respectful practices greatly enhances the disciplined atmosphere synonymous with any esteemed bjj gym.

Upholding impeccable hygiene is equally important within bjj decorum.

  • Clipping nails neatly

  • Securing long hair back safely

  • Taking out jewelry

  • Donning laundered gi attire

Adherence not only expresses respect towards fellow practitioners, but it’s also instrumental in minimizing risks associated with injury during rigorous sessions.

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The Open Mat: A Chance to Learn and Connect

BJJ training notably includes the distinct practice of open mat sessions. These are times when students from various levels come together to hone their abilities in a more relaxed, unstructured environment. Open mats offer an invaluable chance for personal development and fostering connections with other martial arts enthusiasts.

In these less formal gatherings during open mat moments, you have the liberty to work on particular moves or participate in deliberate rolling (sparring). You can put into action what has been taught during class sessions within a real-world context, thus enhancing your overall technique and fitness level.

It’s important to recognize that open mats aren’t solely focused on physical training. They also serve as social hubs for BJJ practitioners by providing:

  • A sense of community

  • Knowledge sharing opportunities

  • Forums for discussion about various aspects, such as tactics for competitions or breakdowns of fights

  • A chance to gain insights from others, which leads to a richer comprehension of BJJ

More experienced participants often select lower-ranked partners at open mats. This choice allows them proper challenge while supporting shared progress amongst peers. No matter if you’re just starting out or already well-practiced in bjj, embracing the experience of open mat will likely be instrumental along your martial arts path.

Navigating Your First Class Emotions

Embarking on your initial BJJ class can evoke a range of emotions. Stepping onto the mat for the inaugural time often brings with it nerves mingled with anticipation. It’s crucial to recognize that every participant in a typical BJJ class, along with the instructor, has experienced this beginner moment.

When embarking on this journey into BBJ, holding onto your unique motives for joining is key.

  • enhancing physical fitness

  • acquiring self-defense skills

  • fostering confidence

  • embracing a new challenge

These intentions should be your anchor as you tackle your first session and will serve as encouragement and focus amidst personal development challenges.

The onset of sparring might trigger some anxious feelings during those initial exchanges. Techniques such as deep breathing and staying mentally anchored in the current moment can assist you in overcoming these jitters. Experiencing moments of panic is an expected aspect of acclimating to something new like bjj — participating in this process contributes significantly to one’s growth curve.

Make sure you acknowledge every triumph encountered along the way, no matter its scale—from mastering a new technique to just enduring through that premier bjj outing—each milestone represents progress within your ongoing martial arts path.

So give yourself due credit and persistently forge ahead!

Post-Class Protocol: Hygiene and Care

Following an exhilarating class in BJJ, it is essential to adhere to stringent hygiene practices. This involves the immediate laundering of your Gi and belt to avert the accumulation of bacteria and deterioration of the fabric.

Prior to commencing with washing your Gi, ensure you examine its care label for specific guidelines. Here are some universal steps that ought to be taken.

  1. Apply cold water mixed with vinegar directly to any spots.

  2. Invert the Gi.

  3. Fasten the strings on the pants securely.

  4. Treat newly added patches as individual items since their colors might run.

For cleansing your body. Choose either machine wash using a delicate detergent on a light cycle setting along with cool water or hand wash by immersing in chilly water followed by soft scrubbing before rinsing adequately out. Whichever method you choose, it’s crucial that you clean your Gi after every training period so it remains sanitary and odor-free.

To dry off your washed attire effectively post-wash without affecting its coloration or integrity long-term,. Hang-dry away from sunlight or heat sources immediately after cleaning process completion.Remember too that, just like one does for Gis, belts require equivalent post-class laundry handling due to exposure during BJJ sessions to similar bacterial contaminants as well.

Recovery and Reflection After Training

Following a demanding BJJ class, it’s essential to prioritize your recovery. Incorporating light cardiovascular exercises after practicing Jiu-jitsu helps alleviate muscle soreness and gradually lowers your heart rate. Opt for a gentle jog or an energetic walk to significantly enhance your post-class recuperation.

Incorporating static stretching as part of your cooldown can also greatly benefit you after BJJ training sessions. These stretches help soothe the nervous system and kick-start the body’s repair process, so remember to dedicate time at the end of each class to stretch thoroughly; it’s something that will pay off later with improved flexibility and lessened tightness.

Recovery may be possible. Utilize supplements like magnesium and zinc, which help to maintain hormonal balance, boost immune response, and speed up recovery from strenuous training sessions. Before integrating any dietary supplements into your regime following BJJ classes, ensure you seek advice from healthcare experts for tailored recommendations suitable for you.

Maximizing Your Trial Class at Kioto BJJ

Should you be interested in trying BJJ at Kioto BJJ, it’s beneficial to adopt specific strategies for the best class experience possible. It’s imperative to approach martial arts with optimism. While BJJ can present challenges, a positive frame of mind will enhance your enjoyment and encourage continued participation.

Inquisitiveness is encouraged. If there are techniques or principles that confuse you, don’t hesitate to inquire with either your instructor or fellow students. A demonstration of interest and a desire to comprehend fully is well-regarded in the realm of BJJ — plus, such inquiries might also aid others who may have similar doubts but lack the confidence to speak up.

To enrich your trial session experience, take initiative when seeking out partners. Should you identify someone as potentially compatible partner-wise, go ahead and suggest pairing together—this not only aids personal learning but serves as a catalyst for fostering relationships within the wider community dedicated to this martial art.

Finally, during classes, resist any urge to offer guidance yourself. As one newcomer on this journey into BJJ, expertise structures should primarily focus on absorbing knowledge rather than dispensing it—if other classmates appear challenged by certain elements, point them towards those more knowledgeable: instructors or advanced pupils, thereby reinforcing the established educational structure inherent within these sessions.


To sum up, embarking on the adventure of your initial BJJ class at Kioto BJJ marks the beginning of a rewarding path filled with personal development and education. The environment is structured to welcome beginners, complemented by encouraging instructors and knowledgeable peers who aid in making your initiation into BJJ both seamless and pleasurable.

Whether you aim to enhance your physical fitness, acquire self-defense skills, or embark on a fresh endeavor, we extend an invitation for you to join us on the mat at Kioto BJJ. Keep in mind that every great journey begins with one step. And it’s quite possible that this inaugural step could lead to an enduring devotion to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Concentrate on mastering the basics and allow yourself to learn without the burden of striving for perfection. Embrace curiosity by actively seeking answers through questions. Seek out a mentor, recognize that this is an enduring dedication, and never regard your inquiries or need for guidance as a nuisance to your mentors.

I wish you all the best as you embark on this path!

You should expect a supportive and welcoming environment at Kioto BJJ, where you’ll engage in warm-ups, learn basic techniques, partner up for practice, and participate in positional sparring.

And don’t forget about learning BJJ etiquette and the importance of post-class hygiene.

In positional sparring, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your BJJ maneuvers by applying them to an opposing partner who resists in real-time, providing insight into how well your techniques perform when faced with resistance.

Open mat sessions are designed to offer a more relaxed setting where BJJ practitioners from various skill levels can hone their techniques and encourage a sense of fellowship among the broader BJJ fraternity.

Ensure you get the most out of your introductory session at Kioto BJJ by keeping an upbeat mindset, actively seeking answers through inquiries, taking initiative to seek a training partner, and avoiding offering unsolicited advice to fellow participants.

Make the most of your moments on the mat and seize every opportunity to absorb knowledge during your class!

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