First BJJ class

stingrae

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I'll be going to my first BJJ class tomorrow night. I'm excited but nervous; I don't know what to expect. From the description on the website the class is basic, only an hour long so not too strenuous.

But can someone give me some knowledge on BJJ in general? I want to know what I'll be walking into. I do judo, and I believe BJJ practitioners bow in; are there differences? What do I refer to the coaches as?
 

Headhunter

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Ha was in that position last week. Just enjoy it you're not supposed to know how it works it'll all be explained to you. I don't know about all places but we just call the coach by there name. There's no sir or Sensai or any of that and no bowing either. But my class we start with a warm up then go into drills where you get shown a move then you practice on a partner then after a while of techique you go imto rolling where you try and practice what you learnt on a partner who's fighting back
 

Headhunter

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Best thing to do in any martial art just enjoy it. Don't worry about the little stuff that'll all be explained and accept the fact you're going to suck and lose every match you have for a while especially in jiu jitsu. Don't have an ego jiu jitsu is not the art to have an ego for
 

drop bear

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Just keep yelling oss a lot. you will be fine.
 

Midnight-shadow

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Training etiquette is not something you are expected to know at the very beginning, and it varies depending on the club. Some clubs bow when entering and exiting the training hall, some don't. Some instructors insist on using honorifics, others don't. Just go in there with an open mind and remember that there may be some similarities between what you've done before, but don't rely on it.
 

Martial D

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I'll be going to my first BJJ class tomorrow night. I'm excited but nervous; I don't know what to expect. From the description on the website the class is basic, only an hour long so not too strenuous.

But can someone give me some knowledge on BJJ in general? I want to know what I'll be walking into. I do judo, and I believe BJJ practitioners bow in; are there differences? What do I refer to the coaches as?
The BJJ schools I have trained with generally refer to their instructors as..Bill, Joe, Darren, etc. There is a lot less pomp and ceremony than most traditional martial arts.

Usually the classes consist of stretching, light warm ups, drilling some basics like falling/shrimping etc, learning a technique or two and rolling with a partner to get a feel of what you've just been shown while the instructor walks around and gives advice and correction.
 

Charlemagne

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All of this really depends on where you are at. I've been at places where the instructor asked me not to call him "sir" or "professor" and I've been at places where that was expected. I've been at places where you were expected to bow in and out, bow to your partner before and after drilling or rolling, and to turn around to fix your belt and gi; and, I've been at places where if I turned around to fix my belt and gi someone asked me if I was OK.

Since you have a background in Judo, you will likely be fine from a conditioning perspective and if it is a Fundamentals class, will likely see much that is familiar, albeit taught in a different way.

Where are you going to go? Have fun with it!
 

Tony Dismukes

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There's a significant degree of variance in the culture/etiquette of different BJJ schools, but on average things tend to be significantly less formal than in most Japanese arts.

Some schools expect you to bow went entering or leaving the mat as you would in Judo, but these are in the minority. It's reasonably common to bow at the start and/or end of class, but when that happens it's generally just a quick line up and bow following the instructor's lead (as opposed to a more involved ritual such as "kneel, bow to the instructor, bow to the picture of the founder, bow to the flag, blah, blah, blah" that you might find in some Japanese arts). Generally if you just follow the example of the students around you you'll be fine.

Instructors are typically referred to by their first name or "coach." In some schools the instructor might be called "Professor" (which is just Portuguese for "teacher" or "sensei", but this is less common.

At my gym, the common procedures look something like the following:

Class begins with the instructor calling everyone in attendance to circle up, we're getting started. Typically we'll go through some light warm ups, then the instructor will demonstrate 2-3 techniques and have students pair up to practice those techniques. After that comes rolling (live newaza sparring, most commonly) or some other live drill (such as pass/sweep, trying to escape a bad position, or fighting for takedowns). When starting to roll with a new partner*, usually we begin with a handslap and fist bump. At the end of class, students line up according to rank, the teacher and students bow to each other, and then the teacher walks down the line giving each student and handshake and hug. The student at the head of the line follows the leader so that everybody ends up shaking everybody's hand.

The above is typical at our school, but not set in stone. Sometimes the teacher might add a bow-in at the start of class. Sometimes we'll skip the bow out. Sometimes we'll mix up the class format a bit. Generally you'll be okay if you just go with the flow and watch the folks around you.

*(In some schools the instructor will tell you who to roll with, in other schools you just grab whoever is nearby. Some schools have a rule that lower belts aren't allowed to ask black belts to roll, which I find obnoxious.)

(BTW - we're not much on proclaiming "Oss" at our school. I've been to schools where everybody does that and it seems kind of silly to me.)
 
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stingrae

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Thanks guys! From what I've seen in videos on the website the instructors look like they know what they're doing.

I'm just a bit on edge because I tried a place close to home and didn't like it. Not necessarily the teaching style, but before I was even on the mat the coach said he was going to "reform" my skills. Now to me, that's not only assuming my skills before I've even demonstrated anything but disrespectful to my coaches.
 

Buka

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Just go and enjoy yourself, you're going to love it.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I'm just a bit on edge because I tried a place close to home and didn't like it. Not necessarily the teaching style, but before I was even on the mat the coach said he was going to "reform" my skills. Now to me, that's not only assuming my skills before I've even demonstrated anything but disrespectful to my coaches.
Yeah, that's kind of arrogant. I always like having experienced Judo practitioners join us because I figure I can pick their brains, not because I want to show them my way is better.
 

Headhunter

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There's a significant degree of variance in the culture/etiquette of different BJJ schools, but on average things tend to be significantly less formal than in most Japanese arts.

Some schools expect you to bow went entering or leaving the mat as you would in Judo, but these are in the minority. It's reasonably common to bow at the start and/or end of class, but when that happens it's generally just a quick line up and bow following the instructor's lead (as opposed to a more involved ritual such as "kneel, bow to the instructor, bow to the picture of the founder, bow to the flag, blah, blah, blah" that you might find in some Japanese arts). Generally if you just follow the example of the students around you you'll be fine.

Instructors are typically referred to by their first name or "coach." In some schools the instructor might be called "Professor" (which is just Portuguese for "teacher" or "sensei", but this is less common.

At my gym, the common procedures look something like the following:

Class begins with the instructor calling everyone in attendance to circle up, we're getting started. Typically we'll go through some light warm ups, then the instructor will demonstrate 2-3 techniques and have students pair up to practice those techniques. After that comes rolling (live newaza sparring, most commonly) or some other live drill (such as pass/sweep, trying to escape a bad position, or fighting for takedowns). When starting to roll with a new partner*, usually we begin with a handslap and fist bump. At the end of class, students line up according to rank, the teacher and students bow to each other, and then the teacher walks down the line giving each student and handshake and hug. The student at the head of the line follows the leader so that everybody ends up shaking everybody's hand.

The above is typical at our school, but not set in stone. Sometimes the teacher might add a bow-in at the start of class. Sometimes we'll skip the bow out. Sometimes we'll mix up the class format a bit. Generally you'll be okay if you just go with the flow and watch the folks around you.

*(In some schools the instructor will tell you who to roll with, in other schools you just grab whoever is nearby. Some schools have a rule that lower belts aren't allowed to ask black belts to roll, which I find obnoxious.)

(BTW - we're not much on proclaiming "Oss" at our school. I've been to schools where everybody does that and it seems kind of silly to me.)
Yeah at my club we don't bow just straight into warm ups but we do do the hand shake thing at the end. Our instructor explained it as a way to get everyone to basically acknowledge everyone and if there was any bad feelings on the mat or something got to heated its a way to shake hands and move on and leave it on the mat
 

kuniggety

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BJJ is Basically Just Judo but inverted in that the focus is on the ground work instead of the standing work. Everything you learned in judo is allowed in BJJ except some of the things that have been removed in judo due to the Olympic styling such as single leg and double leg take downs are still prominently used in BJJ. Due to the focus on the ground work, you'll probably be leagues ahead of higher belts in your takedowns/throws. BJJ has really fleshed out a lot of different guards for controlling folks from the bottom that work better for some folks than others. You'll learn a lot of closed guard and half guard in the beginning but later you'll learn variances on the half guard and an assortment of open guards: butterfly, de la riva, reverse de la riva, single x, double x, lasso, etc.

I've never been to a BJJ school that has been anymore formal than just bowing in and out at the beginning/end of class respectively. You usually shake hands with everyone at the end and here (a school in Hawaii), we all hug. The coaches are all called coach. When I trained in Japan, my instructor was called either sensei or Professor (as he was Portuguese).
 
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stingrae

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Update: it went great! Aside from turning on my stomach during a roll (big no-no, apparently) I held my own and I'll definitely be going back.
 
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stingrae

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Yeah turn towards them for now.

Just wondering, why is turning on my stomach bad? I hope this isn't like asking why it's bad to be on your back in judo, because then I'll feel stupid. But wouldn't giving your back be better in a self defense situation, protecting your face and head and such? Or does it have to do with points in competition?
 
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