First bjj lesson

day1

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Hi everyone - I went to my 1st BJJ lesson last month, it was a trial lesson and I did enjoy it. I have been thinking about it ever since, I have not been back or signed up but am toying with the idea.

There is something Id like to ask and see if anyone could discuss it in a way to help me understand.

I have trained muay thai for 2 years and I love it, Ive always wanted to try bjj. With muay thai I have been taking private 1 to 1 lessons twice a week. When I came away from the 1st MT lesson I had learnt something, when I came away from the 2nd I had also learnt something.

With the BJJ lesson I was interested in finding somewhere I could learn privately but I have not been able to so I went to a normal open class where you are paired off and train together. It is quite a new gym so most people there have not been long.

The instructor was demoing things to us and we would then, in our pairs try our best to repeat what he showed us.... The person I was paird with had been going for around 2 months, I am not sure of the names of the techniques we did but the issue I had was that neither of us had a clue. We could not repeat the efforteless movment that was shown to us and we sort of just strugged about on the floor trying to do stuff. At one point the instructor did come over to us and spend a few min showng us how to do the technique and when he walked us through it the move went perfect, effortless and with no strenght at all, it was just a breeze...... then he left us to it an we went back to struggling and clearly doing it wrong.

My question is how effectively can you actually learn like this? We were not able to do the tactic and were just doing it wrong over and over. I think if I could have had the hour with the trainer directly showing me the moves I would have come away with something and obviously 1 to 1 would give much, much quicker progress.

My questions is basically how effectively can anyone learn in that sort of a setup - it could be a totally different art butI keep thinking I actually learnt nothing in that class and liekly just spent a hour doing a few moves wrong.

I could have been spoiled by having private mt coaching and maybe if I went to a general mt class I could be of the same opinion.

Can anyone shed any light on this for me/let me know if my 1st lesson is what you would consider normal?
 

Buka

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Group classes will help you more than private instruction. And please don't worry about being lost, being clueless, messing things up.....it's part of the process. There is not a road map off 1,2,3 let's see how good I can be.

You'll be fine, honest, just keep going. As the weeks turn to months, as newer students join in and you see how lost they are, you'll start to relax and think, "yeah, I know just how that felt."

Just keep going, brother. Keep going until the lightbulb goes on. And, please, please, please trust me on something - If you wait a few years, get some good time under your belt - that's when a private lesson will be worth your while. Train diligently for five years....then think about taking a private or two. You'll get some goodies in your bag that will make you say, "heh, heh, I can't wait for class."

And if you don't have time to put in the years....we shouldn't even be having this conversation.

Just go to class, bro, it will be okay. Honest.
 
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day1

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Thanks - nice reply and it does put me at ease somewhat. My worry was "can this approah actually work Im rolling with someone who has no idea and I have no idea ether, with MT the other guy showed me stuff and I did it then I improved".

Okay watch this space, lets see how its looking in 6 months!
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Honestly, you can. That's pretty typical in BJJ in my opinion. You have the space to try and struggle and fail, and as you (slowly) learn new techniques, you'll learn how to put the other stuff together and improve your game as a whole rather than piecemeal.

Imagine learning a vocab list and some basic grammer rules in spanish, and then being expected to have a conversation. The first few times you try it, you'll fail. Horribly. But having that experience of trying to figure it out and constantly working at it will help when at some point you realize it actually did become easier. Versus studying specific phrases, only using those phrases, and then moving on to the next ones, and eventually combining them. Both methods work, but if you can stick with it, the first method IMO gives you more mental flexibility.

It's the same thing here, and BJJ has the leeway to f-up a lot since you're not really going to hurt each other unlike muay thai or other striking/throwing arts, where you have to go for the second method out of safety concerns.
 

dunc

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It does take time - kinda like learning to swim (or in the case of starting BJJ not drowning)

My advice to beginners is to focus on closed guard, break posture and cross choke (if you can get people into your closed guard then even a beginner can cause trouble for folk) and escapes from bottom (mount & side control) into closed guard (because you’ll spend a lot of time underneath people to start with)
Try Stephan Kesting‘s youtube channel - he does a great job of teaching beginners - and find the choke from closed guard and one escape from side control and one escape from mount and try to get them down for the next month or so

121 privates will help you any time, even as a complete beginner, as the instructor can focus on helping you for your circumstances
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Im rolling with someone who has no idea and I have no idea ether,
I don't like this kind of learning process. I want to learn a principle. I then want to learn how to map that principle into techniques.

You will never be able to figure out how to do a hip throw by wrestling with someone who doesn't know anything.

For skill development, you need an environment that your opponent will feed you that opportunity so you can try your principle/technique over and over. In other words, your opponent needs to know what you want to develop. You also need to know what you want to develop.

A blind leads another blind will not go anywhere.
 
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dunc

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I think a key part of this is that @day1 is also training with a beginner
It changes a lot if you can pair up with someone with more experience
Not sure if the academy in question does specific sparring, but that‘s the best way to develop skill in my view
 

Flying Crane

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As a new gym, the teacher may not have a lot of teaching experience and may still be figuring out what approach is most effective. So perhaps there is some growth that needs to happen there.

however, I believe that beginners training together can definitely grow, as long as they are getting good guidance. Beyond that, I doubt I am in a position to comment because I don’t train BJJ and I haven’t witnessed a class at this gym.
 

WaterGal

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I've been training in BJJ on and off for a few years (pesky injuries and global emergencies keep getting in the way lol), and my experience has been that the first time you learn a new technique, it's like "what is this????" and you struggle to do it correctly, and then the next time you see it you do better, and after a few times you build muscle memory and feel comfortable with it.

However, there can also be a lot of variation in the teaching skills of different martial arts instructors. Just because someone is good at doing a skill, doesn't mean they're necessarily very good at teaching other people how to do it. Those are two different skill sets. It's possible that the instructor at this new gym just isn't very experienced at explaining the techniques yet, and that's part of why you were so confused.
 
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day1

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So I followed the advice here and went back at the weekend. I thought Id drop an update here as it was very different.
Again there was very little time or attention from the trainer but I was rolling with a whitebelt who had been at the gym since it opened. He helped me a little with the techniques and we drilled 3 things, 2 of them seemed to come quite easily, one of them so much so I asked him if he was helping me (jumping over my shoulder as I threw him) but he assured me he was not but it was pretty effortless.

One of the drills was on the floor and I was just a mess, all over the place and didnt get close to anything, I dont know what I was doing.

But it was a very different experience to the 1st time.

Also - at the end of the lesson we started at half control and rolled with one another, this guy tossed me around like you would not believe. Every time it just felt like he got lucky with just one little thing that got the upper hand on me but he was a different class. I cant tell if he was stronger than me or not it did feel like he was using a lot of strenght and weight but it migth have been technique I couldnt say for sure.

I spoke to him after and he had been going 3-4 times a week since he started.

It was a way better lesson, I think a lot will depend on who I get to roll with and obviously going more often will mean I am more likely to get a good person. Im 6'7 so I think generally I will get paired up with the same people as they seem to put us up against people of the same height.

Anyhow - thanks for the notes above everyone
 

Buka

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So I followed the advice here and went back at the weekend. I thought Id drop an update here as it was very different.
Again there was very little time or attention from the trainer but I was rolling with a whitebelt who had been at the gym since it opened. He helped me a little with the techniques and we drilled 3 things, 2 of them seemed to come quite easily, one of them so much so I asked him if he was helping me (jumping over my shoulder as I threw him) but he assured me he was not but it was pretty effortless.

One of the drills was on the floor and I was just a mess, all over the place and didnt get close to anything, I dont know what I was doing.

But it was a very different experience to the 1st time.

Also - at the end of the lesson we started at half control and rolled with one another, this guy tossed me around like you would not believe. Every time it just felt like he got lucky with just one little thing that got the upper hand on me but he was a different class. I cant tell if he was stronger than me or not it did feel like he was using a lot of strenght and weight but it migth have been technique I couldnt say for sure.

I spoke to him after and he had been going 3-4 times a week since he started.

It was a way better lesson, I think a lot will depend on who I get to roll with and obviously going more often will mean I am more likely to get a good person. Im 6'7 so I think generally I will get paired up with the same people as they seem to put us up against people of the same height.

Anyhow - thanks for the notes above everyone
Just keep at it, brother, one day at a time. It gets more fun the more you go. And keep us posted, think of that as a notebook for yourself.
 

Hanzou

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I don't like this kind of learning process. I want to learn a principle. I then want to learn how to map that principle into techniques.

You will never be able to figure out how to do a hip throw by wrestling with someone who doesn't know anything.

For skill development, you need an environment that your opponent will feed you that opportunity so you can try your principle/technique over and over. In other words, your opponent needs to know what you want to develop. You also need to know what you want to develop.

A blind leads another blind will not go anywhere.

Only if that’s the type of training partner you’d end up with every single time you train. Typically what ends up happening is that you get a wide variety of training partners at varying levels of skill. The randomness of the partner also develops skill. Sure, you might encounter a partner who has never trained before, but that partner might also outweigh you by 50lbs and have a wrestling background. It’s important to test what you learned against someone like that, regardless of if you’re a black belt, or a white belt still doing their trial classes.

In addition, I have yet to see an academy that doesn’t rotate training partners while rolling.
 

Ramblingitalian

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There's a saying in BJJ which is 'just keep showing up' and things will eventually click. As others have said, try to do group sessions/sparring which is where your learning will improve. Watching videos at home won't hurt either so long as it's just the basics and nothing fancy.
 
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day1

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Im a few lessons in now and I left the gym laughing, remember the above post, basically "how can I learn anything when the guy I am up against has no clue so we both just make no progress". Well on Sunday I was up against the most experienced guy in the class who was a 3 stripe white belt.
I got absolutely tossed all over when we were rolling he was taking top position from guard and breaking my guard and wrapping me up every few seconds, I think he was much stronger than me but I dont know for sure..... But I left today thinking to myself, "how can I expect to learn anything if I am up against someone so good" - the opposite of the above, as this thougth went through my mind I started laughing..... I guess it all just takes time.


But it has lead me to another question now, I see lots of talk of "how good is a blue belt" and what happens if a black belt gets in a street fight - all that nonesense but the question I have I have never seen anywhere......

Should a 3 stripe white belt be able to absolutely toss around and manhandle a newbie? If so thats quite motivational as that is a goal that is not years and years away (I hope!).

Thanks fot reading again if you made it to the end
 

drop bear

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Im a few lessons in now and I left the gym laughing, remember the above post, basically "how can I learn anything when the guy I am up against has no clue so we both just make no progress". Well on Sunday I was up against the most experienced guy in the class who was a 3 stripe white belt.
I got absolutely tossed all over when we were rolling he was taking top position from guard and breaking my guard and wrapping me up every few seconds, I think he was much stronger than me but I dont know for sure..... But I left today thinking to myself, "how can I expect to learn anything if I am up against someone so good" - the opposite of the above, as this thougth went through my mind I started laughing..... I guess it all just takes time.


But it has lead me to another question now, I see lots of talk of "how good is a blue belt" and what happens if a black belt gets in a street fight - all that nonesense but the question I have I have never seen anywhere......

Should a 3 stripe white belt be able to absolutely toss around and manhandle a newbie? If so thats quite motivational as that is a goal that is not years and years away (I hope!).

Thanks fot reading again if you made it to the end

Look. A 3 stripe white tosses around noobs untill he doesn't.

There is a saying that there are no lies on the mat.

And that means at any time you can be caught out or dominated by anyone. And that is just the risk you run by doing an art that doesn't protect its upper ranks from loss.

But you will get used to that as well.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Im a few lessons in now and I left the gym laughing, remember the above post, basically "how can I learn anything when the guy I am up against has no clue so we both just make no progress". Well on Sunday I was up against the most experienced guy in the class who was a 3 stripe white belt.
I got absolutely tossed all over when we were rolling he was taking top position from guard and breaking my guard and wrapping me up every few seconds, I think he was much stronger than me but I dont know for sure..... But I left today thinking to myself, "how can I expect to learn anything if I am up against someone so good" - the opposite of the above, as this thougth went through my mind I started laughing..... I guess it all just takes time.


But it has lead me to another question now, I see lots of talk of "how good is a blue belt" and what happens if a black belt gets in a street fight - all that nonesense but the question I have I have never seen anywhere......

Should a 3 stripe white belt be able to absolutely toss around and manhandle a newbie? If so thats quite motivational as that is a goal that is not years and years away (I hope!).

Thanks fot reading again if you made it to the end
Yeah. Most noobs get absolutely wrecked by someone with even 6 months experience. Which when you get to 6 months experience, you won't realize how much you improved until you go up against a newbie.
 

WaterGal

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Should a 3 stripe white belt be able to absolutely toss around and manhandle a newbie? If so thats quite motivational as that is a goal that is not years and years away (I hope!).

Things like size and strength and athleticism do play a factor, but.... yeah, more or less. I'm a 4-stripe white belt, and also an average-sized woman approaching middle age. You said you were a very big guy. I'm not sure if I could "toss you around" per se, but I feel pretty comfortable that I could at least keep you in a control position. There's a fairly new lady in class who I've been working with sometimes, and I can easily toss her around.
 

dunc

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Im a few lessons in now and I left the gym laughing, remember the above post, basically "how can I learn anything when the guy I am up against has no clue so we both just make no progress". Well on Sunday I was up against the most experienced guy in the class who was a 3 stripe white belt.
I got absolutely tossed all over when we were rolling he was taking top position from guard and breaking my guard and wrapping me up every few seconds, I think he was much stronger than me but I dont know for sure..... But I left today thinking to myself, "how can I expect to learn anything if I am up against someone so good" - the opposite of the above, as this thougth went through my mind I started laughing..... I guess it all just takes time.


But it has lead me to another question now, I see lots of talk of "how good is a blue belt" and what happens if a black belt gets in a street fight - all that nonesense but the question I have I have never seen anywhere......

Should a 3 stripe white belt be able to absolutely toss around and manhandle a newbie? If so thats quite motivational as that is a goal that is not years and years away (I hope!).

Thanks fot reading again if you made it to the end
Yes

All things being equal someone with 6 or so months training under their belt will absolutely dominate a beginner
After a while everyone develops a few techniques that they do well so you’ll find people with less experience become able to threaten their more experienced partners if they get the opportunity to use their ”good techniques”
And over time it becomes something akin to an arms race with your training partners

Also worth noting that all things are never equal. Age, size, athleticism etc all play a role. There’s a saying that each belt nullifies 10 years age or 10 kg. So a 40 year old purple belt should be equal to a 30 year old blue belt of the same weight. Or a 75kg blue belt should be equal to a 65kg purple belt
I don‘t quite subscribe to this as it’s a bit formulaic, but it‘s a good way to illustrate the general principle

Also I’d say that a) not everyone learns at the same speed, but may get graded at the same speed if they put in the same effort (depends on the academy) and b) not all training time is equal: there are definitely more efficient ways to learn than just showing up
 

Buka

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Im a few lessons in now and I left the gym laughing, remember the above post, basically "how can I learn anything when the guy I am up against has no clue so we both just make no progress". Well on Sunday I was up against the most experienced guy in the class who was a 3 stripe white belt.
I got absolutely tossed all over when we were rolling he was taking top position from guard and breaking my guard and wrapping me up every few seconds, I think he was much stronger than me but I dont know for sure..... But I left today thinking to myself, "how can I expect to learn anything if I am up against someone so good" - the opposite of the above, as this thougth went through my mind I started laughing..... I guess it all just takes time.


But it has lead me to another question now, I see lots of talk of "how good is a blue belt" and what happens if a black belt gets in a street fight - all that nonesense but the question I have I have never seen anywhere......

Should a 3 stripe white belt be able to absolutely toss around and manhandle a newbie? If so thats quite motivational as that is a goal that is not years and years away (I hope!).

Thanks fot reading again if you made it to the end
There’s an old saying from baseball, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes you get rained out. But you gotta’ suit up for them all.”

I think it applies in a metaphorical sense to you what you’ll go through over the next hundred classes.

Just show up, get in your uniform and have fun. Everything else will take care of itself.

Man, you’re going to have so much fun.
 
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