Beginners Guide to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
By Girls in Gis
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) has quickly become one of the most sought-after martial arts worldwide, and for those that have ventured onto the mats and given it a go you quickly realize why. Not only is it an incredible work out and one of the most efficient forms of self-defense (especially for women), it is also a very powerful tool that can teach us so much about ourselves, life, and it can also improve our mental health. The benefits of training can go on and on. But where do you start? What should you expect? Here are a few helpful tips to help you begin your BJJ journey.
1. JUST DO IT
Step number one is to just do it! Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be intimidating for some. For some women, the idea of rolling around in pajamas with sweaty men isn’t at the top of our lists, but it can be one of the best decisions of our lives. There is no secret when it comes to being good at BJJ other than to just keep showing up, keep grinding, and keep tapping. To get better at BJJ you just have to do it!
2. WHAT YOU WILL NEED
When first starting BJJ don’t, worry about having the best of the best when it comes to gi and no gi gear. The most expensive doesn’t always equate to being the best for everyone. Finding a gi that fits your body type can be challenging, but there are plenty of options. Some companies sell gi tops and bottoms separately. There are a lot of reviews you can find online when looking for a gi or no gi gear. As far as what to wear under your gi, there are a lot of options. Some like to wear just a sports bra while others like to wear rash guards or t-shirts. Wear whatever your preference is. Just beware that friction can make your sports bras and t-shirts come off easier and potentially cause mishaps. Speaking of mishaps, when rolling your pants will tend to come untied and come off as well. Wearing spats or vale tudo shorts under your gi pants will solve this problem. We strongly encouraged you to fill your gym bag with hair ties, a nail clipper, make up remover, athletic tape, and a period bag (pads, tampons or diva cup). You can never have enough hair ties and it is better to have your period supplies ready just in case you need them.
If you haven’t realized it by now, BJJ is up close and personal. Having poor hygiene will NOT go unnoticed. Some basic hygiene in BJJ is to wash your gi and gear after every use. Not only will this prevent you from being the stinky person in class, it also helps prevent the spread of bacteria and skin infections like ringworm and staph. You should always shower after class. Wearing makeup on the mats can be a controversial issue because it can be difficult to get out of gi material and of the mats. There are some makeups that don’t run or smudge, as well as some nail polish that doesn’t smear. But a fool proof plan is to have make up remover in your gym bag as a staple. This will prevent unwanted stains on your gi as well as others.
4. LET GO OF THE EGO
We see signs on the walls of academies that say, “Leave your ego at the door”, but truth be told that is virtually impossible to do. We all have ego and letting it go is easier said than done. But what we can do is be aware of when that ego is the driving force. Be aware of when it is overriding reason, safety and inhibiting learning. Your ego can hold you back more than anyone else can. So, learning to be self-aware will teach you to check yourself when needed.
5. EMBRACE THE SUCK
No one knows what they are doing when they first start training. You will get destroyed time and time again. You will cry, you will want to quit, you will get your ego bruised. Just like anything that you want to get good at, you must suck at it first. But trust us, the benefits will be worth it. BJJ will teach you body awareness, discipline, self-confidence, healthy habits, and it will change your life.
6. ASK QUESTIONS & BUILD A FOUNDATION
Any time you are learning something new you should always ask questions if you have them. But there is a fine line between asking questions and not paying attention. We all do it. We all zone out in class from time to time or struggle with grasping the movement or concepts behind the technique. It is just as important to open your ears and give your time at BJJ you full attention. Sure, all the flashy BJJ moves you watch on Youtube look amazing, but baby steps, my friend. Dedicate your focus to mastering the basics. Mastering anything takes thousands of hours. Eventually you will build up the muscle memory to where these moves become instinctual. You have to learn how to walk before you can run. You have to build a foundation first.
7. GET COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE
The trick to surviving Jiu- Jitsu is learning how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Getting comfortable with not always being in control. It teaches you how to stay calm and push through.
8. OBSTACLES + STRUGGLES
No matter who you are, your background or your lifestyle, Jiu-Jitsu is filled with unavoidable obstacles and challenges. You will get frustrated, you will want to quit, and you will cry. However, over time you will come to accept that these challenges and setbacks are a part of the process and a huge opportunity to learn. Although no two journeys are alike, there are a lot of similarities when it comes to the struggles that accompany living the jiu jitsu lifestyle. Having a strong support system makes these challenges more bearable. You will quickly find out that you are not alone.
9. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Comparing yourself to others will bring you nothing but misery and deter you from your own journey. This is a trap. The more you focus on others’ journeys the less you will on your own. Your lessons and experiences are unique to you. This is no one else’s journey but your own. Belts and stripes do not determine your value or measure your success. They are there to mark milestones. What you make of the time and learn between those milestones are what matters most. That is the real prize. By all means celebrate your successes and mark your milestones, but don’t measure your self-value against them.
10. BE PATIENT
Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. Be patient. Trust the process. Enjoy the journey. There is no destination; what you seek is along the way.
Our printed magazine is full of extraordinary women with extraordinary stories, get your printed copy via mail today >