Are you about to join a Jiu-Jitsu academy soon? If you are, let us first congratulate you on making a big step towards your physical fitness and self-confidence.
Many seasoned martial artists will tell you that Jiu-Jitsu is more complex than other martial arts. It’s mostly about technique rather than strength and size.
You don’t need to be intimidated, though. Jiu-Jitsu mixes both challenge and fun in one package.
If you want to get the most out of your journey, you might want to read forward. Here are a few essential tips and tricks for Jiu-Jitsu that will help you improve your game.
Table of Contents
- 1 )Pick A Good Gym
- 2) Warm-Up Before Every Class
- 3) Take It Slow
- 4) Try To Specialize In Your Favorite Technique/Position
- 5) Learn To Tap
- 6) Don’t Forget To Rest Up
- 7) Spar As Much As You Can
- 8) Limber Up
- 9) Get Good Equipment
- 10) Continue Learning Outside The Gym
- 11) Stick To The Basics
- 12) Ask Questions
- 13) Read The Rules
- 14) Leave Your Ego At The Door
1 )Pick A Good Gym
If you want to be the best, you will need to learn from the best. A reputable Jiu-Jitsu gym shouldn’t be afraid to show off its lineage.
To put it simply, this refers to who trained the instructors in your gym and what grappling system they come from.
Some established families in Jiu-Jitsu include:
Apart from their lineage, it would help if you also looked into the certificates that a gym’s coaches have.
It would also help if you looked for medals and awards inside the gym too.
Besides their instructors, it’s essential to check out the quality of the gym’s facilities. Is it near your home? Are the mats, bathrooms, and other facilities clean?
Don’t be afraid to read reviews online or even inspect the gym you’re interested in at first before signing up for classes.
Joining the right gym is one of the most basic tips and tricks for Jiu-Jitsu, but you’ll be surprised by how often people just stick to the first place they found online without giving it a second thought. Even if they suck.
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2) Warm-Up Before Every Class
Don’t jump into drills or sparring without warming up first. This increases the likelihood of injuries, and it can make your body stiffer as well.
All Jiu-Jitsu classes begin with a 10-15 minute warm-up session. This includes a light jog around the mats, as well as rolling drills, and a few stretching exercises.
Follow your instructor’s warm-up routine very well as it can save you from many complications with your body.
3) Take It Slow
If you’ve taken a Boxing class before, you might be surprised by how “slow-paced” a Jiu-Jitsu class really is.
On your first day of Boxing, you’ll learn the basics of footwork, stances, and the elemental punches. In Jiu-Jitsu, you’re most likely to be taught 1-2 techniques per class.
You’ll be asked to repeat the same techniques, but that’s how Jiu-Jitsu classes are.
Take things slow and don’t rush technique executions. You must allow your body to memorize the movements until they become second instinct.
4) Try To Specialize In Your Favorite Technique/Position
The great Bruce Lee once said — “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Brian Ortega is a master of the triangle choke. Eddie Bravo is a beast on the butterfly guard. It can be tempting to learn various techniques to improve your arsenal.
However, practicing and mastering a couple of techniques often leads to more success in competition.
Choose one position and one submission you’re comfortable with and practice them repeatedly.
Try to create a flow on how you can get to these positions as well. Once you master specific techniques, you can pull them off easily during competition.
5) Learn To Tap
One of the biggest mistakes you can make inside a gym or during a competition is not tapping.
It’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu. You can think of losing as a means of learning something new in the sport.
If you don’t tap, you might get put to sleep which isn’t safe. Worst-case scenario, you can get injured as well. Learn from the experience and apply the lessons your next time on the mat or in competition.
6) Don’t Forget To Rest Up
Jiu-Jitsu is very tiring. You’re using your entire body, and you’ll often be squished by people that are just as heavy or heavier than you.
One of the last things you should do is force yourself to train or compete when you’re not feeling well.
On your first day of class, your knees, legs, and other joints will likely be sore the morning after. Make sure to rest well before heading back out to train.
If you have had any injuries in the past, make sure to inform your instructor ahead. You wouldn’t want to have those injuries grow worse over time.
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7) Spar As Much As You Can
Each drill class is usually followed by an open mat session where you can roll with every other student.
Take this as an opportunity to apply the skills you learned in actual scenarios. Rolling is what’s going to help you further understand the techniques that you learn during class.
When choosing a partner, don’t be afraid to go toe-to-toe with students who are more experienced than you every once in a while. The idea is that you challenge yourself, and they’ll teach you things along the way.
But also, once you get at least decent at BJJ keep practicing your techniques with people with less experience. More advanced students have fewer gaps in their defense, making it hard for you to land even your best techniques.
Repetition is critical, and rolling with lower belts could be an exceptional opportunity to test and effectively land several techniques.
But, there are risks with that approach. More experienced students also have more control over their movements than new ones, so you’re safer in their hands.
8) Limber Up
Flexibility plays a massive role in Jiu-Jitsu. Aside from making it harder to submit, flexibility lets you secure positions and submissions a lot easier.
For these reasons, fighters like George St. Pierre takes up Yoga or Gymnastics as it’s a great supplemental activity.
You don’t need to learn how to split or anything.
A good routine would be reaching your toes while standing up. This stretches out the ligaments behind your knees and on your arms. It also helps your back become more flexible too.
After doing that, sit down with your legs as far apart as possible. Touch both toes alternatively.
You might feel stiffness or some sharp pain when doing these exercises, especially if it’s your first time doing it. As you make this a habit, you’ll notice that you can do these exercises a lot easier.
We have a fantastic selection of Yoga stretches in our how to get more flexible for MMA guide. Check it out for more detailed info.
9) Get Good Equipment
You don’t need a lot of equipment in Jiu-Jitsu. With what you need, you must invest in the best quality possible.
If you’re planning on focusing on the gi, don’t buy cheap uniforms. Get ones from brands like Hayabusa, Shoyoroll, and Tatami. There is affordable gis out there, but these can quickly rip apart. Worst, they can cause skin irritation as well.
The same goes for buying fight shorts and rashguards when it comes to no-gi.
Aside from this, you might also want to invest in protective gear such as knee braces. These can help lessen the pain in your joints.
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10) Continue Learning Outside The Gym
If you’re planning on taking Jiu-Jitsu seriously, then you need to go beyond the gym when it comes to learning new techniques. There are books and online classes that teach you more about Jiu-Jitsu. Aside from techniques, you can also find ways to make your body fitter for the sport.
There are a few fantastic channels on YouTube that can be a great source of additional techniques:
11) Stick To The Basics
Pulling off flashy submissions like Twister and a Bow and Arrow Choke is exciting. If you’re still new to the game, you’re still years away from pulling off flashy moves. And that’s okay.
Sticking to the basics is what’s going to make your Jiu-Jitsu journey more productive. At the beginning of your trip, try not to focus on making your sparring partner submit.
Instead, focus on securing positions, getting better at control, and escaping from submissions.
12) Ask Questions
A Jiu-Jitsu class is the same as any class you’ve been to. The instructor guides you through a set of techniques. Students like yourself are going to apply those techniques in drill training.
That said, don’t be afraid to raise your hands and ask questions from the coach. Aside from helping you understand techniques better, you can even learn more things along the way by asking.
13) Read The Rules
Choosing to compete is a significant decision that you’ll have to make already. Before you head out to compete, brushing up on the rules would be a good idea.
The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation IBJJF has set rules for competitions, but some other organizations also include variations on the standards.
Keep in mind that there are different rules between gi and no-gi competitions. The same goes for white belt competitions and colored belt competitions.
14) Leave Your Ego At The Door
You’ll be surprised at how fast you can be humbled inside a Jiu-Jitsu gym.
A guy that’s two times smaller than you can land a submission with the proper technique. Don’t forget to leave your ego at the door and stay respectful on the mats.
You’ll create bonds and friendships on the mats with the right attitude. While you’re going to be alone in the competition, remember that the people who’ll coach you are your teammates and brothers inside the gym.
By staying humble, you’ll earn everyone’s respect just as you’ll earn theirs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind inside the gym:
- Keep your shoes OFF THE MAT.
- Greet your teammates and your coaches when you enter and leave the gym.
- Don’t be late.
- Don’t be a bully and roll lightly with lesser experienced students.
- The technique first and strength second during sparring.
Your time in Jiu-Jitsu is going to be filled with challenges, as well as ups and downs. Whether you’re doing it casually or have plans on competing, it’s a long and challenging journey.
With these tips above, you can have a better time and focus more on improving your craft.