Like with any martial art, really getting into Brazilian jiu-jitsu can seem like a difficult, perhaps even insurmountable task at first. All the graceful moves, the throws, and grapples can be intimidating to watch, and even more so to perform. However, every master and pro fighter had to start somewhere, and we have the benefit of them sharing their experiences to help you get started. Some of the most important things to learn when starting involve the social nature of BJJ; here are some tips to assist you as a beginner in a BJJ class.

First, you must be a good partner. When well-executed, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is very safe to practice. A lot of time and effort is devoted to learning how to fall, and how to take care of your opponent as you execute a throw or grapple. Much of this, of course, depends on you trusting your partner and being trustworthy in turn. Be light in demeanor but remain firm, trust in your instructor’s teaching and follow it to the letter, and don’t be too rough! You’re there to learn from each other, not compete for dominance.

Second, you need to make it past the first few months. To do this, you’ll definitely want to make friends. Get a few regular drilling partners whom you trust and don’t judge anyone by their appearances – coming to learn BJJ means learning how to fall, be grappled and thrown to the ground, and this requires a little humility in everyone. No matter how scary or intimidating someone might look, give them the benefit of the doubt. And of course, keep your hygiene at its best! – You’ll be in very close proximity to these people for the rest of your time as a BJJ student, and you don’t want to leave a bad impression.

Finally, after you’ve settled in, you’ll want to keep going. You might find yourself hungry for more techniques to learn and this could lead to you neglecting your basics. Don’t! Instead, keep training with those you’ve developed camaraderie with over the months or years. Learn from each other and develop relationships together. That’s how you move from surviving to thriving.

Do you have any other tips for starting in BJJ?