How to Sign Up for a Free Trial Jiu Jitsu Class and What to Expect on Your First Day at a BJJ Gym

After reading my last blog post, I have successfully convinced you, with my incredible hypnotic powers of persuasion, to join a free trial jiu jitsu class. Now you want to see what all the fuss is about. You want to know why everyone is having so much fun without you. Don’t worry, I got you.

Here is how you sign up for a free trial jiu jitsu class…

  1. Go to Google Search and type in, “Jiu Jitsu in (your city)
  2. Search the list of academies that come up in the results. Just pick any of them to start.
  3. Go to the webpage or Facebook page of the bjj academy. Read the posts, look at the pictures. See if it looks like a place you might enjoy going to. (If they do not have a webpage or Facebook page, try a different academy).
  4. Locate the ‘Contact’ page or section on their website or Facebook.
  5. FB Message, Email, or Call the academy and ask if they have free trial bjj classes. Say “Hi, my name is (your name) and I am interested in trying out a free trial bjj class. Do you have any coming up soon?” If they say “Yes” then get the time and date of the next free trial class and say, “Thanks! I’ll see you there.” and hang up. Nice and short and sweet. Same goes for a Facebook DM or Email.
  6. Go to the free trial BJJ class!

Items you will need for the free trial Jiu Jitsu class…

  1. Active wear. Shorts and a t-shirt. It’s okay that you don’t have a Gi since it’s your first class. You may even have signed up for a No Gi class which would be great because most people wear similar attire like shorts and a tee (instead of a tee they call it a Rash Guard, it’s like a compression shirt for sports).
  2. Gym bag. Inside your gym bag should be a change of clothes, a water bottle, and flip flops/sandals. The flip flops/sandals are for when you are not on the mat and walking around the academy. It’s not a good idea to walk around when off the mats in bare feet as you could get bacteria on your feet and then bring it on the mat with you. You will take your flip flops/sandals off before going on to the mat.
  3. A good attitude! You made it all the way to the mat, you’re almost there.

You have your tee and shorts on and you just took off your flip flops/sandals and walked on to the mat. Now what? I’ve only been to one BJJ gym since joining a year and a half ago. But from what I’ve heard, they are basically the same.

Here’s what to expect at your first bjj class…

  1. As a brand new participant, you may notice people lining up against the wall. They are lining up in their respective belt ranks. Higher belts at one end, all the way down to the no-stripe white belts. It goes, Brown, Purple, Blue, White. I’ve never seen a black belt line up, even ones that were visiting our gym, not sure why but for the most part, the line up will be by rank. Since you don’t have a belt yet, you will go at the very end last spot. The gym might have a loner Gi with belt (I would recommend politely declining to wear the loner as I bet you’d feel more comfy in your own clothes), but you will still be at the very end of the line. Don’t let this dissuade you, it’s just the beginning. We’ve all been there.
  2. The head instructor will be standing in front of everyone in the middle of the mats. They will say their spiel, like welcoming everyone there and say what techniques everyone will be working on that day. Then everyone bows to the head instructor. Note: not every gym is as strict or by the book with how they incorporate the intricacies of addressing one another or doing everything by the book. But when in doubt, just call the head instructor “coach” and be polite and follow everyone else’s lead. If the head instructor demands that you call them “professor”, that is potentially a sign of a cult and I would not go back there.
  3. After you and everyone bows or after the head instructor says their spiel, now it’s time for a warm-up. In the gym I go to, which is a Gracie Barra (it’s quite chill, for example we don’t have to bow before going on or coming off the mats, people do bow but we aren’t required) for our warms-ups we run back and forth across the mats, jogging forwards, backwards, sideways, knees up, kicking legs back, then sliding on our butts back and forth, maybe some rolling forward and back wards but not always. It depends on your gym but if you can make it through the warm-ups, the rest of the class is a breeze.
  4. After warm-up, is some simple stretching. Usually focused on the body parts that you will be using most that day.
  5. After the stretching, the head instructor will demonstrate on a participate, the techniques you will be learning that day. Everyone stands or sits or kneels and watches.
  6. Here comes the fun part: finding a partner. I get it, this can be hard for some people. But don’t think about it too much. Just look around for someone that is roughly the same weight as you, lock eyes with them and say, “You want to partner up?” In my experience 10/10 times the person will say Yes. Just go for it!
  7. Now the fun really begins! Now you will be working on the techniques on your partner. You’ll take turns trying the moves on each other.

Tips for surviving your first day at a BJJ class…

  1. Have fun.
  2. Be polite.
  3. Talk to people. If you want, you can tell people this is your first class and your excited but nervous. That’s okay.
  4. Respect the Tap. There are a few ways you or your partner can tell each other that you submit to their technique because it is staring to hurt you. You can tap them a few times with one of your hands, you can stomp with your feet on the mat if your hands aren’t available, or you can verbally say the word “Tap” and they will let go. If your partner does any of those, you let go of them immediately. So you can both continue practicing the techniques safely.
  5. Ask questions. If you have a question, ask! Let your partner know you are new and ask if you are “doing it right.”
  6. Don’t give advice. Yes, you may have watched tons of MMA and you used to wrestled back in the day. But this isn’t the time to show off. By all means, if you remember what the head instructor said, word for word, when they were showing the technique, then go ahead. But I would always defer to telling your partner to ask the head instructor or a higher belt.
  7. Survive. Even if it’s your first day, it might be a class that has live rolling/sparring. Remember, you’re basically fighting a stranger. If it’s your first time it’s going to feel weird. Your body will go into Fight Or Flight mode. Your breathing will become erratic and you will panic. THIS IS NORMAL. Just stay with it, remember the little bit of training you have, and respect the tap and tap early and tap often. Try not to think of tapping as quitting or losing, think of it as a restart, you get to restart and try the techniques again.

All these lists are a general guide to your first day at a BJJ class. It’ll probably be a bit different, but for the most part, it will have most of the elements from the lists above in one way or another.

I think it’s great that you have decided to try a free trial jiu jitsu class and you should be proud of yourself, most people don’t do this!

Also let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear about it!

Here’s a great twitter thread about becoming a bjj beginner…


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