Whether you have recently started doing jiu jitsu or are still considering it, we hope these 5 truths for jiu jitsu beginners will help convince you to do it and provide some insights to make your experience better.
#1 – We start learning jiu jitsu in a gi for a reason. No, they aren’t pajamas. 🙂 First things first … it’s pronounced like the “gee” in “geese”. It might seem strange at first when you put on a gi. You might be thinking … “they talk a lot about self defense, but who walks around wearing a gi?” We don’t practice in a gi because it perfectly models street attire. We learn in it because it requires you to be more precise and more technical in your actions. When wearing a gi, it’s harder to use pure strength or athleticism to yank out of a bad position, for example, because your opponent has stuff (gi material) to hold onto you or to wrap you up. If you are going to escape from a bad position, you’ll need to rely more on specific techniques. This helps us learn, from the very beginning that jiu jitsu is more about technique and leverage than strength and athleticism. That’s one of the beauties of the sport, and one of the key features that makes it effective for smaller, less athletic people to “win” against bigger, more athletic people. It’s not to say you shouldn’t also learn to to do jiu jitsu no gi (or without the gi), just that learning with it in the beginning helps ensure you form a strong basis of technique and without forming bad habits like relying too much on athleticism. Add athleticism to technique and you have a real winning combination.
#2 – You should learn how to tie your gi belt. It’s not that hard, really. But it does take some practice. Here is a video showing you 5 different ways to do it. You only need 1 (option 1 is probably the most common), but it gives you some interesting variations. The sound isn’t great, but you don’t need it. Practice a few times, and you’ll be a pro.
#3 – Patience is certainly a virtue in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you’ve never done jiu jitsu before, know that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. There is a seemingly never-ending supply of techniques to learn. And for every technique, there is a counter. And for every counter, another opportunity opens. It’s the ultimate Human Chess. It takes time to learn the positions, counters, and to engrain them into muscle memory so you don’t have to think too long in order to execute. It takes time to learn how to chain moves together. So don’t rush the process. Take your time. Remain patient. The payoff is immense.
#4 – You’ll enrich your experience when you get to know the others at your jiu jitsu academy. You may be used to going to a gym with a buddy to lift weights or run on a treadmill. We don’t know or maybe don’t even want to know the other people working out at the same time. And there is no reason to know them. They have zero impact on your workout or experience. Jiu Jitsu isn’t the same. Your teammates participate directly in your practice as training partners, and they have a direct impact on your experience. And you have a direct impact on theirs. Get to know them. They will become a second family. They will be a source of constant motivation and peer pressure — the kind most of us need to stay the course in this crazy ride called life.
#5 – Jiu jitsu will change your life. It’s true that most people start jiu jitsu because they want to learn self-defense. Or maybe they want to get in better shape but are tired of the dull treadmill, iron pumping workouts. But it won’t be long to see the overall life impacts from jiu jitsu far surpass the benefits that come just from improved fitness and knowledge of self-defense. It’s the character lessons that keep must of us coming back year after year. It’s the lessons that translate to improvements at work, school, home that we find most valuable. Watch this video of Tom Davey talking about how jiu jitsu will change your life. You can also read our blog post on ways jiu jitsu can help you reach your potential.