There are so many things I wish I knew when I first stepped onto those mats. Here is a list, I hope it helps.
1.) Learn to be okay with being uncomfortable, this is where growth happens. Don't give up after the first class. It's okay to make mistakes, its okay to be confused, its okay to feel like you are a fish out of water. If you have no experience grappling, Jiu Jitsu will seem like another world. From the name of the moves, to the pretzel you will feel like you are being tied into, its all a new experience. Enjoy the beginning of this new journey. It is confusing, uncomfortable, but it is wonderful. It will challenge you mentally, as well as physically. It will teach you things about yourself on and off the mats you never knew. If you are in the right gym it will also bring you a family of weirdos you just wont know what to do without.
2.) Hygiene- Some gyms are more strict on these than others.
Nails and toenails should be clipped as to not scratch your partners, also getting a nail ripped off never feels good.
Piercings should probably be taken out for your safety. Same with Jewelry, please take it off before you get on the mats. If you are concerned about not wearing your wedding rings on the mats, they have some amazing silicone rings these days (Brent & I have them, they are amazing).
Shower, wash your Gi, belt, and spats. Not only is good hygiene considerate but it also helps prevent the spread of mat cooties. Shower as soon as you can after practice as well. We generally have some CEF Grappler Soap in stock at www.cauliflowerearfamily.com We are currently out but check in regularly. This stuff is amazing !!
DO NOT wear shoes on the mats! This is a cardinal rule for martial arts in general but if you come in with zero experience its a good one to know. This is not only a sign of respect but it is HUGE when it comes to hygiene.
**I am sure I am missing some so please add them in the comment section
3.) Find a Good gym. In BJJ there is a lineage so you can research it and make sure your Coach is a legit practitioner. Not only that but do a trial class, make sure it fits with your goals.
4.) Learn to tap. This is not a sign of weakness. As long as you're learning you are growing. You will be tapping a lot in the beginning. Jiu Jitsu is humbling, let it humble you. Be okay with being a beginner.
5.) Be willing to learn. Be open minded. Not every move you are shown is going to be a good one for you. That's okay. Learn the move and move on. Find the ones that you love, the ones that work best for you and put extra time into those. Be willing to learn from anyone and everyone.
6.) Just breathe !! Relax. One of the most common mistakes white belts make is freaking out a little bit, using all their strength, and forgetting to breathe. Just breathe, relax, and focus on using the techniques you've learned. You've got this !
I just have to say if you're reading this and you are new to the grappling world. Welcome ! I fell in love with Jiu Jitsu the first time I stepped on the mats, I know others who fell in love with it a year later. Trust in your own journey. Don't compare yourself with anyone else. I hope to see you on the mats one day!
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