Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an intricate art full of many techniques, philosophies, theories, and individual perspectives. It can come off as being a bit intimidating; I can assure you it is not. Let’s take a look at exactly what you can do personally to give yourself the best opportunity to learn Jiu Jitsu.
Take the first step to gaining the proper knowledge
The very first thing you can do is find an academy in your area. These days, you have a lot of options. Just within 20 miles or of our location in Danville. There are somewhere around 5 or 6 gyms that offer some type of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or MMA training. You can stop in most of these gyms and check it out the general feel of the academy and see what they have to offer.
Some things to look for in a Jiu Jitsu gym
In my opinion there are a few key aspects you should look for when looking for a place to learn Jiu Jitsu. Below I’ve made a list of those things in no particular order, but all are extremely important. Take your time and find a gym that has all of the qualities listed below.
- Qualified and Knowledgeable Instructors – This may seem like common sense but it is not always true that an instructor is truly knowledgeable. It’s best to ask for credentials, talk to other people about the instructors, find out a bit of history on their training.
- Clean and Safe Training Environment – It’s easy to see if the academy is clean and if the equipment is in good shape. Just make sure they have the proper safety equipment. Such as Gloves, uniforms, pads, mats, and training areas
- General Demeanor of the Students – You don’t want to be in an environment where your training partners are trying to hurt you. It sounds silly but some academies are competition based. Take it from me, those guys train hard. Training hard for competition is fine but if that is not your goal then be wary.
- Class Structure – One of the things that will have the most impact on your learning process is the structure of the classes. A properly planned class structure and curriculum will maximize your potential. Finding a gym that does this correctly is essential.
These are just some of the things to look for and make a priority in a gym. One of the things that has always been important to me as a student of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is an instructor who can be a mentor as well. Nothing is more satisfying than an instructor that gets to know you personally on the mat. They will then be able to customize your training to your needs, that is something that is certainly valuable and hard to find.
Learning at your own level
We all learn at different paces and in different ways. You could be any one or any combination of learning types. It’s very important to be aware of this and embrace your own learning style. You will definitely experience all types of learning in the Jiu Jitsu academy. Here are the basic learning styles:
- Visual – Pay attention during the technical portion of the instruction. You learn well by watching. Also, you can utilize visual learning by watching tutorial videos. This type of learning pairs very well with Audio learning.
- Auditory – When you hear things you are able to process it and make relationships to your performance. Listen to all the details and what your classmates are saying about the technique. You can maximize your learning by asking lots of questions and reciting what you hear.
- Reading and Writing – If you learn best while reading or writing, it will benefit you greatly to find a gym that provides a workbook to follow. If you can’t find a gym that does this, bring a notebook and write everything down. No need to be shy about this. I have seen many students during my career carrying a notebook and writing during classes and seminars.
- Physical – This will be the most common aspect of any martial arts class. With all the physical activity in Jiu Jitsu, this one is simple. Practice, practice, practice. The more you do, the more you will learn.
Do your homework… literally
You don’t have to learn only while you are in the academy. In fact, most people tend to spend a good amount of time reading about and watching videos at home, Jiu Jitsu kind of does this to you. It’s a very big world with lots of information out there. Don’t hesitate to do some Google searches and watch some Youtube videos.
Speaking of videos…
You will soon see the insanely vast numbers of tutorial videos on the subject of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We produce our fair share of videos right here in this academy. I actually once made an entire video about how to watch videos, haha. The two most important things to keep in mind while exploring the seemingly infinite catalog of Jiu Jitsu videos are:
- There are no restrictions on who can post a video and there is no governing body to regulate the legitimacy of the techniques being shown on these videos. Try to stick to professional looking videos provided by professional Jiu Jitsu instructors.
- Know your limits. The technique provided online comes in all shapes and sizes. The largest portion of these videos showcase the latest and flashiest moves that are currently trending. These techniques are great for seasoned veterans of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you are a beginner to the art, you should try to stick to the basics. Nothing holds a huge structure of knowledge like a strong foundation.
Drills and solo training
This is an important aspect of Jiu Jitsu. I just recently wrote an article and made a video specifically for a student that asked me how she could practice by herself at home. Without going into too much depth on this subject here, you can check out that article and video through this link.
Do your best and always keep a positive attitude!
In closing, this is a pretty simple process. If you want to learn Jiu Jitsu to the best of your ability and advance at a good rate, keep all of the things we talked about here in mind. But if you do nothing else, just stay positive and always give your all. Be respectful of your instructors and training partners. Have an open mind! Above all, never ever give up. Mastering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be a long process and we have to change our pace from time to time, but in the end your dedication and perseverance will take you further than you could ever imagine.