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Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and Self Defense

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Beginners Guide to the Gym


No shoes will be allowed on the mat. They must be removed and can be stored in the cubby holes provided or under the seats where no one will trip over them.

Jandals/Flip-flops are handy if you wish to leave the mats and go to the changing rooms or bathroom.

The purpose of removing shoes is to prevent bacteria from entering the gym. Similarly, the point of wearing jandals/flip-flops is to keep bacteria off of your feet when you walk around the bathroom, changing room, or other no-shoes-allowed areas of the gym. By removing shoes and flip-flops before stepping on the mats, you can limit the risk of an infection.


Even if you drink a lot of water during the day, BJJ is probably going to make you thirsty. It can be a very physically intensive sport, and many people like to take sips throughout class--especially when you’re wearing your Gi on a hot day. Regardless of whether you sip on water throughout the class or chug a bottle afterward, you’re probably going to want to have a reusable water bottle that you keep in your gym bag.


Make sure you come prepared. You will be in close contact with other people and will not want to smell.  You dont want to be dirty either, this includes dirty hands and feet. These should be washed prior to coming to class. You may also include the use of mouthwash, as this is a nice courtesy for other participants. By the end of class, you’re going to be panting and breathing hard right next to your training partner’s face. Do you really want to be self-conscious of that chili dog you had for lunch? Even if all you do is swish some mouthwash before class, it will help a lot.

You may want to take a shower or reapply deodorant just before class.

Make sure to cut both your finger nails and toe nails so no rough edges that may cut other participants. 

Wash Your Gi

This is another item that will likely be common sense to most people, but you need to wash your Gi. Do not reuse your Gi at the next class if you didn’t wash it, even if it doesn’t smell or you didn’t sweat into it that much. Humans have bacteria like staph all over their bodies at all times. When you come into contact with the mats or other people, your Gi has come into contact with all sorts of bacteria, and now that bacteria is on your Gi. Make sure you wash your Gi after every single class to avoid contaminating yourself and your classmates.


  • Gi Jacket

  • Gi Pants

  • Belt

  • Rashguard

  • Compression Shorts

  • Mouthguard

We sell our own branded Gi and accessories here on the website, and you can order one or more from the Gym office as well.  A good Gi will last you many years before it starts to wear out or rip.  Additionally, wear a pair of compression shorts under the pants, as there’s nothing worse than wearing underwear that constantly rides up or bunches. You may also want to wear a rashguard under the jacket, and perhaps a mouthguard during free roll at the end of the session and on open mat days.

How to tie the belt

There are many tutorials online and variations to tying the belt. We have written up one here with photos


Warming up

Your session will start with lining up in belt order. Newer members to the left, and higher ranks to the right. Your Instructor/Professor will then get you to bow to the Grand Masters and then to your Instructor/Professor. 

They will then ask you to find some space. This will allow you enough room to warm up. This might be a series of drills or movements, a full-body exercise workout, or a combination of both.  This will vary but may include start jumps, squats, push ups, curls, roll backs, nodding, shaking the head and followed by a small jog around the mat with a few jumps, directional changes, ankle taps and knee ups followed by some room length forward/backward rolls and a variety of other drills.

Technique and Drilling

The technique portion of class is when the instructor shows a technique while the students circle around and watch. The instructor will enact a step-by-step tutorial on a complying partner, and they will typically run through this a few times to make sure everyone has it. As the student, it is your job to remember the steps, and then drill this with a partner. You probably won’t get it right at first, and that’s fine. The coach or an assistant will probably be walking around to answer your questions. Try it out a few times, and then ask for help when you need it. You might even get paired with a partner who already knows the move, and they can help you get through it.

Rolling and Sparring

Rolling is similar to drilling, except you are no longer focusing on the technique-of-the-day, and you are open to freely try to wrestle and submit each other. If this is your first class, the instructor may not yet want to try any submissions. If you know nothing about BJJ, you may not even know any submissions--or even know what a submission is. A submission refers to a technique that simulates breaking, tearing, or choking the opponent. The idea is that if you get a hold of a submission, you hold it just before any actual damage is done, and your opponent taps the mat in concession that you got them. This way, you can simulate a fight without actually hurting each other. You should expect to be exhausted after your first sparring sessions, but don’t worry, it will get easier.

When rolling on a mat that has a lot of participants you must be aware of your surroundings and the rank of the other participants around you. Be aware of the higher belts, and if you start to move closer to them you must be prepared to move out of their way and let them roll more freely.  

When choosing a partner to roll with you must pick an equivalent rank or lower. This means the higher belts will call out the lower belts to roll with. 

If your late, respect the higher ranked belts

When you are late to class you should acknowledge the Instructor/Professor and wait for them to acknowledge you before proceeding. You may then be required to proceed down the ranks depending on the class or if it is an open mat or a seminar.  You can then jump into the warm-up or continue on with the class. 


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