BJJ For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide to Everything You Need to Start

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. It’s a grappling art that focuses on technique and leverage over strength, which makes it great for people of all sizes. You can learn BJJ from white belt all the way up to black belt in just about any gym or dojo around. If you want to get started with BJJ, here’s everything you need to know!

Understanding the basics of BJJ

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty details of BJJ, let’s take a minute to understand what it is. BJJ is an acronym that stands for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It comes from a Japanese martial art called Judo, which was brought over to Brazil by Mitsuyo Maeda, who also taught it in his new home country. The name has stuck ever since.

BJJ is different from other martial arts because no striking techniques are involved. Instead, you use your opponent’s weight and strength against them by controlling their body with joint locks (e.g. arm bars) and chokeholds (e.g. rear naked chokes). This gives BJJ practitioners a leg up when facing someone bigger than them or with more experience than them—that’s why many people practice it for self-defence! And inside the cage or ring during MMA competitions like UFC fights? You’ll see plenty of fighters utilizing submissions from this art form when competing against opponents trained in other disciplines such as boxing or Muay Thai kickboxing styles.

How you can get started in BJJ

  • Look for a gym that offers a free trial.
  • Check out the gym’s website.
  • Ask friends who have been to the gym what they think of it and if it’s a good fit for you.
  • Ask about their training schedule, including when classes are held and how often they meet (once a week, twice a week, or more).
  • Find out about their membership plans, and make sure you find one that works best for your situation (monthly, quarterly, yearly). The more money committed upfront generally means a cheaper monthly payment later on—but if you’re not sure whether you’ll stick with BJJ long-term, don’t commit to paying for an entire year upfront just yet! You can always upgrade your plan later on if needed. Also, keep in mind that most gyms offer different types of memberships: some might offer unlimited class access while others may only allow access during certain times each day (for example), so be sure to check out all of your options before signing up!

What to look for in a good BJJ gym

You want to make sure you are at the right place when you start training. There are a few things to look for when choosing a BJJ school:

  • Good Instructor

You first need to find out if the instructor is qualified and has experience teaching martial arts. You can ask them about their credentials or check online if they have certifications from recognized bodies like the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation). If they don’t seem confident or knowledgeable about their art, it’s better to get your information elsewhere before signing up at such an establishment.

  • Good School

Next, investigate whether or not the school teaches other styles of martial arts as well besides just BJJ. If so, it might be more inclusive than one focused solely on grappling techniques, which makes sense considering most competitions require some ground fighting component these days. Students will also be less likely to become too reliant on just one style while still receiving enough variety within their classes, depending on how often they attend practice sessions.

For example, someone who wants nothing more than self-defense without learning anything else could still learn something new every session by learning another style instead of only focusing entirely on BJJ.

  • Organized Gym

If a school is well organized and has an actual gym, that’s always a good sign. It shows that the instructors have a plan for what they want to teach and how they want it taught, making it easier for them and their students. This also means that the school is likely more serious about martial arts.  If you are a gym owner, having Spark Martial arts software to manage your school or gym can make it easy.

  • Friendly Atmosphere

Finally, look for a school that has a friendly atmosphere. You want to be able to get along with your classmates and instructors because if you can’t, then it will likely lead to more stress than necessary.

The most important techniques for beginners

For a beginner, the most important techniques are the basic submissions. It’s as simple as that! The reason these submissions are so important is that they are more likely to be successful and easier to learn than other techniques.

The usual suspects for beginning students are armbars, triangles, and sweeps. While you may think that these submissions were chosen because they don’t require much strength or flexibility at first glance, this is not the case. In fact, all three of these moves require some degree of strength and flexibility to perform correctly (or even at all). However, it’s true that these moves aren’t as difficult as others out there, but if you’re just getting started on your journey with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, then starting off with something simple like this will help build up your confidence as well as develop your skillset over time.

Common terms you’ll hear in class

While you’ll probably be familiar with some of these terms, others may be new to you. Let’s take a look at each one and discuss what it means:

  • Roll – Rolls are what happen when two people who are grappling end up rolling around on the mat. This is done in order to advance your position, go for a submission, or escape an opponent’s control over them.


  • Guard – The guard is a position where a person sets their legs around an opponent’s torso and uses their arms to control (or grip) their opponent’s body or arms. There are closed guards, open guards, and combinations of each. The goal here is generally to keep them from advancing or passing your guard by using various techniques like sweeps, open guards, closed guards, BJJ techniques, etc. It’s also possible to submit your opponent when they are in your guard, even if it might appear like they have the better position.


  • Pass – A pass is when someone advances past another person who has their guard up so they can get into side control or mount positions, allowing them much more freedom than being trapped underneath an opponent with their legs wrapped around yours. This doesn’t mean that passes are easy. Beginners will need time to get used to the movement and learn how to prevent their opponent from passing their guard.

Getting a good foundation in the fundamentals is important before moving on

In the beginning, getting a good foundation in the fundamentals is important before moving on. You don’t want to get overwhelmed by learning too many techniques at once and then not knowing how to use them properly. So what are the basic fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

The following are some of the most essential skills you should focus on when you start training BJJ:

  • Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. This means that when you’re first starting out, there are going to be times when your partner will put pressure on your joints or get an advantage over you—this is normal! The key is learning how much pressure is necessary before tapping out or escaping from certain positions and knowing which submissions are possible for each position (therefore avoiding injury).


  • Breathing technique. This will help prevent passing out during training sessions, especially if they last longer than 20 minutes! Try taking deep breaths every few seconds while sparring so that oxygen reaches your brain without hindering mobility too much – but remember not to overdo it either


  • Leave your ego at the door. BJJ is a sport that will humble you, and it’s very common to occasionally lose to someone who might appear weaker or smaller than you. Because technique is so important, the matches are almost never determined based on strength alone. You can never tell for sure who is excellent at the sport just by looking at them.


The above should be enough to get you started on your BJJ journey. Remember to be patient as this sport takes years to master, so the most important step is simply getting started.

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