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BJJ Training – Basic guidelines

Practice with patience brings progress and less pain
Practice without patience brings pain and less progress
– Yogi Sivadas

After training in so many gyms with so many people, I got some of their pros and cons and decided to write down a few guidelines for a safe and efficient BJJ practice.

BJJ classes are known for a less rigid structure compared to other martial arts, but we should always remember that freedom and respect need to walk side by side in orde for us all to reach our goals and keep a sustainable environment.

Before the class

First of all, I recommend you to have a checklist:

(GI training): Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu GI + Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Belt. Other Budo GI’s (like karate, tae kwon do) and belts can’t be used for a BJJ practice.

A rashguard, a mounthguard, a towel and sandals. I’d recommend long sleave rashguards and spats in wintertime;

Nonetheless: A bottle of water, tapes, a clean presence, and a good vibe..

During the class

This is for students and teaches as well:

A. Respect:

Please, show respect to your instructors, training partners, and fellow human beings. Respect in training means:

  1. Don’t seek to harm fellow students physically or emotionally;
  2. Don’t shout loudly or use bad words during the training;
  3. Don’t talk while the instructor is talking. It distracts those who are trying to learn and is disrespectful to the teacher, as well as other students;
  4. Treat others how you would like to be treated.

B. Hygiene:

Please, keep a good hygiene, for the sake of other people around you. Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling sport. By maintaining good hygiene habits, we prevent discomfort and the spread of diseases. Hygiene in training means:

  1. Maintain basic hygiene: shower, brush your teeth;
  2. Please refrain from heavy perfumes, colognes or other artificial scents that may be intensified by the heat of the practice;
  3. For safety reasons, keep finger and toe nails short and clean to prevent injury to yourself and your partners;
  4. Very important: Bring a clean, dry gi to each class;
  5. Keep shoes off the mat, so that we can keep the mats clean;
  6. Never walk outside with bare feet. Let’s prevent the spread of skin conditions such as ringworm.

C. Uniform:

The way you present yourself in the training and for the BJJ community matters, leave a good impression wearing new, clean and good quality uniforms:

  1. A BJJ GI is different from Judo or karate uniforms. Students, teacher and visitors should wear a BJJ GI with a Rashguard or T-Shirt underneath it;
  2. Please have underwear underneath the GI pants;
  3. The belt has to be an official BJJ belt, with a black stripe, or in case of black belts, a red one. It represents your progress. Keep it on all the time;
  4. For No GI Classes, students must wear a short or gi paint as well as a Rash Guard;
  5. All metal objects, jewelry, piercing, necklaces and other items should be removed;
  6. Please wear your GI, a T-shirt, or a tank top while in public areas of the Training Facility.


D. Focus & Self-control:

Keep your focus. It will be beneficial in and out of the mat:

  1. Please, try not to be late for the class. It will disturb the class flow and it also affect your learning progress;
  2. Stand, sit with your legs crossed, or kneel during class. you’ll learn more effectively if you seat in upright postures;
  3. Please, Keep cell phones off during class. Disconnect from the external world at least at the time you are practicing;
  4. If the instructor has not changed the task, then continue doing the task he or she has given. You can NEVER do a technique too many times;
  5. Talking should be kept to a minimum level and should relate to the class subject. There will be at least two pauses during the training for you to talk about other things.

E. Training routine:

Stick to the training routine and you’re gonna create good habits:

  1. Classes begin with a formal bow from students to the instructor, from the instructors to the students, which are lining up in descending grade order;
  2. Drinking water is allowed , except when the Instructor is explaining a technique;
  3. For safety reasons, please ask your instructor before trying that fancy technique you’ve watched on youtube last night, your instructor will guide you and explain you the benefits/risks as well as correcting you. Never try anything without supervision;
  4. Students are very welcome to ask questions at any time during the training, regarding the encurrent practice;

G. Sparring:

See your partner as a teacher, don’t seek to hurt anyone and refrain from your aggressive impulses:

  1. You must train focused enough for you and your partner to improve his or her skills, conditioning, and fighting spirit. Focused doesn’t mean neither Hard or Soft, but in balance;
  2. I must repeat: you don’t wanna hurt anyone;
  3. Remember your position before the round starts. When time finishes, thank your training partner and move to your right-hand side. It avoids time wasting searching a new partner each round;
  4. Specific sparring really means specific;
  5. Be aware of those sparring around you. Don’t come into their area. Lower grades always move out of the way of higher ones;
  6. Normally you shouldn’t ask a higher that you don’t know grade to spar. Let him or her inviting you;
  7. Apply submissions with self-control. Don’t release your aggressiveness in someone else. Be aware of your actions;
  8. It’s anti-ethical to talk about how many people and who you submitted on sparrings;
  9. When the instructor calls time, STOP;

Remember: The more you relax and let go of the outcome, the faster you will learn. The harder you try to squeeze and muscle your way through every situation, the higher will be your risk of injury yourself and others and the slower your progress will be.


I wish you all a fun and productive training!


View posts by Yogi
Jiu-Jitsu and Yoga teacher, Engineer

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