Fight Club? No, what to expect at your first Jiu-Jitsu class

For the last several months my friend would come to work and all he wanted to talk about was this thing called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I asked him last week isn't the first rule of Fight Club to not talk about Fight Club, He laughed out loud and when he finally finished wiping the tears from his eyes he explained to me that it was the best thing that had ever happened to him and once again invited me to a class.


I could tell my friend was having fun and I could see he had lost a couple pounds and was getting in shape even after a few short months. So I asked him what wear to jujitsu. He said that you wear a type of uniform but for my first free class I could just wear shorts and a t-shirt. I accepted the invitation and last Tuesday my first class went like this.


I showed up to the gym and walked inside. The person at the front desk was really friendly and explained all I had to do was fill out a short waiver. My friend waited for me. When I was done we walked over to the mats. He explained to me that we bow both on and off the mats in respect to the martial art, the instructors, and everyone that had come before us. There were big guys, little guys, and ladies too.


When the instructor walked on the mats he walked over to me, shook my hand, and said that he was very pleased to meet me and then if I had any questions whatsoever to ask him or any of the teammates that were there. He yelled lineup and everyone lined up in rank order. In Jiu-Jitsu the ranking goes by what color belt you wear. The instructor walked to the front of the class, had a few brief announcements and everyone bowed again.


The highest-ranking student took off running and everyone followed. We ran into a big circle for what seemed like forever and then we made several lines at one end of the mat. I tried to do the warm-ups everyone was doing but it seemed really weird. My friend came over to me halfway through the warm ups and explained it was normal to feel out of place but that after several classes I would become more comfortable and to just hang in there.


I was surprised to realize that I was really out of shape. Sure I worked out at the gym occasionally but this was a little beyond my normal exercises. Everyone especially the higher-ranking students seemed to do the warm ups with relative ease. After what seemed like an hour we wrapped up warm ups and the instructor said take a break and get a drink of water.


When we came back, everyone sat in a circle and the instructor got his highest-ranking student and explained that he was going to go over that night's technique. He did what he called a "sweep" where he was on his back and the person in front of him was on their knees and he flipped them over onto their back and ended up in a mounted position with his knees on each side of the guy's chest rather quickly.


He did it again pointing out every detail. Where to put your hands. Where to put your feet. How to move your hips. He showed it several times and asked if there were any questions and then he told everyone to partner up and start drilling the technique. I looked around and a more experienced person came over to me and said let's get to work. I got on my back and put my hands where I'd seen the instructor.


I started to move but it felt kind of weird. It was not the outcome I expected. The instructor saw I was having problems and came over and carefully placed my hands in a  slightly different position. I tried it again and to my amazement effortlessly flipped my partner over and landed in the mounted position. It was amazing. Like I had superpowers or something.


I tried it a few more times and then my partner tried it. After about 15 minutes the instructor asked if there were any questions anybody had. He told everyone get a drink of water, come back, and we would begin grappling. I asked my partner that I had been drilling with if this is when fight club starts. He laughed out loud and said yep.


When everyone had returned the instructor made an announcement. He said that if anything hurt that we should tap our partner and make it very clear that something hurt. The object of grappling was to control your partner or opponent and try to submit them. Make them tap. I felt really nervous and didn't know how this would go.


The instructor yelled slap hands, bump fists, and go! So me and my partner did just that. He quickly pushed my legs to the side. Held me down and straightened my arm out and applied pressure slowly. I tried to wiggle and squirm and push him off of me but it was no us. He kept applying pressure slowly and I tapped him on the back with my hand. I asked him how he did that and said keep coming to class.


He did the same thing several different ways a few more times and the instructor said time switch partners. I stood up looked around and a girl came over to me and asked if I wanted to roll. I looked at her with a weird look on my face. She explained that rolling meant grappling. I said sure let's do it.


I thought that I could do to her what my previous partner had done to me. Well, I was wrong. In a matter of seconds she had control of me and I had to tap. I asked her to explain what it was that she did and I got the same answer as before. Just keep coming to class she said with a smile.


I rolled with a few more people and the instructor said time, lineup. Everyone got back into formation and the instructor thanked everyone for being there. After we bowed out we thanked each of our partners. I had a really great time and a lot of people came up to me and invited me back again the next day.


At work my friend came over and asked me what I thought. I told him that I was really nervous at first and didn't know what to expect but after doing the warm-ups and learning a really cool technique. I thought I felt a lot more comfortable. The grappling portion of class really showed me how amazing Brazilian jiu-jitsu is.


Last night I went back and signed up. I got a really cool uniform and a brand new white belt, and so begins my journey in Brazilian jiu-jitsu! 

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