Running a begginers class?


Green Belt
Aug 31, 2002
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Due to a huge amount of new people coming in to my academy, my coach has started two classes for complete beginners, and he's asked me to run one of these.
Just looking for ideas to be thrown up, no matter how stupid you think they are.
I've had to do this before, as well, and I understand how at the start it can seem a bit overwhelming when you step into the shoes of a teacher/coach rather than the place of a student. Teaching is an excellent way for yourself to learn more as well, though, so don't feel too nervous, just view it as 'advanced' training. Before anyone can give you much advice, though, you need to specify a bit better what sport you're working with. We know this is the grappling forum, but are you talking about Collegiate Wrestling? Brazillian Jiujitsu club? Judo? All of these sports have very different conditioning and performance expectations, and thus very different starting points in training.
teach this:
1. mount and how to keep it
a when guy pushes on belly
b when guy pushes on your chest
c when guy tries elbow escape

2. mount escapes and subs
a upa
b shrimp escape
c. arm bar
d americana
e. ezekial

3. guard
a. how to hold the guy and break his posture
b. how to keep posture in the guard
c. collar choke
d. arm bar
e triangle

4 guard escapes
a. knee into but escape
b. knee through escape
one standing escape

5. side control
a arm positions for top and bottom guy
b. three escapes

6. takedowns
first teach them how to fall properly, front, side, and back rolls
a single leg
b. double leg
c. hip throw

7. headlock escapes

8. guillotine to do it and how to escape....this goes good with the takedown classes

teach them about strategy, breathing, technique not muscle, and how to tap and not be full of pride and get put to sleep or injured.
I think he does BJJ. At ground zero right ?

I still remember my first class. Positioning and escapes. No real submission stuff. Basically first was a drill, get into pairs, one takes side control, the other aims to improve position. Things like that. Good fun, and you'll end up with a really tired bunch of newbies after 10 minutes of that drill :)
Have an exact plan of what you're going to cover before the class
And keep it simple... Cover a position, then just one or two techniques from it, drilling it in between with LIGHT resistance. I wouldn't even let a beginner's class go live.
good advice on the light resistance. the stuff i put in is to be done over a long period of time.
Positions, not too many variations. One guard pass and one submission. Keep it simple and don't overwhelm them.
Remember that one of your main goals is to RETAIN STUDENTS. Every student that drops out is LOST MONEY.
I agree that you gotta teach the basics, positioning, conditioning, etc. But remember, if you don't make it fun, these guys will not want to come back and may just go elsewhere to train.
DON'T BE A SELLOUT, but at the same time, give the noobs reason to want to come back, or something to look forward to for the next class. Or promise them that if they stick with the program for "x" number of classes, you'll let them roll live. We all know how crappy it was the first few days/weeks when all you did was get your ass kicked...try to make it a bit more enjoyable for the noobs.

Just my two cents. I don't think you need to be teaching them flying armbars, but a basic submission like armbar from guard or guillotine (and drill, drill, drill) won't hurt them and will keep them hungry for more.
i just started bjj a month ago and this is how the class is.....

take downs, then a sub or 2, then we roll
Sorry guards, I should have specified. It'll be sport BJJ with a gi. Do I know you SKD?
I thought that was just a tiny bit for one class guardpasser. LOL
I know what you're talking about, retaining students. It's not my club, but I see your point. Because of this, I was thinking of maybe showing techniques that have a SD aspect too (even though I train purely for sport).
I was thinking a takedown to a pass to a sub maybe.
Say a Double-leg, to a pass (thinking either reach around lapel, or maybe basic knee through?)
Once in side-control, a basic keylock or something.
I only have an hour too, which makes it tricky, because I definately want to have free training. To me this is one of the best things of BJJ. And definately, the most enjoyable.

Couple of ideas I have.
With the TD, do you think it's worth showing them how you can set it up with a jab?
The thing is, I have no interest in the SD/MMA aspect of BJJ, but I know most people start for that reason.
With the pass, is it worth be saying a few basic concepts.
IE- most passes can be bropken down to basically over/under the l/r leg
- always try to have one arm in/one arm out
or just stick to a specific technique

this applies to everything almost, because I seem to understand BJJ through concepts like that, not so much specific techniques.
Try to keep your elbows to your chest at all times
to escape, create space first
position before submission
and other cliche crap

Should I focus more on general concepts? Is what I'm trying to say.
Say, teach some passing concepts, then do some passing/sweeping drills?

Congrats to anyone who bothered to read, let alone understand this post. I tend to be good at rambling, and not much good at making sense.

Thanks for all the ideas so far.
I wouldn't even consider a school if they didnt let u roll.
I'd expect 2 -3 techniques , drills and live rolling without leglocks for injury prevention.
My second night of BJJ class was a pure wrestling night. We wrestled for an hour. The first night, was based on passing the guard. I think that wrestling live, even if you don't know WTF is going on, it is great.

I would reccoment, just spend a day on guard passes (or sweeps, or an armbar, or whatever). Teach 2 passes and drill with light resistence then roll with it for 15 minutes or so.
Basics. The basic mounts and some submissions from them. Basic submissions from the guard
basic guard passes and sweeps. Escapes from the mounts. Guard passes.

Keep it simple then focus on the drills.
BabyPhenom said:
Basics. The basic mounts and some submissions from them. Basic submissions from the guard
basic guard passes and sweeps. Escapes from the mounts. Guard passes.

Keep it simple then focus on the drills.
I'm in the same position. My advice is simple teach basic stuff to make the students comfortable in positions and situations. Start off with simple techniques and build up to ensure that they become instinctive. DO NOT show anything you can't 100% do yourself.
I agree that live training is important even (or especcially) for begginers.
To me so much of BJJ is about balance and sensitivity. To both your own and others movement.

I was thinking of running a basic passing lesson.
Start with a basic warmup, nothing too strenuous, because I don't know what the fitness levels will be like.
Explain that the majority of BJJ matches will involve passing the guard
After saying the first step is to get the guard open, show a basic guard break
tell them that if you get one knee up, they won't be able to close it again. If they do, all the hard work of opening it, will be wasted
tell them that most passes involve moving under or over a leg
show them a basic reach around lapel pass (my favourite)
show them a knee through pass, and say it works together with the first, depending where the opponent moves
modified free training, just passing
if enough time some normal free training
explain that free training doesn't just mean sparring
use it to work on stuff
go easy so you can see what's happening around you
at least at first

waht do you guys think?
should I show a basic sweep too
so the person underneath can try something too

Once again, thanks for all the help
For day 1, show them the basic mounts, one escape from the side mount, and perhaps one submission

In about 4 sessions, make them do some live sparring without submissions, and always emphasize position over submission
ClubberLange said:
Sorry guards, I should have specified. It'll be sport BJJ with a gi. Do I know you SKD?

You probably don't know me. I met Jason once, he taught us for a judo class. I trained at melbourne uni for the last year and a bit under Huw and Michael (Chan).

But yea, since I was a total noob about a year ago I still remember what was taught and that it was effective to me. No submissions in the first lesson, positional control and escape (side control in this instance), and lots of drills (and we were allowed to go all out since it pretty much taught us that strength did not beat technique, plus we all got tired, and since there were no submissions there wasn't much opportunity for injury)
Personally, I'd keep to 1 type of pass and 1 pin and maybe 1 escape from the pin for the first session. Really basic ones. There'll be a lot to cover, like keeping arms tucked in, posturing in guard - all those principles we just dont even think of anymore.

This way, at the end of the session everyone has a complete "set" of techniques to be able to spar at the end. For n00bs there will be MORE than enough for the first session.

During the passes explain WHERE possible pitfalls are & show (but dont teach) them the basic opportunities for submissions (ie; dont reach out too far while in guard or you'll get armbarred, keylock/kimura from sidemount) & mention they will start to learn these as they master the basic skills. (a "teaser" to ensure their return).

Let them have a decent rumble at the end. Would be good to get some others in to give you a hand so you can have them roll with some experienced people (without an ego). Allow the experienced players the opportunty to go for basic subs (for 2 reasons; so the n00bs will learn to tap from experienced persons & so they get an appetite for the cool stuff.

Dont forget to teach them to tap - even if you're not teaching subs (If you have sparring, you'll still have n00bs who will go for subs after "seeing Royce do it in this DVD I have".) but expressly forbid cranks and leg submissions before they roll.

Include skill drills in the warm-ups (shrimping feet/head first down mat etc..). IF the basic skills & session go well, consider including one basic sub. Nothing WRONG with teaching subs to n00bs if it is a good class & you judge they can handle it. After all - I guarantee they came for the cool subs. End on a positive note.