What to Expect On Your First Day


Brown Belt
Mar 29, 2004
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I remember when I started BJJ and went to my first class, I had no idea what I was in for--everything was new to me. You want me to do a breakwhat? Shrimping? Passing the what? I've seen a lot of new students go through the same experience, and it can be quite a culture shock at first.

We've all seen the threads started on here (and most grappling/BJJ forums) by people asking what they should expect on their first day of BJJ. Sometimes is a general "What should I expect?". Other times it's more specific questions about how classes are run, what they will have to do, what they shouldn't do, etc. People are always trying to find out what to expect before they get to a class or train for the first time.

This is why I wrote an article for my school called "What To Expect On Your First Day" that you can find here:


I know it's pretty particular to my school, Gracie Barra Tampa, but I think it gives you a good idea of what a normal first day goes like for most schools. I wrote it after thinking over all of the common questions new people have, the mistakes they make (like what NOT to wear) and just thinking "What do I wish I had know?"

I'm sharing this here because I hope some of you find it useful, and maybe help out anyone about to get into BJJ for the first time.

good article, i think every BJJ club that has a website should have a page like that
My first day went very well. We learned guillotine from the guard, kimura from the guard, and a guard sweep.
Good job man.. should answer alot of questions for new people who are nervous.
Someone should post this as text here in the forum in another thread, and sticky this.
Oh and if it's your first class in any sort of combat/fight (I'm not going to use martial arts cos there are some where there isn't a whole lot of contact) be prepared for a world of hurt. The first month or so can be and usually will be hell.
My first class was bizarre, I was a complete freak weighing 375 pounds, and I was working with sports marketing at the time, repping Belfort, Terere, Francisco filho, and others, and I had no experience in submission fighting. So one of my partners in the company, a world champ in wrestling from Cuba, told me that I should train with Guigo (at the time he was overweight as well), since he was a really nice guy, our styles would be similar, etc.
I remember that I would gas out in 5 seconds, and people actually worried if I was going to die in the matt or not. Many years later, I still have to hear from every one what an impact I caused...
Thanks for the comments. I'm glad it seems to have hit its mark.

From talking with some friends, I'm going to add more about the level of contact and phsyicality of BJJ, like Foppa said.

A lot of people (especially from TMA) are really taken aback even by just drilling things like mount escapes and guard passes (the first two things they learn) since, God forbidden, they have to actually touch someone. It's almost too much when we get to passing the guard drilling and they have to get all sweaty and tosses around.

Feel free to give me any other recommenations or comments on the article.
I think I'm going to add a bit about hygeine, clipping your nails, piercings, bringing a change of clothes, etc.
And hygiene was added. Now I'm writing about contact level.

Any other recommendations?
my contact level was minimal on my first couple days. i had zero grappling experience, so i sat out the first two classes when it came time to roll at the instructor's request and just observed.
Hours of shrimping. And being startled by that damn buzzer timer .... heh, what a n00b young Delta was back then. Those were the days.