Welcome to Heroes Martial Arts!
This guide is designed for brand new students coming into Jiu Jitsu, but experienced students may find useful information and pointers here.
So you’ve decided to begin your journey in Jiu Jitsu with us! Congrats! You have taken your first step into a larger world. Not only will find the personal mental and physical benefits of training Jiu Jitsu, but you be part of a community of individuals working to improve themselves at Heroes, as well as a larger community of Jiu Jitsu enthusiasts world wide. It is important to note that this is not a journey you will be taking alone, as in a very literal sense you need other people to train Jiu Jitsu with.
Do you need to be in shape to start Jiu Jitsu?
While being in good physical shape is important to starting any athletic endeavor, the act of training Jiu Jitsu properly will build up your physical fitness, specifically your core strength and your cardio. We don’t generally expect anyone starting to train Jiu Jitsu to be in the optimal condition to be efficient in Jiu Jitsu as some development is unique to the skillsets and challenges presented in training, however these physical building blocks as much as the technical skill will develop over time. This is done is done at Heroes Martial Arts with guided instruction as well as an escalated intensity level where the student can ramp up their training according to their own comfort level and the instructor’s advice.
This is an example of the “warm up” exercises we do at the beginning of each class which is designed to build up core and conditioning to prepare for the actual training of Jiu Jitsu. Such a routine takes 10-15 minutes and can easily be replicated at home on days off.
The minimum recommended commitment to training Jiu Jitsu would be twice per week in order to see the benefits or progress at a reasonable level. As students begin to build their conditioning and skillset more training time is encouraged and Heroes has options for training every day of the week (multiple times per day).
What equipment do I need to Train Jiu Jitsu?
Hydration is important, so we recommend bringing in a water bottle for yourself (reusable preferred, we’re all environmentally conscious these days). The water refilling situation varies from each location so it’s best to come prepared.
If you are a particularly sweaty individual you might also consider bringing a towel for the comfort of yourself (and others).
At an advanced level use of a single layer mouth guard is recommended to protect one’s smile. A supply of athletic / support tape is useful to have a supply of. Supportive equipment can be used as needed or recommended for injuries but anything with a hard surface, edge or any kind of metal is not allowed as it has a tendency to injure training partners.
Traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu utilizes the Gi (or Kimono) consisting of a heavy jacket, pants martial arts belt signifying rank which can withstand the rigors of grappling. Optional undergarments include (aside from underwear) the use of rash guard and spats. Most of the Fundamental Classes at Heroes begin with the gi. Loaner uniforms are available free of charge to Trial Students or available to rent.
Gaining popularity, No Gi class ditches the use of the kimono in favor of a more modern interpretation with shorts and/or spats plus rash guard. Shorts should be in good repair and free of obvious holes or loose pockets which can snag on a training partner. Rash Guards should be made of a lyrca material or similar which wicks away perspiration. T-shirts are not banned but are also not recommended due to their tendency to absorb sweat and the likelihood of being unstable after training. We do not have loaner no gi uniforms available.
Although many students will select a preference for either gi or no gi in the beginning, we have found that students open minded enough to experience both varieties of Jiu Jitsu actually progress the most quickly. While there are some obvious differences, effective Jiu Jitsu should work regardless of the choice of clothing attire.
What Happens During a Class?
Group Jiu Jitsu classes last about 90 minutes per session and consist of warm up exercises (formal or time allotted) technical instruction and drilling or sparring.
The Fundamentals are very beginner friendly (but not just for beginners!) and place more of an emphasis on technical instruction than anything else. The obvious intent of the Fundamentals Classes is to take new students through a structured lesson plan in order to show them the positions and techniques of how to roll (spar) in an Academy style recreational setting. The secondary intent is to prepare students for the more advanced and intense sessions of Jiu Jitsu by introducing and reinforcing fundamental concepts and philosophies necessary to advance in Jiu Jitsu.
All Levels Classes build upon the Fundamentals classes and offer more time for live drilling and sparring of increased intensity. The subject matter or technique of the class can be quite varied based on the make up of the class and/or the instructor teaching, but at Heroes there is always a recurring theme through the week at all classes and locations. This is the most typical style of class in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It should be noted that sparring is optional and the intensity is dictated by student comfort and instructor recommendation.
Competition Class is high intensity drilling and sparring only with little instructional technique. These classes are designed for competition preparation but available to anyone who wants to experience the highest intensity class and moments. This is recommended for students ready to graduate to this level from both a technical and intensity level. The pace is set by the coach of the day, and hard training is actually mandatory in this setting!
The lessons plan, including the FULL Fundamentals course is available online for all students at Heroes:
How do I get better?
Like any other skill based activity, time in to a certain degree equals growth and as stated above a commitment to at least two sessions per week is really required to see any progress, and that progress is usually noticeable in terms of months and years as opposed to days and weeks.
It’s worth noting however, that hard work is the minimum requirement to success, it is not a guarantee of it. Inherently this is a competitive activity and some people have a more natural talent for Jiu Jitsu than others. Not to sugarcoat things, because most people are going to find Jiu Jitsu tough in the beginning. The best advice I can give is that this is part of the process, you are not expected to be good at Jiu Jitsu when you start off. As funny as this is to say, it’s best not to measure your progress by your immediate results, but by your ability to grow within the process. The distinction is hard to make when you are starting off, but the coaches at Heroes will be happy to help you put things in perspective.
Progress in Jiu Jitsu is not only measured by the amount of new skills and techniques gained, it is also the ability to apply those skills and techniques against a better class of opponent. You might be able to pull off a move on someone who isn’t resisting or doesn’t know what they are doing, but what about someone who is actively resisting and does know what they are doing? If one realizes this long term goal in progressing in Jiu Jitsu, it is possible to train with greater efficiency and effectiveness overall.
The reality of Jiu Jitsu is what attracted many people to Jiu Jitsu in the first place in that it requires, actually demands an honest assessment of your progress through the actual application of what you learned in real time. We train and learn, then try to “compete” (spar) and learn, then take that knowledge and go back and learn. It’s a continuing cycle of growth that keeps many people engaged for a lifetime in Jiu Jitsu.
There’s not one secret formula to getting better at Jiu Jitsu, but maybe the best piece of advice we can give is to not only trust the process, but actually enjoy the process. Welcome to Heroes Martial Arts, we hope you have fun!
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