So you’ve made the decision to ruin your body. Congratulations on choosing BJJ to accomplish this task. To help you on your way to misery, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and issues to make sure that your anatomical destruction is not only efficient, but also does not result in you being labelled ,” a douche.”
1. Firstly, what do I need to know to make sure I’m not considered a douche?
The mat rules are as follows:
- Come to class with clean equipment and self (see question 5 for more info).
- Make sure all nails are trimmed down (see question 5 as to why).
- Do not walk outdoor footwear onto the mats, and make sure you wear footwear when walking away from the mats, especially into the toilets.
- Apply all submissions SLOWLY and allow your partner adequate time to tap. If their pride is fucking with them that day, do not continue to break the limb, we need all the training partners we can get. Just move to a different position/submission and keep the flow going.
- All twisting leg locks/toe holds/heel hooks and bicep/calf slicers to only be used by Blue Belts and above, unless expressly requested to be avoided.
- Do not train ill.
- If you NEED to train whilst injured, ensure you tell your partner first, and as a partner, do not target any injury intentional and try and work around their handicap.
- Do not grab any less than 3 fingers and do not grab the toes.
- No biting, spitting, eye gouging, fish hooking, groin grabbing, inserting appendages into orifices, hair pulling, or other dick moves.
- Tap on your partner, not on the floor.
- Do not get emotional/overly aggressive. It’s a game, relax.
- Match your partner for intensity and be courteous with who you are rolling with. No one likes fighting an unnecessarily violent dick.
- Be aware of your surroundings and environment. Always stop the roll if nearing another pair/the wall/mirrors/the ring/other obstacles. Do not get so focused on the roll that you ignore any of those things.
2. I don’t think I’m that fit, should I even start this?
BJJ is unlike any other physical activity you’ll come across in your life. No amount of running, cycling, swimming, weight lifting etc will prepare you for this. If you want to get fit for Jiu-Jitsu, unfortunately you need to do Jiu-Jitsu. Of course being strong etc does have its advantages, but we’ve crushed enough gym rats over the years to know it won’t save you in the beginning.
3. I have this (insert ailment here) to begin with, is that going to be an issue?
I’m not a doctor or physician so I am not able to give a correct diagnosis to begin with. Best bet is to ask your doctor before you start training. In regards to the actual sessions, the more physically taxing parts are entirely optional, so if you want to just drill and learn the art, you are more than welcome to. If you do want to light spar, that’s fine too. We aren’t training to be the next big thing in the UFC, we just want to have a little fun of an evening, so we are all extremely supportive of one another.
4. Will I get hurt?
Yes. Duh. This is a form of fighting. But you are a grown adult. You are under no pressure what so ever to come to these classes where injury is highly likely. We do our best to limit unnecessary injury such as a prior brief before every roll to look out for various obstacles in the room, who the new people are and who should be looked after. But at the end of the day, it is fighting and includes an awful lot of sparring. Knocks happen unfortunately. If they were that big of a deal however, the class would be empty. Obviously, it isn’t. It’s full of broken weirdos.
5. What other detrimental things could I get outside of an injury?
BJJ involves lots of close contact, and rolling around on the floor. Due to this, infections are a possibility. Likely candidates are Ringworm (a form of fungal infection) and Staph (a bacterial infection). Avoid training if you have either of these. The mats are cleaned regularly, and if everyone arrives clean, wearing clean gear, has short nails to limit scratches etc, and showers straight after training, infections will be a lot less likely to occur.
6. What’s the difference between Gi and No Gi?
The Gi is the pyjama like uniform some of us wear whilst training. It changes the structure of the game entirely because you are able to use the clothing as a weapon of sorts. You can either use your opponent’s Gi against them, or use your own Gi to assist you in your fight.
No Gi meanwhile is done in a rash guard and shorts/spats and does not allow clothing to be used as an advantage. We do not encourage one over the other and you are welcome to train in either or both.
You are more than welcome to find your own clothing (Gi or No Gi wear) online, or I can get you some at wholesale prices from a couple of reputable brands.
7. What about these belts I see people wearing? How do I go about getting those?
If you would like to progress through the rankings, you have to be training both Gi and No Gi, and competing. Promotions are free. You start as a White Belt. The following belts are Blue, Purple, Brown and Black. It takes approximately a decade to reach Black Belt.
8. I’ve found XYZ gym as well that teaches XYZ martial art, can I cross train there as well as doing BJJ?
You can train wherever the hell you like, we are all adults and we can choose to do what we wish. Heck, we can even help you find places to train. The only thing that does apply is that if you want to represent Fighting Fit in other gyms or in competition, that your rank and affiliation is agreed to by me first. If you have been promoted by another instructor in BJJ, then unless you have asked me about moving your rank to Fighting Fit and say will only be promoted by me, then you unfortunately cannot represent Fighting Fit. Still welcome to train, just your team affiliation is not with us.
9. Competitions? What do they involve?
With BJJ being a sport, there are competitions you are welcome to enter. They are not mandatory and you are not forced to enter, but they do add an extra dimension to this game. On average the prices are £20-£40, they are held around the UK/Europe/World, and you compete in divisions of experience and weight categories, in either Gi or No Gi.
Fun fact: I had 3 sessions before my first competition. I had actually signed up before I’d had a single session. Obviously I had all manner of shit kicked out of me, but it hasn’t done me any harm…
10. I keep getting my ass kicked, what can I do to change this?
I like to refer to a circle of life, or a food chain as you will. When you start, you’re at the bottom of the food chain, and you’re gonna get the shit kicked out of you. Bad times. This is important though because this is how you learn your defence, mostly through the conscious recognition that “I do not like this, how can I prevent it from happening.” A few months down the line, someone new will start at the bottom of the food chain and they will have no idea what is happening. On these people you practice your offences, learning how to control and submit your prey. Eventually your defences become good enough that the people who used to mess you around, can’t anymore, and you can actually fight back with offences you picked up from beating the weaker and less skilled. This is how we progress. Everyone started at the bottom, you’re just the new card at the bottom of the deck. Again, bad times. But don’t be disheartened, some idiot will join soon enough and you won’t be the whipping boy/girl any more (not you though, you weren’t an idiot).
11. How is this different to the average Martial Art?
If you have already attended a class, you have probably been able to tell that the structure is quite relaxed. I’m not called Sensei, there isn’t any bowing, all the techniques are in English and the rank structure has no real bearing inside the gym walls. It is a more adult approach to an area of physical activity that is stereotypically reserved for children and the socially awkward. We know what we are doing is pretty much combat cuddling in spandex or pyjama, there’s no need to add to the stigma by pretending we are from feudal Japan and murder our way through speaking their language. At the end of the day, you’ll be shown some cool shit that you can either incorporate into your game or ignore entirely, then you get to go beat someone up. That’s pretty rad if you ask me.
Any other questions, ask away. I’m mostly sure I won’t laugh at you.