In the years I have trained BJJ, I’ve watched a lot of students enter the school, try one class, and never return.  One of the biggest things I attribute that to is nerves so bad that the class isn’t enjoyable.  Come in, relax, and enjoy yourself!  You’re a paying customer, and are starting in a sport and hobby that can quickly turn into a lifestyle.

We all started just like you – Every single black belt you’ve ever watched in a BJJ match and wanted to be like had to walk into a BJJ gym for the first time.  The most cauliflower eared, knowledgeable guys in the gym are just people like you who had to take the first step and start training.

But I don’t know anything– It’s perfectly normal.  Nobody expects you to show up to your first class and know how all the positions, how to do submissions, or how to shrimp.  The instructors are there to help you learn.  Listen, do your best, and realize that most of the guys teaching have been doing BJJ for years, and it can take time to get some of even the most basic movements down.

I’m out of shape! – BJJ is a flexible sport.  Certain moves will work better for different shapes and body types.  Long term, BJJ will help increase your flexibility, cardio, and strength.  Instructors will understand you’re new to the sport, and will try to help you through the workouts with encouragement or slightly less strenuous exercises.  Other schools have beginners programs that will help ease you into the technique and exercise levels.

Everybody seems so intimidating! –  BJJ attracts all shapes and sizes of people.  Most of the people I’ve interacted with over the years of training, helping teach, helping at tournaments, and driving all over for seminars are genuinely good, likeable, friendly people.  Introduce yourself if they don’t do so first, and I think you may be pleasantly surprised at how welcoming most people are.

Stop making excuses, get to the gym, and start training!

 The author:  Sean Zorio, purple belt under Guy and Rob Pendergrass