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Gracie Barra Belfast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy: the oldest and most successful club in Northern Ireland.

What to expect at your first BJJ class

If you’re considering taking up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you may be put off by the unknown.

Not being sure what to expect at your first BJJ class can be a bit scary, but don’t worry, beginners are welcomed in and taken good care of here at Gracie Barra Belfast.

We promise you that you’re not going to have some big black belt beat the crap out of you on your first day – that’s not how this works.

Our classes are supportive, informative, and practical. We want to make sure when you leave after that first BJJ class you’ll be buzzing – otherwise people would never come back for a second!

Be that as it may, you’ll want a heads-up about what your first lesson will be like, so read on!

First BJJ Class

What to bring

To be honest, you don’t need to bring much.

No club will expect you to have a Gi for your first BJJ class, so dress like you would for the gym.

Shorts/tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt will be fine, but make sure it’s an old t-shirt, one you won’t care too much about if it gets ripped (not that it will, but you never know!).

What not to wear is just as important. Don’t wear anything with extra pockets, belt loops or baggy fabric; fingers and toes can get caught in them.

If you want you can bring protective gear from other MMA sports like a gum shield or a groin guard, just check with the instructor first.

One universal rule in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym is no shoes on the mat. Bring a pair of flip flops with you so you can walk around, and then take those off when stepping onto the mats.

Bring a bottle of water and a towel because you’re going to sweat a lot. And speaking of sweat, have a shower before you come and make sure your toe and fingernails are cut.

What happens at your first BJJ class

If you haven’t already come in to see us, then try to arrive a wee bit early and introduce yourself.

You can meet the staff and ask any questions you might have about us, the gym, or BJJ itself. We’ll also have you fill out an insurance form before you start.

Class starts promptly with a gentle warm up mimicking the movements you will cover in class. Here we practise some break falls to prepare you for any throws.

If the word “throw” just sent a shiver down your spine, don’t worry. Like all techniques, these can be made simpler and safer depending on your level. If you’ve literally never tried BJJ before, or any other martial art, then we will of course take that into consideration. Your safety is our priority and always will be.

At the start of our fundamentals class, you line up in belt order and the coach shows the technique for the day. The format is normally self-defence techniques followed by various common positions you may encounter both in sport Jiu Jitsu and a self-defence situation.

The newest members of the club will be paired off with the most experienced to help provide the best teaching experience and ensure you learn the techniques correctly.

At the end of your first BJJ class, you get to try the new techniques of that day with the different people who will be of various shapes, sizes and abilities. This is not sparring but a great way for beginners to test techniques without any pressure.

At the end of class the instructor will cover any announcements or questions.

The perfect gym for your first BJJ class

If you’re interested in taking up the world’s fastest growing sport, then Gracie Barra Belfast is the perfect place to start.

Gracie Barra has over 800 schools on five continents, and our Belfast chapter is the largest and most successful in the country.

Now you know what to expect in your first BJJ class, why not sign up for our free 14 day trial. With no obligation, no commitment, and no contract, you can decide for yourself if Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for you.

We have Adult, Children, and Women’s Only classes, with Fundamental, Advanced, and Competition training for those who are more into the sport.

Our head instructor Graham was the first BJJ Black Belt in Northern Ireland and studied under the legendary Braulio Estima, so you know he’ll keep you right!

Contact us today if you would like to know more or book in a time to pop in and see us.

We’d love to hear from you.