What is a Jiu Jitsu Class Like? An Inside Look and Valuable Tips for Your First Class

Last Updated September, 2023

Inside a brazilian jiu jitsu class
Image by Charles Smith - Flickr

It’s as real as it can get. That has made me a better person. It’s made me a better man. It’s made me understand myself, my weaknesses, my strengths, the sh*t I need to work on. Jiu-jitsu has been one of the most valuable tools I’ve ever had in my life.

Are you ready to challenge yourself and embark on an exciting journey of personal growth?

Dive into the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) today, a martial art that promises to transform not just your physical fitness but also your mental tenacity.

Joining a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class is a decision you'll never regret. Here's what you can expect:

Arrival and Introduction

If it's your first time stepping into a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy, it's a good idea to arrive a bit earlier. This will give you time to get acquainted with the surroundings and to meet your instructor.

As a newcomer, you'll likely be greeted warmly by the instructor or a senior student, and they'll guide you through the initial process.

Let them know it's your first class, they'll appreciate your transparency and will ensure your introduction to the sport is enjoyable.

You will have to fill out a registration form on your first visit and sign a waiver.

You'll be shown around and to the locker room where you can store your belongings and change into your workout gear.

Make sure to bring suitable training clothes, ideally a BJJ Gi (the traditional Jiu-Jitsu uniform), if you have one. If not, the gym will likely have one to spare while you are waiting to buy one.

If not (or if the class is No-Gi) no worries! – any workout clothes will do just fine for your first class.

Remember to remove any jewelry and tie your hair back (if it's long), safety is a top priority in any martial arts class.


As you step onto the mats, you'll probably be greeted by fellow students.

In BJJ, the community is as important as the training, fostering a supportive and friendly atmosphere.

Classes usually begin with a warm-up to get your muscles moving and your heart pumping.

Warm-ups can include jogging around the mat, basic movements, or specific movements used in BJJ such as shrimping, bridging, or rolling.

Bjj practitioners shrimping during the warm up
Practitioners shrimping during the warm up

Drilling / Technique Demonstration and Practice

Once you're warmed up, it's time to learn and practice techniques.

The instructor will demonstrate a technique or series of techniques for the day – this could be anything from basic positions or transitions to specific submissions or escapes.

You'll partner up with a fellow student and take turns practicing the demonstrated technique.

This part of the class emphasizes details, precision, and repetition. Your partner will give little to no resistance as you work on executing the demonstrated technique. 

Specific Sparring

After learning the techniques, the class transitions into a "drilling" phase.

Here, you'll get to apply the techniques you've learned in a more dynamic way. Drilling is a vital part of BJJ as it helps you understand when and how to use a technique in a live situation.

This part of the class you will start in the position drilled but now your partner will resist and try to nullify your attempts to progress.

It's an opportunity to test the techniques you've learned against an opponent in a controlled environment.

Even as a beginner, you'll be encouraged to roll, but the focus will be on using the techniques you've learned rather than "winning".

This is where BJJ truly shines as a physical and mental workout, challenging you to make quick decisions under pressure.

Full Sparring (Rolling)

Most gyms will finish the class with a few rounds of full sparring.

This can vary gym by gym. Some will make you wait until you've earned a certain number of stripes or some make reserve full rounds for more intermediate classes.

It will vary depending on the gym and it's not required, if you don't feel like jumping into full rounds immediately you can sit out and watch.


Attending your first BJJ class can be intimidating, but knowing what to expect can help ease your nerves and make the experience more enjoyable.

From warm-ups and technique instruction to partner drills and sparring, a typical BJJ class is designed to challenge and improve your skills in a safe and supportive environment.

So go ahead and give it a try - you may just discover a new passion and community in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.