When just getting started in the practice of jiu jitsu, the biggest goal is to keep from getting discouraged. The first day of jiu jitsu is always the most difficult, and mine wasn’t any different.
Watching MMA on television, you see these fighters submitting people, advancing position and flying around on the ground with what looks like reckless abandon. For beginners, the sport isn’t nearly as easy as these professionals make it look.
If you show up expecting to submit people right away, you are in for a long night. For beginners like myself, it’s all about surviving, defending the attacks of more experienced grapplers, and maintaining safe positions.
Today was my second ever Brazilian jiu jitsu session at Premier Martial Arts in Toledo and it was a much smaller class than Monday. We were working on the no-gi style. Traditional Brazilian jiu jitsu is all about the gi, something that initial MMA fighters like Royce Gracie and Gary Goodridge wore in the early days of the UFC. With today’s modern rules banning the gi in sanctioned MMA matches, it’s very important to practice the sport without it as well.
After a brief warm-up, we drilled some fundamental moves like arm bar from closed guard as well as a basic guard pass from top position into side control.
After drilling, it was time for sparring sessions. For five minutes, I grappled with someone who knew the ins and outs of the sport significantly more than me, but I tried to use my size to counter his technique. At one point, I even passed his closed guard to half guard. What I don’t know is exactly how I did it, but that’s something that will come with experience.
Of course I ended up getting reversed and submitted twice in the last minute and a half, but that tiny pass to half guard is something to keep me motivated until the next class. You have to hold on to the little victories and you’ll never get discouraged.