My husband and I have been talking about visiting a jujitsu gym for months now. On December 31, we finally bit the bullet and visited a gym; of course, the owner there threw in a huge deal with the new year coming and all of the sales that they had going on, and we basically got two unlimited memberships for the price of one. And just like that, we were jujitsu gym members.
My husband is definitely more interested in the sport and has a lot more background knowledge than I do, but we were both still pretty clueless about what to expect. We stayed around to watch the beginning of a class which looked fun and exciting and definitely got us motivated for our first class.
We went home and that's when the confusion hit. What do we wear? How do we prevent ourselves from getting rashes? What do we need to bring with us? What should we expect? What should we know before going in? What size Gi do we need? How do I do my hair? Am I going to have to spar with guys twice my size? And the list goes on and on.
We were clueless and had nobody to ask, and the Internet was not the most helpful place. So let me answer your questions!
Find a Gym
The Internet is great for this because you can research, message owners, and set up a gym visit. Alexander handled this part of it, and the first gym we actually visited, we fell in love with with.
Attire: Gi, compression shirt, compression pants, slip-on shoes
We took to our favorite shopping place to buy our Gis...Amazon. Unfortunately, I ordered both of them too big, which meant Alexander was able to fit in the one I ordered for myself, and I was left with nothing. Note: The Gi's are unisex, are even the size that fits seems so ill-fitting to me. Our gym actually recommended the Gi's from Amazon and says they are very comparable to a traditional Gi.
Luckily we both have a closet full of active gear, so I showed up to my first class and a long-sleeved compression shirt and yoga pants. Alexander had the new Gi so he was ready to go.
Compression Clothes can also be purchased on Amazon (I feel like my family and friends are finally seeing why I always have boxes by my front door). But you can also buy compression gear at a sporting goods store or probably even Walmart.
Slip-on shoes are for convenience. You will be barefoot on the mat, so having shoes you can slip on and off to walk to the lockers or bathroom is a great idea! (And everyone else is doing it).
Notes for Attire:
Belt- Make sure you watch some YouTube videos and learn how to tie your belt. The members at your gym may eventually teach you 'their way" but there is nothing more annoying than tying it in a double knot and it coming undone 100 times a class. We know because we went to 3 classes before we finally learned the correct way- and it was through YouTube!
Hair-I highly suggest tying it in a tight ponytail and then wrapping it in a tight bun. I definitely saw all different types of hairstyles, but after my first day and having my hair pulled 100 different times, I wanted it out of the way COMPLETELY.
What to Expect:
When you get there, you will put your Gi on and head to the mat. When the coach or master comes out, you will all line up according to RANK. You, my friend, will be by all the other white belts but be careful because if a white belt has tape, it means they are of higher rank. Find a friendly face, introduce yourself, and ask them where you should line up.
You will then see a demonstration and will disperse to practice with a partner. This is how our techniques class is set up, at least. Luckily, I went with my husband, so I knew I had a partner. I know a lot of people who also start Jujitsu with a friend to ensure a partner, but there will be other solo people, and if not, a higher-level belt will be happy to work with you. Again, they are so nice!
For our classes, we have an hour of technique, which is all with your one partner. When this ends, you will again line up by rank and then bow to the end class. We then walk through and shake hands with every member of the gym.
...and then you have the opportunity to spar or roll. This means you get to practice the moves you have worked on and truly get at it. You will spar with anyone who is willing; you can start simply with your partner from class, and then after that round is up, you find another partner until you are done. This part of the class is completely optional, which means we can spar, work on moves, or even ask higher belts questions.
Overall my first class was fabulous. We learned WAY more than we thought we would on day 1 but it was soooo cool. We are excited to see how we grow and learn as we continue to go.
Here is what we keep in our jujitsu bag:
-Belts (I fold the top of the Gi and belt in the pants of the Gi to keep it all together)
-First Aid bag (bandaids, athletic tape, pre-wrap, liquid bandaid, Neosporin)
I hope this helps you feel ready for your first day!
L E T ' S B E F R I E N D S!