A Survival Guide for Your First 6 Months of BJJ

Posted on Posted in Jiujitsu Talk

Your first 6 months is the hardest time in your training.

When you begin, it’s like being a new kid at school. Everyone seems to know each other, and understand the routine. Then, the lesson is a flood of new information and ideas. Finally, everyone starts rolling all over the place. The people who are losing don’t seem to be bothered by the chaos that surrounds them. It is no surprise most people don’t last beyond the first couple days. How do we increase your chances of lasting?

Find a gym you’re comfortable training in.

Try a couple places (with legit lineage) and decide what you like. A good school is generally friendly, and will provide a challenge that is reasonably safe. Every academy has varying degrees of formality, and a unique approach. I won’t yell at people during class, and prefer to participate in the warm ups myself. Some students prefer the drill sergeant approach, and can probably find it elsewhere. Most cities have a few to choose from.

Find a mentor, an equal, and stick to a schedule.

Make training a consistent part of your schedule, but don’t overdo it. Nobody feels like training all the time, but you will get the most out of the days you make yourself go. The experienced students will notice you, and offer extra advice. Pick the advisor who makes the most sense to you, and ask questions to Progress Faster.

Also, somewhere in the first six months, you will probably meet another beginner. Your new friend will be an ongoing challenge, and a good motivator to progress with. When you miss a day, it feels like they’re getting better.

*Pro Tip* Other people have the same problems as you. Watch to see how they respond.

Have some goals, big and small.


To the untrained, everything is chaos. First and foremost, learn how to survive. Keep your elbows and knees in, and guard your neck. Next, calm your breathing and look around. Then, learn the names of the positions you’re in. Once you know where you are, learn where to put your hands and why. Now, you can begin to Organize Your Game.

Most importantly, have fun.

You will experience ups and downs. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is infinitely complex, it’s important to embrace a willingness to learn. Everyone trains differently, so learn to appreciate different outlooks and approaches. We all have to lose a lot to make any progress, so learn to enjoy processes instead of results. Our challenges will never go away, but we will be more confident in dealing with them. One of the first things I was told, Jiu Jitsu is a journey- not a destination.