1504 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, Tennessee 37210

What to Expect in Your First Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Class

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What to Expect in Your First Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Class

For a lot of people walking into an MMA gym can be intimidating, you see a bunch of sweaty guys trying to either strangle each other or punch each other in the face. It is alot for anyone to take in trust me, I've been there. But fear not, I’m here to prepare you for your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class (we’ll tackle the Muay Thai aspect next week).


History of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu found its origins in Japan. It was used by Japanese soldiers as a last line of defense in battle. From there it shifted from the battlefield to more self-defense-based. In 1882, with this focus, Jigoro Kano founded his martial arts school, Kodokan. This school of thought and practice later led to the creation of Judo. 

Decades later, a student of Kodokan, Mitsu Maeda, traveled across the world down to Brazil. It was there Maeda met the Gracies. From there, the Gracie family adjusted aspects of judo by making it more applicable and useful for everyone. Thus Brazilian jiu-jitsu was born. 

In the 1970’s Rorion Gracie, the son of an original Gracie sibling, Héilo, came to the United States. With him, he brought Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Just bringing the sport to the country was not enough, though. Rorion met a business partner and together they created the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. 

The UFC back then is not the UFC today. The goal with the first UFC was to see which style of fighting was the most superior. Athletes from all weights and martial arts came together in a tournament with practically no rules and regulations among them. Rorion had a point to prove that BJJ was the best, so he had his brother Royce come and represent this style among the competitors. Royce, a slender man who fought someone nearly 70 pounds heavier, won the tournament and proved to everybody BJJ was here to stay.


Gi vs. No-Gi

Gi and No Gi are the two forms of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gi Jiu Jitsu is grappling with the use of a traditional Gi, which allows you to grab the clothing of your opponent. No-Gi is grappling without the traditional uniform, instead you wear shorts and a rash guard. In no-Gi you cannot grab your opponent’s clothing.

The Gi has a huge amount of grips on both the jacket and pants. The grips allow you to have great control on the fight and to submit your opponent using their or your own Gi. In No-Gi you have more wrestling based grips such as neck, and grabbing all joints in the body. It is harder to control an opponent and can slip or power out of controls.


No-Gi BJJ is faster paced. Gi slows things down due to the natural friction of the garment.

While Gi and No-Gi are very similar, the way both styles evolve are very different. In Gi, the numerous grips and Gi material mean that a lot of set ups are based on using the Gi material. In No-Gi, you look more at taking your opponent’s back because mounting in No-Gi has limited submissions, and the back position has the rear naked choke and other options. You will find No Gi players using more guillotines and brabo/darce chokes as well as using more foot locks.

It is hard to say what is more technical as both styles are different.


Nashville MMA

We offer both styles of BJJ at Nashville MMA and both classes are run in a similar style. Every class begins by lining up in order of belt rank (black, brown, purple, blue, and white). If you are just starting out its best to stand at the end of the white belt line, it's a sign of respect for your training partners. Plus it gives you plenty of examples of how to do the warm up moves. You’ll run through about a 10 minute warmup, this will take you through various useful moves like shrimping and front/back rolls. Your instructor is always there watching so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you don’t know what to do. After warm ups there will be about 20-30 minutes of drilling. The instructor will carefully run through how to do each move step-by-step. After that you find a partner to drill with and your instructor will be around to help you, answer questions, and fix anything you are doing wrong. After that there is usually 20-30 minutes of “live rolls”. If this is your first class it is recommended you sit out the first couple rounds to get a feel for what they look like. Once you feel comfortable then you can jump into some rolls, everyone will be happy to work with you slowly and teach you as you roll. When rolls are finished you line up in order again, bow out and follow the line to shake hands. With that you’ve completed your very first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class!


If you are interested in trying a free BJJ class with us, visit us online or call us at (615)297-4430. We’ll be happy to get you scheduled and answer any other questions you may have.

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