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What Should You Expect In Your
First Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Class?

Welcome to the Smooth Combat Academy blog.


In this post we will answering a common question we recieved when we first opened our doors back in 2022.

This questions was:


‘What exactly is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and what happens in a BJJ class?” 


Firstly, what is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or for short ‘BJJ’.


Here’s a brief history. 


BJJ is a martial art based around grappling. Grappling is the name given to any form fighting that doesn’t involve striking your opponent or training partner. Other examples of grappling based martial arts are judo and freestyle/Olympic style wrestling. Practitioners of grappling arts use a combination of throws, trips, takedowns, pins, chokes and joint locks to subdue and overcome their opponents or training partners.


BJJ was developed by the Gracie family and their associates in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, during the early 1900’s. Initially developed as a self defence martial art which combined aspects of judo, wrestling and traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu, the Gracie’s added their own techniques which were unique to the style, such as the ‘guard’ position, and blended the styles together, creating Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.


The art exploded in popularity in 1993, with the arrival of the very first UFC event and Royce Gracie’s dominant display of the effectiveness of BJJ when he managed to easily defeat in representatives of a variety of different martial arts in no holds barred fights. 


Since then BJJ has grown into a huge sport in its own right, with competitions happening in cities all around the world every weekend, and people from all kinds backgrounds and demographics getting together regularly to enjoy training in the art.


- Royce Gracie defeated Ken Shamrock at UFC 1, 12th Nov 1993, via submission. The most famous and important display of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to this day.

So what exactly happens at a BJJ class?


Firstly, no two gyms are exactly the same, and every instructor has a unique style of teaching and running a BJJ class.


There will always be a fully guided warm up, some technical instruction from the coach, and then a period of drilling (practicing) of the techniques just learned with varied levels of resistance from your training partner. 


One of the beautiful things about BJJ is that with just a basic understanding and level of competency, it’s possible to spar with very high intensity and not risk injuring your training partners. This allows for rapid progression and the chance to learn to 'feel your technique' and current ability against a fully resisting training partner.


We believe that every good BJJ session should include some form of live training. This may be 'positional sparring', where you will be instructed to start in a set position and work for a specific goal, or completely open sparring (known as 'rolling' when training BJJ), where both participants work towards making their partner submit (tap out), which is the end goal of BJJ.


The coach will always specify and outline the aims of every exercise you do, and also the round time, and then its up to you to get to work!


We hope that this provides some clarity as to what to expect in a BJJ class and eases any apprehension about giving it a go.


If you would like to get starting training in BJJ, please use the link at the top of the page to 'Sign Up' and come down to any timetabled BJJ class, or use the contact form at the bottom to send us a message to arrange a free trial class at the academy. 


Thank you.


Head Coach

Smooth Combat Academy

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