The Definitive Guide To Starting Your Jiu Jitsu Training - Shibusa Jiu Jitsu Studio | BJJ Canberra | Belconnen, ACT

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The Definitive Guide To Starting Your Jiu Jitsu Training


Jiu Jitsu, also known as BJJ, is a grappling martial art that focuses on ground fighting. It exploded in popularity after UFC 1, when Royce Gracie demonstrated that a strong grappler can overcome a physically powerful striker by using leverage and technique.

Jiu Jitsu's impact on mixed martial arts (MMA) and as a stand-alone sport / martial art has been undeniable since then. There are now thousands of Jiu Jitsu schools all over the world where you may study the art of dominating an adversary without striking, but instead utilizing positional dominance to achieve a submission victory (a joint lock or stranglehold). The submission is achieved when your partner taps out (gives up).

Jiu Jitsu is one of the fastest growing martial arts in the world, and it’s also one of the most enjoyable ways to get fit. It can be practiced as a form of self-defense or as a competitive sport. This extensive guide on starting jiu jitsu was written by a school owner, but it will give you an honest idea of what to anticipate from your jiu-jitsu beginnings. Starting with...


You could write a book about why you should train Jiu Jitsu but just to rattle off a few benefits:

It will teach you how to protect yourself in a self-defense situation by giving you skills you can rely on.

Jiu Jitsu is a fantastic way to get in shape while also being one of the most enjoyable activities you can participate in. Jiu Jitsu is not only physically beneficial, but it's also intellectually engaging because learning new skills necessitates concentration on understanding ideas rather than simply following through.

Jiu Jitsu is best learned with a partner, making it great for socializing and building lasting bonds. It’s also one of the most supportive communities you can find since you will be surrounded by people who are trying to accomplish similar goals.

Jiu Jitsu is hard. The road to earning a black belt is long and full of obstacles. However, we understand that overcoming challenges and continuing to fight are extremely gratifying.

Jiu Jitsu is a lot of fun. Yes, Jiu Jitsu is challenging, but it's also a lot of fun. It's difficult to compare the pleasure of having a good training session or catching a new submission to anything else.

bjj students laying on mats after jiu jitsu class in canberra studio


Yes, with the growing popularity of the art, finding a school near you is getting easier and easier. The majority of them have a free trial, sometimes one lesson, but occasionally a week. Normally, you may sign up for the trial on the website or send an email or call the academy.

At Shibusa Jiu Jitsu Studio we offer a no-obligation, complimentary 1-to-1 private lesson if you are brand new to Jiu Jitsu. 


Traditionally, the Jiu Jitsu student practices in a Gi, a martial arts uniform similar to a judo outfit. It consists of pants, a heavy cotton jacket and a white belt. For hygienic purposes, some schools may also require a compression top/rashguard to be worn under your uniform. A regular t-shirt would also do the trick, but they stretch too far and are destroyed after a few lessons, so polyester lasts much longer.

At Shibusa, we ask that you come in comfortable clothing eg. gym wear for your first intro lesson, and if you decide to join, we have uniforms available for purchase at the studio.

bjj martial arts class teaching jiu jitsu in canberra


Belt rankings are a measure of how much you have progressed in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Every student in BJJ begins at the rank of white belt. It represents a clean slate on which our martial arts knowledge may be built. Adults move up to blue belt, then purple, then brown, and finally black belt.

Several factors influence how long it takes to be promoted. Some academies conduct belt tests, some perform surprise promotions. The criteria also vary from person to person depending on unique objectives. At Shibusa, we recognize that a older hobbyist, for example, requires only consistency and improved technical knowledge to advance. A hyper-competitive youngster may need to compete against and beat higher belts in order to get to the next rank. Promotion from one belt to the next is earned by demonstrating superior knowledge of Jiu Jitsu in both sparring/live training and in technique.

A black belt may take between eight and twelve years to reach depending on your dedication, so patience is key!

BE AWARE! Schools that demand money for gradings are often a bad sign. If you're paying for training, you shouldn't have to pay to be promoted!


First, bring a smile and an open mind.

Your first intro lesson will be light on the physical demands but wear something comfortable you can move around in eg. gym wear.

Once you start attending regular classes, you will need a uniform. These can be purchased online or at your school.

Don't forget water! Brazilian Jiu Jitsu works up quite a sweat so staying hydrated is very important - especially when starting out at first since it's easy to get lost in thought during class which can make one unaware of their own hydration needs.

Finally, while a mouthguard is not required during technique practice, your intro lesson, or other non-sparring classes, it's an excellent idea for sparring. You may get inexpensive boil-at-home versions online or at a sports store. If you really get into BJJ, investing in a custom mouthguard produced by a dentist is well worth it. They are more comfortable to wear and stay in place better.

brazilian jiu jitsu student smiling during bjj martial arts class


This process differs slightly from school to school. At our studio, you can expect to be greeted at the front door and welcomed to our lounge area.

Next, you can expect to fill out a quick information form on an iPad and sign a waiver. Following that, we jump straight onto the mats to begin your private lesson. In this lesson we introduce you to Jiu Jitsu, show you a few techniques and get you ready to jump into our program. You also get a quick tour of the studio and it's a great time to ask any questions you may have before you begin training.


The quality of jiu jitsu instructors varies considerably. The vast majority of the time, instructors are brown or black belts. However, belt rank alone does not always indicate that the individual is the best teacher.

That is why it's a good idea to conduct some quick research on the teachers' accomplishments and reputation. If you live in a small or remote community, you may have few choices, but in a place like want to ensure that you will be getting quality instruction.

Your teacher should be professional, kind and willing to help if you’re struggling.


Yes, you can expect some kind of warmup before a beginner class and they vary depending on the teacher.

There are many ways to warm up, some schools will start off by running in circles with certain exercises included. Forward rolls, backward rolls, breakfalls and various sport-specific movements are all practiced.

At Shibusa Jiu Jitsu Studio we begin each class with some light mobility exercises. We then transition into drills that focus on improving your technique while also getting your body used to new movements. Beginners are guided and prepared for training while those with a solid foundation may use this time for technical revision, or play with higher level techniques; and explore advanced sequences


Not likely. If you're a UFC fan, you'll notice some positions that are similar to those seen in the cage. Mounting, back control, and specific submissions are just a few examples. Most of our natural reactions to fighting individuals who aren't striking are incorrect, and they must be reset.

Full disclosure: There are a few positions in BJJ, such as closed guard or mount or side control, that are as natural to jiu jitsu practitioners as walking or breathing. While it might be somewhat uncomfortable to wrap your legs around another person and sit on their stomach, keep in mind that you're learning how to save your life if you find yourself forced into a fight.

A respectable jiu jitsu school will have a curriculum in place for teaching beginners. If you see the instructor randomly demonstrating techniques that don't seem to match... this might be an indication of an unprofessional teacher.

At Shibusa Jiu Jitsu Studio, we use curriculum cycles designed to help you master Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as quickly as possible. We also make every attempt to make things easier for beginners by breaking down the skills into smaller, more manageable parts.

bjj students sparring in canberra jiu jitsu studio


After the teacher explains and demonstrates a technique, you'll pair up with someone from the class and practice turns. This usually entails repeating what was just shown by the instructor. If you run into difficulties, the teacher should be able to offer you some tips or perhaps perform a key aspect again. Following several attempts at practicing, the instructor will generally show a continuation of the prior technique or a slight variation.


The first thing you'll want to keep in mind is your personal health and wellbeing. Focusing on the proper form of each movement, paying attention to detail and not forcing things are all part of maintaining a safe training environment.

Once you begin sparring, the most important rule for staying safe on the mats is to TAP. You may tap out (ie. submit) whenever you are in danger or feel discomfort by using your hand and tapping two to four times on your training partner.

Tapping out is a good thing, so don't be afraid or embarrassed about it!

It's important to make sure your opponent feels it and not simply hears it. Tapping loudly on the mat is also effective, but the best approach is to tap your partner/opponent. In rare cases, when your hands are bound, you can just say "TAP" or "STOP." When someone taps, you must stop and let go. It is a sacred trust that keeps us safe.

self defence class at canberra martial arts school


This varies from school to school. Some Brazilian jiu jitsu academies do not allow new students to spar for a certain length of time. Some are on the other end of the spectrum, with no separate beginner group at all. This implies that beginners are sometimes sparring with more experienced individuals before they are ready.

Jiu Jitsu sessions usually conclude with rounds of sparring. This is one of the many appealing aspects of BJJ. Striking martial arts have a significant limitation. You can't spar (practice fight) at full intensity in striking because you risk knocking your partner unconscious or shattering their face.

At Shibusa, we try to combine the best of both worlds. We offer a Basics class, where the focus of the session is on building strong fundamental techniques and there is no sparring in the class.

We do include some sparring in our core Jiu Jitsu classes because this is the FUN part, however, we only practice live resistance training from certain positions. In this type of training you start out in a certain position or situation and define specific end points where you reset and start again. Being this specific allows us to explore a position much more deeply and is the best introduction to regular sparring training. We call this specific training or positional sparring. Every Jiu Jitsu class is followed by a Sparring class where intermediate and advanced students can have full rounds of sparring (also known as rolling).

We find this gradual progression of no sparring to specific sparring to open sparring, the best and safest way to introduce new students to this beautiful game of human chess. Remember! Sparring is always optional and it's not uncommon for students to join a class simply to practice technique.


This is a very important question and directly relates to what your goals are. The more regularly you train the faster you will learn new skills, develop an understanding of techniques and movements and increase overall body coordination.

There are no set rules for this, but some common advice is that beginners should aim to train 2 times per week. If you’re used to challenging yourself, you can come to training every day! However, attending two or three sessions each week is enough to consistently get better. Once a week isn't ideal for fast development, but it's much better than zero days per week!

The best thing you can do is to listen to your body's reaction to the activity. If you are feeling more tired than usual after class or if your muscles feel strained, then take a few days off until they recover. BJJ training sessions can be physically demanding and it's important to make sure you give yourself time to recover.

Jiu Jitsu is a lifelong journey so don't overdo it. Humble consistency always beats heroic bursts of effort.



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