1. You need to get in shape first.
One of the most common misconceptions about beginning your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training is that you need to get in shape first! I often have people come by the academy and tell me that they want to get in shape before trying out a free class or before they take part in the Beginner Program. To be clear, I have no problem with people wanting to come by and watch a class or to simply check out the facility and see how the classes are structured rather than just jumping in and trying out a class. In fact, I recommend doing so at a variety of academies so that you can get a feel for the atmosphere and then decide to jump in and try a class. I'd hate for a person to have a horrible experience in a trial class and NEVER want to set foot on a mat again. After training and teaching Jiu Jitsu for over 20 years, it is clear to me that one of the most desired benefits and OUTCOMES of training BJJ is that you will get into fantastic shape. People start their training at a variety of different athletic levels, ages, shapes and sizes and with consistency, they all progress towards a healthier version of themselves. The vast majority of Jiu Jitsu practitioners wish that they started sooner. There is no need to get in shape first, just find an academy with a great atmosphere and start. Begin at your own pace and you will see the benefits!
2. You Are Part of a Fight Club.
Contrary to popular belief, joining a BJJ academy is NOT like joining a fight club! Jiu Jitsu is an amazing sport. Of course, BJJ will help you prepare for a physical confrontation because not only is it a great self-defence system but you will also spend a lot of time doing live drilling and sparring with resisting partners. Although, the live drilling and sparring will develop your skills for a potential situation, but most Jiu Jitsu academies do not pretend to be a fight club. No longer is BJJ about challenge matches and fighting different martial arts to prove its dominance. The sport has evolved. Its value was displayed in the early UFCs and now all MMA athletes know the importance and value of BJJ. The majority of current World Champions at each belt level are training and acting like professional athletes. Jiu Jitsu is one of the fastest growing sports worldwide. The next generation of competitors is really raising the level and quality of BJJ taught across the globe. Our team, Atos Jiu Jitsu, led by the Mendes Bros, Andre Galvao and Ramon Lemos has won the world title for the past couple years. Atos Jiu Jitsu is a relatively young team but it has taken over the world scene rather quickly by developing a fantastic crop of BJJ athletes. They really changed the game in the training methodologies used and positional understanding and the results speak for themselves. After all this being said, if BJJ was like a fight club, then I couldn't tell you anyways.
3. You Need to Compete.
Although Jiu Jitsu is a fast growing sport and many academies dedicate a lot of their classes toward preparing students for a competition, you do not need to compete! Jiu Jitsu is for everybody and not everybody wants to be a competitor. It is perfectly ok to want to practice Jiu Jitsu just for the love of the sport, just as people who jog do not necessarily want to enter a race. Often times, I find that students do like to try competing at least once but by no means is it forced. Competition does have many benefits for those who are interested in it but if it is something that will turn you off of training Jiu Jitsu then do not feel the pressure to compete. The benefits of training Jiu Jitsu regularly far outweigh the benefits of competing and if your own goals do not involve competition that is perfectly ok!