BJJ for Beginners: A Full Guide for New Jiu-Jitsu Students

If you’ve been considering trying Brazilian jiu-jitsu, now is the time! Regardless of age or fitness level, anyone can enjoy this unique martial art. BJJ is ideal for beginners because it is a relatively safe and straightforward combat sport to learn.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu was pretty much unknown martial art before the UFC’s first show in 1993. Although it was popular in Brazil, BJJ’s popularity skyrocketed when Royce Gracie scored three back-to-back wins over heavier and stronger opponents.

It led to more and more new young guns in jiu-jitsu gyms. But how would you rank the benefits of BJJ for new students on a scale from 1 to 10? Should you start training at a young age? How fast can you learn basic moves and transition to submission switches and advanced rolls?

Keep reading; I’ll guide you through all kinds of Brazilian jiu-jitsu for beginners. Stay tuned and focus; much new info’s coming up!

What is BJJ?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling martial art based around ground fighting and submission holds, where your goal is to drag your foe to the mat and force him to surrender.

You can win points via takedown, control, or holding a dominant position. But, the cool thing is that you can finish the fight via various chokeholds or joint locks.

As soon as one fighter taps, the referee stops the bout and declares the winner via submission.

Although, if nobody surrenders or scores more points, one fighter will win via decision. But, first, when the match is ruled a draw, it goes to extra time, depending on the jiu-jitsu federation.

Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Beginners

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an excellent martial art for beginners because it teaches them how to defend themselves in a fight. It can also help newbies improve their balance and coordination.

Here are some of the most important benefits of Brazilian jiu-jitsu for new students:

  1. Self-defense skills: Jiu-jitsu beginners would have a solid chance of defending against a non-trained attacker in the street. This is because BJJ is very effective for self-defense.
  2. Weight loss: BJJ can help you burn calories and look way better.
  3. Better cardio and stamina: BJJ new students will significantly improve their conditioning in the first few months of training; it is a vigorous activity.
  4. Positive effect on mental health: Physical activity activates dopamine and serotonin, which leads to better overall pleasure;
  5. Better flexibility: Brazilian jiu-jitsu beginners cannot finish the opponent via Gogoplata, but training sessions will significantly improve your range of motion.
  6. Better discipline and respect.
  7. Social interactions and friends: You can at least talk to people with similar interests; that’s a great start.
  8. Positive effect on spatial intelligence, thinking, and solving problems: You must believe during the class or fight, especially when you start learning submission switches.

Related: Aside from being a very effective grappling combat sport, jiu-jitsu has several benefits. Click here to find out more!

Jiu-Jitsu Training for Beginners: What You Should Know?

A new BJJ practitioner should know many essential combat sports aspects. Buying a gi is just a start.

Please keep reading and set realistic goals. You don’t need disappointment in the early stages of your Brazilian jiu-jitsu voyage!

BJJ Training Gear

You don’t need a particular set of gear for your first BJJ class, but if you’d like to train long-term, you should think about buying the following pieces of equipment:

  1. Mouthpiece – I know what you’ll say, but new teeth cost a fortune. BJJ beginners are unaware of how dangerous shrimps and sweeps are. So, a mouthguard is essential to protect your teeth while training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
  2. Flip flops or sweatpants can work, but please buy rash guards too – you will roll on the mats. This is a piece of advice for a no-gi BJJ beginner.
  3. BJJ Gi and belt – If you’d like to participate in gi classes, please read which might be your top-notch pick.
  4. Please, forget about shorts and sleeveless T-shirts. You should protect your skin from contact with the mats.

Related: Are you ready to advance your Jiu-Jitsu training? Make sure you have the necessary equipment to succeed. Learn about the finest BJJ equipment you’ll need to better your talents and reach your grappling objectives. Click here to learn more!

Class & Training Structure

The BJJ class for beginners mostly kicks off with various forms of warm-ups. However, some BJJ instructors stick to light drills at first.

Yet, other teachers insist on heavy-duty conditioning drills at the beginning of the training session (depending on the dojo).

Classes usually start with a group warm-up – push-ups, sit-ups, running laps, and stretching exercises.

Instructors mostly insist on stretching your arms, hips, adductors, hamstrings, back, and glutes before the training session. In addition, shoulder and calf stretches are recommended for purple belts and higher.

A new jiu-jitsu practitioner should focus on solo drills, such as backward and forward rolls, hip escapes, bridges, shrimping, and moving your body across the mats.

Then, instructors might let new students train with a partner after a few training sessions unless you come from a grappling background.

Patience is a virtue; get a good angle when your coach explains and try to copy his moves the best you can.

Related: Are you curious about Jiu-Jitsu but unsure what to expect from your first class? Don’t let it hold you back! This post will walk you through the process of preparing for and attending your first Jiu-Jitsu class to have an incredible grappling experience and a good martial arts start.

What to Expect After One, Three, Six, Or 12 Months of Training

Let’s focus on an average practitioner who trains 2-4 times per week. Competitors are different.

One to Three Months of Training Expectations

After the first month of training, you should be able to recognize the basic positions and maybe sink your arm under the opponent’s neck for a rear-naked choke or a guillotine choke.

Also, a person without previous grappling experience should be able to do forward and backward rolls and some shrimps.

Most BJJ beginners learn triangle choke or some gi chokes after three months of dedicated training sessions. The ankle lock is easy to master too.

Indeed, you should get used to bridging, hip escape, and scissor sweep after three months in the gym.

Six Months Training Expectations

After six months of training, one can expect the knowledge of Kimura, Americana, and maybe a few more advanced submissions and one escape from each position of control.

If you regularly visit your training sessions, you’re not a BJJ beginner anymore. Maybe you’ll have a basic setup or two for your favorite submission attempt. Yet, your moves are still down to a novice level.

12 Months Training Expectations

If you train for 12 months, you should be able to get a hold of your favorite submission easily or go for a submission switch attempt.

The coach should start teaching you advanced drills and rolls. Competitors and experienced students are going to advance way faster, of course.

How Often Should A Beginner Train BJJ?

how to do flying triangle choke

Most dojos will hold two or three training sessions for BJJ beginners. If you’d like to advance faster, you can always call your jiu-jitsu school and schedule one-on-one sessions.

However, you can pay more money to train daily in some dojos. For example, the regular BJJ classes could cost 100 dollars on average three times per week.

Otherwise, some jiu-jitsu schools may allow “unlimited hours of training sessions” for 200 dollars.

Remember that more weekly training sessions will allow you to progress more quickly. However, your progress depends on your skills and BJJ study and training outside of the dojo at home.

At What Age Should You Start Jiu-Jitsu?

It’s never late to kick off your BJJ sessions, but the syntax “sooner is better” certainly applies here. Kids’ joints, bones, and ligaments are way more flexible. Plus, it is easier to improve flexibility before puberty.

Generally, girls are more flexible than boys, but that’s not the strict rule. For example, Gogoplata or triangle armbar demands a greater level of flexibility.

There are two sensitive periods for flexibility development:

  • First critical flexibility period: Boys and girls between 9 to 10 years old.
  • Second critical flexibility period: Boys between 13 and 16 years old and girls between 14 and 17 years old.

If you can start as a toddler, that’d be great. But the beginning before the age of 9 leads to greater chances of performing the most demanding submissions.

Unfortunately, Stiff fighters who start their BJJ voyage after the age of 17 might have difficulty with some locks and submissions due to a lack of hip and glute flexibility.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu can provide you with unique benefits even if you begin at 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60.

For example, consider Ed O’Neill, an actor, and BJJ black belt who started at 42. Also, Anthony Bourdain, a television host/author, has begun training in BJJ at 58.

Related Article: Click here to read more about the best age to start Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Basic Jiu-Jitsu Positions for Beginners

Good knowledge of positions is the essence of jiu-jitsu for beginners. However, if you’re an MMA fan, you often see this, so it works for gi and no-gi jiu-jitsu practitioners.

Source: Jiu-Jitsu Times

Bottom Guard

Many BJJ fighters dominate MMA from this position. You can look at Royce Gracie’s highlights; he won the first 3 out of 4 tournaments against heavier dudes for a reason. Triangle choke, Omoplata, armbar, etc!

Source: Ultimate MMA.

Full Mount

The mount position is hard to keep, but you can finish your opponent via Americana, Kimura, or an armbar. Also, it lets you earn control points and win on the scorecards.

Side Control

One of the most effective positions to control your opponent on the top. BJJ beginner’s submission options are limited, but it’s hard for the fighter on the bottom to improve his position.

Full Guard

The full guard position is pretty standard in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Wrestlers don’t like spending time on their knees, but a good fighter could attempt an ankle lock, kneebar, or heel hook and improve his position.

Half Guard

In MMA, you can quickly control and pound your opponent from a half-guard position, especially if you lock his leg.

In BJJ, this position gives you many great options – you can attack the opponent’s arms, neck, and even shoulder!

Body Triangle

The worst position for your opponent. You should attempt this as soon as you take your rival’s back! Even the elite-level MMA fighters and very skilled BJJ black belts cannot defend themselves from this position.

Source: DigitsuOnline

Related: Whether a beginner or a seasoned practitioner, knowing how to attack and defend from various jiu-jitsu positions is essential for taking your BJJ game to the next level. I wrote an article that comprehensively lists the fundamental BJJ positions you should know. Click here to learn more!

Most Important Moves and Techniques for Beginners

New students should start from zero in learning several Brazilian jiu-jitsu moves and techniques. Here are some easy-to-learn transitions, sweeps, and finishes.

Guard Replacement With Hip Escape

Rule number one – when you’re in the wrong spot, try to slip out of it. You’ll have to learn bridging and hip escape; forget about “bench pressing” your opponent!

Source: Stephan Kesting

Triangle Choke from Bottom Guard

You’ll need a lot of power to finish your rival with this move, but you’ll get better and better as time passes.

Source: Stephan Kesting

Bridge and Roll Mount Escape

Do you wonder what the famous syntax “bridge your way out” means? Well, the tutorial below explains. You’ve probably heard many coaches yelling this at the competition!

Source: Stephan Kesting

Straight Armlock from Mount

This used to be Ronda Rousey’s trademark; she finished eight opponents via the same move. So look at this tutorial and teach your opponent a lesson off the top!

Source: Stephan Kesting

Double Leg Takedown

You’ll have to drag your opponent to the canvas. Double leg takedown is a simple technique that doesn’t waste too much energy and power.

Source: MMA HEAT.

Rear-Naked Choke

Very primary submission; everyone can do it. You can make many adjustments, but sinking your arms under the opponent’s neck is pretty straightforward.

Source: Stephan Kesting

Straight Armbar from Bottom Guard

I’ve seen many elite-level fighters getting finished by this move. It’s pretty straightforward; follow the tutorial instructions.

Source: Stephan Kesting

Related: Begin your BJJ career confidently as you learn the essential techniques and movements that every beginner should know. This article reveals the basic moves and techniques to help improve your game so far.

BJJ Tips for Beginners: How to Excel in Your First Year?

You can’t expect much right off the bat, but a beginner white belt should be able to apply at least basic moves, sweeps, and transitions after one year of training. And maybe obtain a blue belt, too.

Source: M.M.A. Leech

You’ll need to focus on these best tips for a successful first year of training:

Train as Often as Possible

You will learn to transition way faster, and your body will automatize a specific set of movements.

Develop Your Fighting Style in the First 12 Months

Linking positions and learning new techniques are essential for improving your game. It would help determine whether you’re better off your back or on the top of your opponent.

For example, make transitions from half-guard to side control, top mount, or crucifix during sparring sessions.

Constant Improvement

The most remarkable progress happens within the first year of training. Feedback is key.

Your coaches and training partners are top-notch resources; ask them what is and is not working on your game. More questions lead to better knowledge.

Compete in BJJ Tournaments

Most fighters choose not to compete within the first year of training. But if you want to push yourself to the next level and become a pro one day, give it a shot.

beginners practitioners have access to several amazing Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments, but we advise you to develop your style first.

Related: Participating in top-tier competitions will let you unleash your competitive spirit and improve your Brazilian jiu-jitsu abilities to the next level. Click here to discover the top BJJ tournaments that will inspire you.


Brazilian jiu-jitsu for beginners is a tricky game; some practitioners advance faster, while others take time to develop flexibility and mobility first.

Here are some final thoughts on jiu-jitsu for beginners:

  • First, you should start training as soon as possible because skipping sensitive periods might limit flexibility. Then, you can forget about, for example, Gogoplata or inverted triangle choke in the later stages of your career.
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu beginners mostly train two or three times per week. Yet, daily training sessions lead to better progress and advancement.
  • One should create a realistic set of expectations. For example, forget about submission switches after three months of training. It takes time to master triangle choke to an armbar attempt.
  • There are tons of benefits of BJJ for beginners, from weight loss to making friends and better social life.
  • Learn basic positions in the first place. You can’t defend via knee shield if you didn’t master bottom guard. Don’t skip steps.
  • Focus on basic techniques in the first six months, then transition to advanced forms of sweeps, transitions, and submissions.
  • If you’d like to compete, start with tournaments that allow competitions between lower belts. You don’t want to get demoralized in the early stages of your career.

I hope you find this article worthwhile to learn about the first year of training for Brazilian jiu-jitsu beginners. Did you like this topic? Would you like to add something? If your answer is “yes,” please leave me comments and feedback.

Related: How Long to Get Good at BJJ? (Key Factors)



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