The Best Way To Introduce Someone To BJJ

I had a completely new student schedule a private lesson to see what Brazilian jiu-jitsu was all about. She did not come from any previous martial arts background nor was she a fan of MMA.

I asked her, “What are you looking for in jiu-jitsu? What do you want out of it?”

Like the majority of people who try a martial art for the first time, she said that she wanted to learn Worm Guard, berimbolo, and how to sweep for points to win a gold medal.

No, just kidding.

Her answer was, “I find the gym boring, and I’m looking for another type of fitness. Of course, I would like to learn how to defend myself and feel more confident that I can protect myself if there is a problem.”

I started her with a few ground movements to warm up the body and began to teach some fundamental skills required for the techniques to come. Shrimps, bridges, safety standups, a few stretches.

We covered standup self defense. “Do you know how to defend a double throat grab?” She tries to defend on instinct and is unable to escape. I show the very basic, but effective, step back and duck your head out defense. A light bulb comes on – hey, that is simple but it really works!

Working on the ground, I take top mount with a throat grab and ask “What would you do in this situation?” The untrained individual has little idea of how to escape and must admit she has no answer.

I then asked her to take top mount and try to choke me, the instructor. Immediately and effortlessly, I escape with the basic bridge escape from mount. “Try again.” Same result.

“Remember the bridge exercise we performed in the warm up?” I explain how we can use the more powerful muscles of the hips and legs to reverse a heavier opponent and escape a difficult situation. Another light bulb goes off.

“Wow! This BJJ stuff actually works!”

Next, she learned the difference between the guard and the mount, how we can use our legs in the guard to keep our opponent’s weight off of us, and a scissor sweep as a way to reverse the fight and get to the top position. We will use that shrimp move that we learned in the warm up. Use the collar and sleeve grip on the kimono to control our opponent and employ the strength of your legs to scissor sweep.

Finishing off the individual techniques, we had some fun with the straight arm lock from mount. I showed her how she can use the larger, stronger muscles of her hips against the weaker, smaller elbow joint of an opponent to force them to submit.

Finally, we strung together the scissor sweep from guard, coming on top to mount and then submitting the opponent with a straight arm lock.

That was just enough jiu-jitsu for her first class. It was a lot of information, and she got a little taste of what jiu-jitsu is all about.

“That was great! When can we train next?”

What are your “go to” techniques to introduce your friends to BJJ?


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