Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (But Were Afraid to Ask)


You’re thinking about attending your first ever Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ for short) class.

However, you’d be lying if you said you weren’t a little bit intimidated. You’ve watched professional and amateur BJJ fighters, and you have a huge amount of respect for the incredible things they can do.

You’re worried about embarrassing yourself -- but the truth is, you shouldn’t be. After all, even the best fighters in the world also had first day jitters.

Knowing what to expect out of your first class will help you to feel much more confident.

Read on the get the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for beginners.

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

BJJ is a martial art based on the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger, heavier opponent.

What's the Difference Between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Karate?

The biggest difference is that, while the majority of Karate fighting occurs while you’re standing, BJJ primarily focuses on ground fighting. You’ll need a partner a fair amount of the time as well, whereas in Karate, you can practice most of the moves on your own.

Is there Striking in BJJ?

No. The majority of BJJ training is spent teaching you how to take the fight to the ground, how to control your opponent on the ground, then how to submit your opponent on the ground.

What Should I Wear for Training?

The most important element of the Jiu-Jitsu wardrobe is what’s known as a gi.

The gi is made up of a cotton jacket, cotton pants, and a belt. It’s comfortable and roomy enough to allow for the level of movement you need to master BJJ moves.

The training the gi adds a level of control as you can grab, hold and manipulate your opponent’s gi.

Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Dangerous?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has a built in safety mechanism, called the “tap”. When live training, you can “tap” your opponent to signal that you submit whenever you feel you are at risk of injury. This will stop action and create a reset with your partner.

Trust the “Tap”

You’ll learn in a safe environment with constant monitoring by an instructor. Your instructor will go over the rules of both training and fighting, and can stop the class or a fight at any time if they see unsafe behavior.

I'm Not in the Best Shape. Is BJJ Right for Me?

BJJ is open to people of all fitness levels and experiences -- and all ages.

People take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for many different reasons, and one of the biggest ones is to help them to get stronger and more agile.

Don’t worry about whether or not everyone else is looking at you -- the truth is that, like you, they’re too focused on getting the moves right to care or even notice that you’re out of breath.

Am I too Old for BJJ?


Probably not. It seems that every BJJ gym has a 65-year-old on the mats giving the young guys fits. Again, this goes to the heart of BJJ. Protecting yourself against a younger stronger opponent.

What Are the Benefits of BJJ?

It’s impossible to go over all the benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in a single article.

However, many people get into BJJ to learn self-defense, lose weight, and of course, to strengthen their sense of self-discipline. It improves your coordination, helps you to feel safer and more confident, and offers you some serious stress relief.

It even boosts your strategic and critical thinking skills.

For many people, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu may have started as a hobby or a new way to work out. But now, it’s a lifestyle that they can’t imagine walking away from.

Will I lose weight Training BJJ?

Weight loss is a very common in starting BJJ training.

What are the different belt levels?

White belt

Blue belt

Purple belt

Brown belt

Black belt

How long does it take to earn a BJJ Black Belt?

In most cases, you’ll need to train anywhere from 8-15 years to achieve the black belt status. (But seriously, worry about day one first)

What are “Stripes”?

Stripes mark progression within a belt level. For example, a blue belt with three stripes is closer to purple belt than a blue belt with no stripes.

Ready to Sign up for Your First Class?

Now that you have a much better understanding of what to expect out of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you’re ready to sign up for your very first class.

Perhaps you’re also interested in signing up your children.

No matter your interest or experience level, our incredible and supportive team at Renzo Gracie Bayside is here for you. In addition to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we also offer Muay Thai/Kickboxing classes.

Check out our class schedule here, and always feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing you the dojo.