Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Q&A for Beginners at Spartan Fitness MMA - Birmingham, AL

Whether you’re just getting started on your mixed martial arts journey, or you’ve only been focused on kickboxing or fitness, you’re bound to have some questions about BJJ. At Spartan Fitness MMA Birmingham, we’re here to help. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great for improving confidence and self-awareness, as well as fitness and self-defense! As you start your Jiu-Jitsu journey, here's a few things for you to know. 


What should I bring to Jiu-Jitsu class?

Bring your gi, your belt, a bottle of water, a towel, and shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Wear a rashguard or a fitted SBG shirt and spats or shorts underneath your gi. If you choose to wear a rashguard that shows rank, be sure to wear your rank! Mouth guards are optional, but if you plan on rolling after class, it is recommended.


How should I prepare for my first class?

On the day of your first class, try to arrive at the gym a little early. Sign in at the front desk, and if you’re not quite sure how to put your gi on or how to tie your belt, ask a staff member! We also have video tutorials on our YouTube channel (check it out below! ⬇️) for you to reference if you want to learn before you come in, or in case you need a refresher. Find a place in the cubby area to store your gym bag, and head to the mat. Be sure to kick your shoes and socks off before you step on the mat, and always slide them back on if you need to step off for any reason, even just for a sec! It is proper jiu-jitsu etiquette and a sign of respect to bow as you step onto the mat. We won’t ask you to bow to any pictures or do anything weird, we promise. You’re welcome to warm up and stretch on the mat before class, just make sure you’re not in the way of any classes currently taking place. At class time, your coach will call everyone to line up in formation. We line up by rank on gi days and no-gi days, with the highest ranks in the front of the formation, and the newbies in the back or at the end of the line. Aside from the purposes of showing respect to the people who have earned the color on their belts, it’s a quick way for the instructor to assess the varying experience levels in class and know how best to present the curriculum for the day. A typical class is structured as such: warmup, drills, live work. The majority of the class will be drilling. Pick a partner that is close to your size and weight if one is available. And relax! You’re gonna enjoy this.





How do I get my first stripe on my white belt?

All you have to do is show up consistently. We recommend coming to at least two classes per week. Show the coaches that you can be a relaxed training partner and that you will not hurt yourself or anyone else if you go live. The Foundations curriculum is circular, so you will have enough of the basics to move up after three to six months of consistent training to earn your first stripe. Earning that stripe means you are ready to move into the Spartan Athlete Program and participate in live rolls after class. Pro tip: don’t ask for a stripe or when you’ll get one. That will only delay the process. Come to class consistently, be willing to learn, and watch the magic happen.   


How do I show courtesy / proper etiquette?

Show respect to your training partners and to higher belts. Shake and bump before and after every roll or live drill. Lower belts should always move out of the way of higher belts while drilling or rolling.

Don’t be late! If you arrive to class once warmups have already started, speak with the black belt instructor to see if you can still join class.

Shower and wash your gi after every training session. Cut your nails, and never walk off the mat without shoes. Every rep. Having proper hygiene is about the most courteous thing you can do in a close-contact sport like BJJ.



How can I improve on specific techniques in my game?

Ask a coach about setting up private lessons. Private lessons are a great way to hone-in on specific problem areas and improve your game overall. But really, the answer is reps! You will never improve if you don’t practice.


Am I too old?

NO! And don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone! In our gym, you have to be at least four years old to start our classes. Other than that, there are no age limits. We have a 75-year-old tribe member that is consistently on the mat. No excuses!


What are belt promotions like?

At Spartan Fitness/SBG Alabama, we have belt promotions about every three months. Our belt promotions are in the form of iron man rolls, which means that every person getting promoted will roll with every other person on the mat. It’s tiring, but so worth it. You’ll leave with a sense of accomplishment unlike anything else. Be on the lookout for us to release the date of our next belt promotions. It’s in the works!


What are the steps to take for me to compete?

We recommend that you have at least one stripe on your belt before competing and are attending at least two classes per week. This will ensure that you have some basic foundational techniques and have experienced what it’s like to practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu live. Before you register for any tournament, check in with your coach to make sure it’s the right move. We want you to be prepared, have a good experience, and ideally have a coach with you to help you through your matches.



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