Picture: RibeiroPhoto


If you are thinking about starting jiu jitsu – well done! Let’s go for it! To make sure you show up, prepared like a pro, here are six things you must know before stepping on the mats. 

1. Wear comfortable clothes

Make sure you’re comfortable. Wearing a gi for the first time might feel like you’re dressed in a potatoe-bag (the gi) that is held together by a string (the belt). You’ll get used to that feeling.

What is important is that underneath the gi, you wear whatever you’re comfortable in. You will be rolling on the mat, will be upside down, on top of people and underneath them. Many people wear a rashguard and spats, which stay more or less in place during rolling. Also for this reason, a sports bra is a necessity and most girls prefere sports underwear that is not a thong.

2. Tie your belt like a pro

Practice this at home and impress everyone on your first class as you effortless fix your belt!

3. Bring flip-flops

An unwritten rule in jiu jitsu – and taken with varying degrees of seriousness across gyms – is that you PUT ON FLIPFLOPS WHENEVER YOU WALK OFF THE MAT. Think about it: you’re rolling on a mat with your body, face and hair. What if someone goes to the bathroom barefeet, does his or her business, and casually returns with those feet to the same mat you’re hugging with your face? Need we say more?

4. Introduce yourself to everyone in the gym

It might seem weird to shake each and everyone’s hand in jiu jitsu class – but really it’s not! In many gyms, it’s actually a very normal thing to do. By introducing yourself to everyone, you’ll get smiles and handshakes in return, making you start off on the right foot straight away.

Picture by RibeiroPhoto.

5. Don’t have dinner 30mins before class

Jiu jitsu is an intense sport that literally turns you upside down. Having dinner too close to training can be really tough on your stomach. You know your own body the best, but if you have a sensitive belly, try to have eaten dinner about 2 hours before class, and have a light snack around 1 hour before training starts.

6. Tie your hair jiu jitsu-proof

If you have long hair, it will most likely be in your face if you don’t tie it up. Tie it up in a simple ponytail, and then braid the ponytail. If you want to go all out, check out our blog on how to fix your hair jiu jitsu-proof!

How To Fix Your Hair Jiu Jitsu Proof

That’s it! Enjoy your first class!



Rose is a black belt at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Amsterdam (Checkmat). Besides being one of the co-founders of Ladies Only BJJ, she is a junior doctor MD and holds a MsC degree in Sports Sciences.


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