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Jiu Jitsu Breakdown

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Beginning Jiu Jitsu is no small thing, in fact, it may be one of the biggest most life changing things you will ever do. The “Gentle Art” has a remarkable way of drawing you in and keeping you coming back for more day after day, week after week, and year after year. Jiu Jitsu can change your life if you allow it, but that is completely up to you. Starting your Jiu Jitsu journey will be different than anything else you have ever experienced before, so we are going to break down how you can manage your expectations, reality, goals and dealing with adversities.


This is one of the hardest parts when you first start training Jiu Jitsu. Every person comes in with different expectations, and every person regardless of their personal goals will be surprised.

If you are expecting Jiu Jitsu to be similar to any other martial art you may have done before like Karate or Taekwondo, you are going to be in for a shock. Jiu Jitsu is a game of strategy, like chess, except you are fighting for your life, in a safe and controlled environment. One of the things you can definitely expect during this journey is accepting how vulnerable you will be at times and how there will always be someone that is ready and able to toss you around. No matter how good you are, there is always someone that is more skilled and better than you.

If you are anticipating an MMA type of experience, you will once again be surprised. Jiu Jitsu isn’t called “The Gentle Art” for no reason. It has a slow, more strategic side to it that oftentimes people don’t expect. If you are planning on embracing the chaos and thinking that how fit or big you are will take you far in this sport, you are wrong. You need to be prepared to solve puzzles, while simultaneously dangling off of a cliff, that is how each roll feels. That is also the same feeling that will keep you coming back day after day and make you a better version of yourself in every part of your life.


The reality of beginning Jiu Jitsu is that you are about to do something really hard, both physically and mentally. You will be challenged in every way. It does not matter how fit you are or are not, it doesn’t matter how many times you have watched Jiu Jitsu techniques on youtube or how many UFC fights you’ve seen. Even your speed and flexibility don’t matter. What matters is your ability to take your mind, tactics, and physicality to the next level and become comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is what will make you successful in Jiu Jitsu.

Oftentimes, it takes a while to truly learn and master a technique. It is rare to drill something perfectly the first time, so be prepared to keep trying and drilling until you have the technique down. It can take several months to build a solid foundation for Jiu Jitsu, do not give up! Anything less than 3 months of training and you won't have an accurate picture of what Jiu Jitsu is truly like. Learning to be resilient in the face of adversity is a huge part of Jiu Jitsu, and life, so be patient and don’t give up that easily!

The truth about Jiu Jitsu is you are in for something different each time you step on the mat, you will be tested every single day that you train but you never know what questions will be asked. The best part? You will love every bit of it!


Each person has very different and individualized goals when they begin Jiu Jitsu. Now, you have to learn how to manage your goals. Some people start Jiu Jitsu because they want to compete, some start because it is a fun way to workout, and others start as a way to defend themselves. No matter what category you fit into, you need to learn to manage your expectations.

If one of your goals is to run through the belts as fast as you can, just know that you are still in for a decade of hard work and dedication. If you are trying to rack up as many medals as possible, know you will get them, but also know you will lose matches, both of these things are inevitable. In Jiu Jitsu there is a common saying: “there is no losing, you either win or you learn”. Being able to see the loss as an opportunity to learn will help you during your Jiu Jitsu journey and in your personal life. Embrace the losses and set new goals to keep progressing!


One of the things Jiu Jitsu is known for is the community it fosters and how amazing it is. Why is this true? Because of the shared experiences Jiu Jitsu fighters have together. You will learn new things about yourself and other people as well as finding the areas you can improve while gaining a new perspective within your own life.

Experience is the best part about starting Jiu Jitsu whether it's through weekly classes, seminars, training camps, or tournaments, Jiu Jitsu is going to give you a new outlook on life and make you achieve the best version of yourself. This sport is going to give you a wide range of experiences that without it, you would never get. We believe this is one of the most exciting things in the Jiu Jitsu journey.

Dealing with Adversities:

It is inevitable that during your Jiu Jitsu journey you will have to overcome adversities, and this is what will make you grow. Here are some tips to help you overcome those adversities:

  1. LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR: This is crucial when beginning Jiu Jitsu. If you come to class thinking that you are going to smash someone based on your size or strength, you will be quickly corrected. Be prepared to watch, listen, and drill. DO NOT try and muscle your way in or out of situations, doing that might cause injury for you or your partner.

  2. HAVE SELF AWARENESS: Look around you, be aware of the size of your partner versus yourself. If you are much larger than your partner, do not attempt to muscle them into submission, but rather flow with them. Remember, if you hurt your teammates, they won’t be there tomorrow for you to train and learn with.

  3. KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS: It is okay to start training Jiu Jitsu with existing injuries. We can work around injuries and make our partners aware of them before training. Do not overdo training to try and prove something to yourself or someone else. Protect your body so you can keep coming back day after day!

Please be aware that if you try to use strength versus technique when rolling, you are very likely to get hurt. Coming onto the mat with an ego will be the biggest mistake you can make because there will always be someone ready to humble you. Tap early and tap often, ask questions, and try to soak up as much information as possible while training. Be aware that things like mat burns and minor bruising are normal and part of the overall Jiu Jitsu experience, they help build character!

Note to parents with kids: We understand that your children will have other hobbies and interests besides Jiu Jitsu. However, we do not recommend stopping Jiu Jitsu altogether for long periods of time to participate in seasonal sports or other things. Jiu Jitsu is a skill that people will take with them and use their whole lives. We understand that there will be times when you can’t dedicate as much time to Jiu Jitsu as others, but coming in at least once a week is very important so you retain the knowledge you have and continue practicing the techniques you have learned.


We believe that Jiu Jitsu is for everyone, and everyone can benefit from training, you don’t have to set out to be a world champion to take the benefits that Jiu Jitsu can offer to you. In fact, we believe Jiu Jitsu can be used as a therapeutic tool for many of the social or emotional struggles such as lack of confidence, self esteem, ADD, Autism, lack of socialization and others. Our main goal here at Ralph Gracie Walnut Creek is to make Jiu Jitsu accessible to all people, whether young or old, large or small. We know that each individual can benefit from our classes learning to gain confidence within themselves.

This journey will teach you things you never imagined before. You’d be surprised how much you can learn by rolling around on a mat with people, but don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself!

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