One thing that’s overlooked in jiu-jitsu is just how rare an injury is. Yes, you will have aches and pains and yes, your body might need breaks. What I’m talking at specifically is just how rare you are a victim of someone else’s carelessness. I’ve been practicing jiu-jitsu for a little over four months now and last week was the first time somebody accidentally hit me in the nose.

Oddly enough, the scariest rolls I’ve had are with individuals who are trying jiu-jitsu for the first time. So, I’d like to offer some tips based on my first time rolling and things I wish I’d known.

Don’t Be Scared

My first time walking into Neutral Ground, I was incredibly nervous. I’m a pretty fat, out of shape guy with no grappling experience. My first thought is that everyone would be super annoyed by my presence. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Jon was incredibly nice and welcoming as was everyone I encountered that day. You might have butterflies in your stomach when you walk in, but you’re going to meet a lot of great people who are very willing to teach and help as you begin your journey.

You’re Going to Look and Feel Dumb

If you’ve never grappled or wrestled before, make friends with feeling out of place or silly. I’ve played basketball and football most of my life, I felt like that gave me a good sense of balance and center of gravity. Nope. Turns out that while I know what momentum is, I have no idea how to use mine, or make sure it isn’t used against me. If you have an older brother (at least 3 to 5 years older) picture being 6 and wrestling with him. It’s a lot like that.

Slow Down

Rolling is super fun. However, if it’s your first time taking a class, and you’re trying to recreate the top 5 UFC submissions it’s not going to go well. Most likely what will happen is you’ll hurt your partner. Take it slow, everyone is really bad for at least 8 months. Just learn and have fun.

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