Your First Day of Jiu Jitsu

Congratulations, you’ve just done the hardest part – you showed up to your first day of jiu jitsu! Compared to taking the leap and getting yourself on the mats, everything is easy from here. Lately (because we recently opened our doors) we’ve seen quite a few people have their first day ever trying jiu jitsu with us out at Airlock Jiu Jitsu in Bastrop, TX, and it’s inspired some thoughts about the beginning of the jiu jitsu journey that we thought we’d share with you.


At Airlock Jiu Jitsu, our Owner & Head Instructor, Professor Rei Villa, has a specific approach to introducing jiu jitsu to a brand newbie. He wants all new people to understand the context in which we use jiu jitsu in a real life situation – understand the ‘story’ of a violent conflict; how we move from the beginning of an altercation all the way through until we finish the fight. On your first day of jiu jitsu, you would ideally learn this story so that you can understand jiu jitsu in the context of the fight, instead of learning specific techniques ‘in a vacuum’ as Rei likes to say.

The altercation between two people begins simply enough, but the initial best option may surprise you: run away. Surprising coming from the people who train to fight, right? But the truth is that the best fight is the one you don’t have to be in. We’ll write more about this later on, but what jiu jitsu is here to address are the situations in which you cannot run away – someone has perhaps cornered or grabbed you or you are protecting others like your family. In that case, you want to know where to start. On ‘day one,’ we address how to move quickly out of a danger zone (at striking distance from another person) into a safer spot by actually closing the distance between yourself and your opponent and engaging in a clinch – ideally a double underhook clinch where you control underneath the arms of your opponent. From there, we want to take the fight to the ground with a simple takedown. At that point, we can reassess – should we simply run away now? If we need to continue the fight, we will follow the fight to the ground and begin climbing what Rei describes as the ‘ladder’ of dominant positions, starting from Side Control, moving into the Mount position, and from there potentially just controlling our opponent until help arrives or if the situation calls for it, utilizing a submission like a choke or a limb break to finish the fight. Or perhaps advancing further up the dominant position ladder to control someone’s back and again choke or control them. 

What does all that mean for someone on their first day? Well it means that you gain an understanding of the fundamental strategy of jiu jitsu – moving up a dominant hierarchy, grappling and taking the fight to the ground. You also get an understanding of the dominant positions like the clinch, side control, mount, and maybe even back mount all on day one. You’ll find these positions everywhere as you begin to roll (live drilling/sparring in jiu jitsu). 


So what’s stopping you from getting that first day done? Absolutely nothing. Come give it a shot with us at Airlock Jiu Jitsu – everybody gets a free week no matter what, Strive Strength & Conditioning members get special bundle pricing, and LEOs, Vets/Active Duty, and First Responders get a discount. Come on in, we’ll get you squared away, and every day after day one just gets easier. 303 Martin Luther King Dr Bastrop, TX 78602, located inside Bastrop Fitness Project. 6 Days a Week. Classes for all. 

Read some first day FAQs here.

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