Your First Sparring Session

If you’ve never done any submission grappling before, expect to get choked and arm-locked.  Against your will.  Many, many times.  Probably by a girl half your size.

Yeah, this will probably happen on your first day. A dozen times.

You’ll get tied up in knots, and be tapping out from chokes you didn’t see coming.  The tiny, skinny, shy kid that knowingly greeted you with a friendly handshake will suddenly feel like a semi-trailer truck laying across your chest.  You’ll use every ounce of strength you have, vainly trying to bench-press your deceptively heavy opponent off of you.  And then you’ll get arm barred again.  Finally, after your 5 minute round (that you’re almost certain was an hour) ends, you’ll crawl off the mat exhausted, drenched in sweat, and ready to throw up.  Between dry-heaves, you’ll glance back out at the mat and notice that your sparring partner isn’t even breathing heavily.

It might be a little bit frustrating (especially if you thought your big muscly muscles could save you).  But don’t worry – this type of experience is perfectly normal.  In fact, it’s exactly how you know that Brazilian actually works.  Rather than feel embarrassed, embrace it as a learning experience.  The exact same thing happened to your sparring partner on his/her first day.  The only difference between you and your sparring partner is the number of lessons they’ve taken.

Stick with it, and after a few years of training, some big, scary, muscly meat-head will walk through the door of your club, and you’ll happily introduce them to the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Without even breaking a sweat.


About Dave

Grad student in Ecology, Blue belt in jiu jitsu.
This entry was posted in BJJ Etiquette, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your First Sparring Session

  1. Pingback: Burns and Bruises | Logan Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blog

  2. Beginner grappler says:

    hahaha it looks like it was specially written for me. Had my first sparring yesterday and damn, it was exactly what happened to me. The kid half my size managed to get me with a triangle, an arm lock, was even caught in a knee lock! Well, it was quite a great experience though, I really got to realize that trying to muscle my way through in BJJ will definitely not take me anywhere. That’s the real beauty of this art. Tomorrow I will be there to get my ass kicked once again, and again, and again….until I get to learn it 🙂

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