New to the Art

New to the Art?

New Students

There is nothing to be intimidated by being new to the art. Jiu-Jitsu is very welcoming and so is our academy. Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone, young and old, and anyone with any body style, conditioning, background and athletic ability can become great at it over time. Just be patient and you will learn and progress at your own pace.

Jiu-Jitsu is a non-striking art, but aside from the grappling and ground techniques typically associated with jiu-jitsu, it is a self-defense art and it includes other aspects of fighting. We cover stand-up techniques around self-defense and take-downs. We also cover defensive tactics around striking and how to defend yourself from traditional punches and kicks.

Coming from another art or discipline?

If you have trained in another art or fight discipline in the past or currently, that is great and welcomed. You probably have also acquired some fitness, strength and discipline along the way, which all applies to jiu-jitsu as well. Having a diverse skillset will usually provide you with an advantage in most scenarios.There are times where some techniques from other arts may not apply, and you may need to adapt your game.

Judo is probably the closest sister art to Jiu-Jitsu and much will carry over from the take-downs to submissions. Wrestling is a very close cousin to our art and we share many fundamentals, but pinning is not our objective. Self-defense aspects of striking arts still apply, and although we may not strike in our school, those skills are still a necessity for self-defense and combat sports in general. We ask that if you have trained or currently train in another art, to please have an open mind to learning new things. Adapt your skills and approach to our art as necessary. Strength is great, but technique reigns supreme. Also, our approach is, “SLOW IS SMOOTH, SMOOTH IS FAST.”

Class Structure

Most of our classes are structured with the following activities:

  • warm-ups
  • technique & instruction
  • rolling/sparring


You may see some warm-up techniques that are unfamiliar, just ask a fellow student or instructor on some guidance on any warm-ups if you need it. Warm-ups tend to go at a fast-pace. Some of the warm-up moves we may perform are: jogging, leg lifts, shrimping, forward and backward rolls, stand-up and base, arm drags, and several others. Feel free to look those up prior to coming in.

Technique & Instruction

Technique & Instruction will require you to partner with another student and then go over various techniques from the instructor. You may not comprehend every detail of a technique or move in the first few lessons and that is perfectly ok; Jiu-Jitsu simply takes a lot of time and practice.
View More About Class Details


New students should ALWAYS communicate with all parters prior to drilling and sparring about your novice ability. Practitioners new to the art typically feel that speed, force and power is required, but it is actually more about technique and control. It is recommended to go slow and allow others to help guide you during sparring until you obtain further experience.

Sparring/Rolling: You do not have to engage with sparring/rolling for your first few days if you do not feel comfortable participating. You can sit out and observe to see how other veteran students roll with each other. Once you are comfortable, then pair up with a partner and communicate your experience.

New students also have a tendency to avoid tapping out due to lack of experience or pride. It is perfectly acceptable to tap out and it is encouraged to tap out early to avoid injury. Until you learn proper defenses and escapes, you should not try to “out-muscle” a submission.

Tapping Out

When sparring/rolling, attacks and submissions will be attempted. If you are caught in a submission, there are two ways to communicate tapping out:

  • Tapping Out Physically – Use a distinct repetitive tapping action with your hand on your opponent’s body or on the mat, so they can feel and/or see your tapping.
  • Tapping Out Verbally – There may be times where you cannot physically tap out due to your position. In any scenario, you can verbally tap out – ensure it is loud enough for your opponent to hear.

When Your Opponent Taps Out

  • If someone taps out or submits to you, you should release your submission attack immediately and safely.

Note: Some attacks do require a more controlled release in order to prevent injury, like with an omaplata which should be released in a reversed direction from the attack in order not to injure the opponent’s arm or shoulder.
View More About Class Safety


What to Bring to Your First Class

We recommend that you bring the following:

  • Water Bottle
  • Workout attire: T-shirt, rash guard, athletic shorts or pants, etc.
  • If you don’t have a gi, we have community gi’s you can borrow for class.

We recommend that you try out Jiu Jitsu for a few days before investing in a gi and other equipment. We have community gi tops to borrow if a lesson is specifically covering a gi required technique.
View More About Equipment Here.

How to tie your belt tutorial by Rener Gracie

There are many ways you can tie your jiu-jitsu belt, and Rener Gracie goes over a few methods in this tutorial video below.



Other Resources

This online resource may be helpful for new practitioners:
note: is not affiliated with Mile High Gracie Jiu Jitsu, it is simply a free third-party resource that may be helpful.