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The Best Attitude to Have When Starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

When we started our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) program at Master Pattillo Martial Arts, there was a buzz of excitement in the air. My adult students were excited to add Jiu-Jitsu to their martial arts training. The moms and dads of my kids program were excited to give the class a try, too.

On top of that, I was excited to have Adam Bowen, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt in the Pedro Sauer Association, teaching classes at my studio. Adam is a super nice guy who is very knowledgeable about Jiu-Jitsu.

Of course, I was really excited to have super-convenient access to top notch Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes!

A few weeks before classes started, I received a call from someone interested in our classes who seemed pretty excited about signing up but wanted to know something very important…

In fact, he had several questions about classes. It helped me understand that others might want to know the answers to his questions, too. So I’ll be covering these questions and answers in a two part series. Check out Part 1 – What to Expect at Your First Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class

Part 2 – The Best Attitude to Have When Starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

To reach your fullest potential and be successful in your Jiu-Jitsu training, the right attitude (mindset or frame of mind) is the most important thing you can have. And there are 3 things to remember in order to have the right attitude.

#1 – Show Up

There’s a huge difference between the person who thinks about doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the person who is on the mat learning it. The person on the mat showed up.

Sometimes that is the hardest part.

It took me 15 years to show up to my first Jiu-Jitsu class. Time, family, and finances all finally aligned and I decided to start training. Even then, because I’m naturally an introvert, I was a little uncertain about walking into Athens Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for the first time. Fortunately, my son pushed me to do it.

Turns out, I had nothing to be nervous about. I found a great program and a great instructor who have since helped us to launch Jiu-Jitsu Winder at Master Pattillo Martial Arts

#2 – Embrace the Suck

It’s easy to imagine how you’re going to walk in on your first day, learn a few moves, and be ready to step into the octagon or take on the most dangerous of assailants.

But that’s just not how it (or anything) really works.

Instead, learn to embrace the suck.

You’re going to spend some time feeling like you’re not sure what to do when you’re rolling (sparring). You’re going to get tired quickly and it’s going to be challenging.

This is the perfect time to start asking questions. “What did you do?” and “How do I defend against that?” are two of my favorite questions to ask.

#3 – It’s a marathon, not a sprint

When it comes to your training, think long term.

Like anything worth doing or having, developing skills in Jiu-Jitsu takes time, patience, and practice. At first, you’re going to feel like you don’t know much; you’ll get tired out quickly; you’re going to feel challenged.

But over time, you’ll get the hang of it.

Over time, you’ll start to relax and figure out how to move and reposition.

Over time, you’ll start seeing openings and opportunities.

Over time, you’ll start to wear out the new guys and maintain control of the roll (like practice fighting done as safely as possible).

Over time.

#4 – (Bonus Tip) Keep Showing Up

What’s the difference between Bar-b-que that cooks over night and BBQ you pop in the microwave?

Time and quality.

More time = better quality, right?

Even when you plateau, feel in a slump, and especially when you feel like doing something else…keep showing up.

Let your Jiu-Jitsu cook. Let it simmer. Wait. Give your Jiu-Jitsu (and you) time. The end result is going to be amazing.


The Best Attitude to Have When Starting Brazilian Jiu-JitsuMatt Pattillo is the owner of Master Pattillo Martial Arts in Winder, GA and Jiu-Jitsu Winder. A 6th Degree Black Belt in Karate, and head instructor since 2001, Master Pattillo has taught thousands of kids and adults in Barrow County, GA