Most of us remember this event pretty vividly. It’s hard to forget the sweat, the groans, the pain, and the embarrassment. For some it was no big deal, for others it was life changing. Some swore off it immediately, while others still can’t get enough. No matter how you feel about it now, it’s safe to say nobody forgets their first time
You know, the first time you tried jiu-jitsu. What were you thinking of?
I remember my first class like it was yesterday. The instructor introduced me to everyone on the mats, which was thoughtful and made me feel welcome. Then we worked from standing, trying to arm drag (whatever that meant) to take our opponent’s back. I was worried about my performance, but the blue belt I was working with was quite gentle. He went out of his way to explain a few techniques to me and to ease my nerves. I felt myself start to relax and enjoy the new experience.
Later in the class we switched partners, and we drilled the standard classic “Gracie” guard pass. I was now with a brown belt. He obviously had a lot of grappling experience. He was assertive and clearly told me what would work best in this new situation. I became more comfortable and confident and began moving faster and faster.
After a quick break, our coach set up a new drill. The partner on the bottom was to provide resistance while the partner on top tried to pass his guard. So I knelt between my partner’s legs and got ready for action.
Things went downhill fast. I grabbed and scrambled and clawed and grunted. I even tried standing up. Soon I was breathing heavy–gasping for air–while my partner barely moved. I was obviously getting it all wrong; I could tell because he looked somewhat bored and let me do all the work.
Then he left me to spar with someone else.
I learned that I had a lot to learn. I found that if I wanted people to roll with me, I would have to make sure both our needs were met. I would need to master some new moves to ensure a mutually gratifying experience.
Needless to say, I fell right to sleep after class that night and dreamed of things to come.
Thanks for reading. I hope that you enjoyed this article as much as I did. If you want to share your story, remember to leave a little to the imagination. This isn’t one of those websites, after all.