Lilian Dikmans Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Elev8 MMA / Lilian Dikmans

I believe that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a good thing. That’s why I decided to try Brazilian jiu-jitsu for the first time this week. In the realm of fighting sports, I had never done any sort of floor work. I had only trained Muay Thai and boxing. Moving onto the mats was a totally different experience, challenging me in new ways.

I went along to one of the BJJ classes at Elev8 MMA in Melbourne. I previously wrote about their Muay Thai classes, but this week I wanted to try something different. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was starting at the bottom of a class again, as a beginner with zero knowledge of the technical terms and movements.

The class was a gi one, so I was able to borrow a gi to wear. This was important as I soon found out that gripping and pulling on your opponent’s gi is one of the ways to control them.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu warm up and techniques

The class started with some warm up movements, including somersaulting forwards and backwards from one side of the matted area to the other. I was so dizzy after each somersaulting sequence, but tried to hide it by walking very slowly back to the start of the mats before going again. After the class, I found out that it’s normal to feel dizzy from the warm up, so I didn’t feel too disheartened.

Then we moved on to drilling some techniques. The movements are incredibly technical. You don’t get very far if you try to use brute force. I could see some similarities to Muay Thai clinching. It’s very much about timing and placing your body in the correct position in relation to your opponent to control their body.

We finished the class with some “rolling”, which is the name for sparring in BJJ. As a beginner, I started out on my knees with my partner, moving them to the floor with an easier takedown. As you advance, you start from a standing position. All I could really do was try and execute the techniques I had just learned. However, I also felt my way through it, experimenting a little. Some things worked and others didn’t, but it’s a good way to learn.

I left the class feeling excited to learn more, with a desire to master the techniques we drilled. I won’t be giving up Muay Thai for BJJ, but I will certainly be incorporating some BJJ into my training regime from now on. It’s a great form of self defense, especially for women, and is actually a lot of fun.


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