Starting out in Brazilian jiu jitsu can be overwhelming. Not only are you getting to know a whole new community, you are learning what feels like a whole new language for your body! There are more resources than ever for new students but it can be hard to know which ones are your best option. Below is a list of resources that will help you on you way and I invite you to check them out!
I would be lying if I said I spend a lot of time on Reddit BJJ; I only ever go there if someone else sends me a link. There is a lot of valuable information available there regardless. The board is frequented by a wide variety of people, from white to black belt and you can use the search function to find answers to pretty much anything.
For female practitioners, I also recommend the Women’s Grappling Network on Facebook. You can connect with women all over the world and share your experiences on a closed platform where members are reviewed and confirmed as women before they are able to post and read posts.
Stephan Kesting is like the Mr. Rogers of the Brazilian jiu jitsu community. He welcomes his new neighbors with a free newsletter and beginner’s guide. In addition to being a skilled grappler with his own series of BJJ instructionals, Kesting has a talent for finding practitioners whose games and teaching methods are universally applicable to make instructional products.
The instructionals I’ve watched and recommend to beginners and everyone else are the three volumes of How to Defeat a Bigger, Stronger Opponent with Emily Kwok and Brandon Mullins and the BJJ Formula with Rob Biernaki. Once you get the basics down, you can expand into other, more specialized sets such as those covering spider guard and leg locks.
Stephan is constantly producing new content so be sure to check out his YouTube channel and subscribe for regular updates!
Trivia: Stephan Kesting was the first person I interviewed in the BJJ community that I didn’t actually know. In addition to his time, he gave me a lot of great tips on how to interview and how to format articles!
This is Island Top Team Instructor Rob Biernaki’s online academy. If you are interested in the BJJ Formula he produced with Kesting, or if you haven’t seen the BJJ Formula and you want to supplement your in-class learning with a conceptual approach to Brazilian jiu jitsu, this is the site for you.
When we begin training BJJ, we are move collectors. We look for one move to beat this move or escape that move. BJJ Concepts does not approach it like that. Instead, Biernaki will teach you how base, posture and structure is used to make all of those moves work so even if you forget the details of that cool new technique, you will know the fundamental concepts of jiu jitsu and be able to fill in the blanks yourself.
Sometimes people ask me what books they should buy when they begin training. I recommend that you forget the books and use BJJ Concepts as your at-home resource.
BJJ Concepts is a subscription website so if you would rather have a resource to keep forever, get the BJJ Formula from Grapple Arts. Check out Rob’s YouTube channel for additional instruction.
Should you train strength and conditioning as well as BJJ? I think so but you have to be sure you are recovering properly. Sometimes when people begin training in a new sport, they go overboard. They want to be on the mats or pumping iron every single day so they can crush their opponents and impress their friends. The problem with that is, if your body isn’t used to that level of physical activity, injury is almost inevitable.
Joel Jamieson is the strength and conditioning coach for Demetrious Johnson, the UFC Champion who is known for his exceptional conditioning and physical preparation. Jamieson has just released a new product called Morpheus that tracks recovery and conditioning in athletes. There is also a lot of information on his website that will educate you about conditioning and recovery.
If you are looking for a specific program to prepare for competition or to rehab from injury, I recommend Andrew Read and William Wayland. Simply click on their names to be directed to their websites.
Both are very dedicated, skilled and passionate strength and conditioning coaches who also train Brazilian jiu jitsu. They understand our sport and can help you to integrate strength and conditioning into your training schedule.
Some people think that all you need for strength and conditioning is rolling but everyone knows you absolutely need to work on mobility outside of class. If you want to prevent or rehabilitate injury, I recommend learning with Jill Miller. Her Yoga Tune Up DVD sets and The Roll Model book (only $9.99 on Kindle) are among the most valuable resources I have ever invested in. The strategies Jill uses to heal and maintain the body are centered around her brand of self-myofascial release tools, the Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls.
These are not yoga DVDs, they are full-body mobility instructionals. I have a review in progress and I highly recommend everything on this website. You will learn things about your body that you had never considered before!
Check out Jill’s video below for a sample of what her Treat While You Train DVDs are like.
I love Tune Up Fitness but I am actually Team RAD Roller. RAD has a whole line of mobility tools that I use on a daily basis using techniques that I learned both from Jill Miller and from the RAD education resources.
Another mobility tool I am just learning about but am liking so far is the TimTam Recovery Vibrating Foam Roller. I use it on my larger muscles to flush out tension after activities like running and weightlifting but I’m still trying to figure out how the technology works to help the body. Maybe it doesn’t matter how, as long as it works! My review will be up in the coming months.
I am the worst at dieting. I am not lean, I have to lose about 8lbs. To be fair, I still only weight about 113lbs. When I do lose weight it’s because I’m using FitnessVT, which is a monthly subscription website that tells you what to eat and when to eat it based on your height, weight, body fat and sleep and training schedule. Out of everything I’ve tried, this is the best but it’s a lot of work and you have to be committed to meal planning and measuring your food.
What I like about it is that even though I’m not following it any more, it helped me to develop much better habits than I had before and they have remained in tact. I can still apply FitnessVT’s basic formula to my meal planning. It breaks down your meals into carbs, fats and proteins according to your needs at each point in the day.
What I dislike is that it seems like the only recipes they provide is for cheat meals. I’d like to just follow a recipe and break it up into meals for the week.
I’m not using FitnessVT at the moment because it’s a lot of work and I have fallen behind. You should, though. I felt way better about life in general when I was on FitnessVT. Nutrition really is key.
I found a really good review that describes FitnessVT in detail. I was going to review it myself but I never got abs so I didn’t want to post before and after photos. So sad.
Full Potential Sports Performance Coaching
Sometimes you will find yourself not quite reaching your goals and it will be hard to figure out what’s holding you back. This is where a sports performance coach can step in to help you break past a plateau and hit the next level.
I’ve been training with Danny Patterson for about seven years now and he is always training, always positive and always supporting his team. There have been times where in conversation with him I mention something that has been bothering me and no matter what it is, I walk away with a new perspective on the problem and a game plan for moving forward.
Danny will guide you towards the root of roadblocks in your life and build you back up towards success. Mental coaching is one of the most overlooked, yet incredibly important aspect of athletic success. He might even be able to tell you why you don’t have a girlfriend.
Danny doesn’t have an online presence but you can contact him at 902-220-3896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GiReviews.net has a ton of gi reviews by people of all shapes and sizes. You can also sign up to download a free Gi Buyer’s Guide!
Buying gis is tricky and that’s why I started doing reviews in the first place. I am so small that when I first started, it was nearly impossible to find a gi that fit me!
BJJHQ offers a daily deal on BJJ gear so you will often find gi and no gi gear for a great price. Honestly, if you’re just starting to train, I’d get my no gi gear at Winners because it’s going to get stinky and disgusting anyway. When I first started training, it was a basement with no air conditioning so I used to buy used Under Armour compression gear on ebay.
I recommend that you wait til you’ve committed to treat yourself to the BJJ brand name stuff unless you get it during a holiday sale or something. If you live in Canada, you’re going to have to pay shipping, duties and the exchange rate so it costs a fortune. If you like a particular brand’s designs, like them on Facebook and track their sales.
Remember, gear costs a lot so make sure you wash it after class (INCLUDING YOUR BELT YOU FILTHY ANIMAL) otherwise it will stink forever and you will have just wasted your money. Go for cold wash / hang dry. You can get a drying rack at Canadian Tire. I like to use Tide Sport or OxyClean with Fleecy liquid fabric softener. No one has complimented me on how fresh I smell but I am confident that one day it will happen.
In this article I’ve provided resources to help you find gear, online instructional platforms, strength, conditioning, mobility and diet advice, provided a mental coach for you to get your life sorted and introduced you to a world-wide jiu jitsu community.
There are so many components to training BJJ successfully that the learning is never-ending. I hope you find value in these resources and I will leave you with this song to add to your rolling playlist.
What are your favorite BJJ resources? Let us know in the comments below!