Teaching an Introduction class

Any ideas on the best ways to run an introduction class. Thinking of what are the best things to cover but also ways of getting people interested so they keep coming back. I'm tryin g to move away from just throwing people into all level classes, any help is appreciated.

 We do private intro lessons (~30+ minutes) where we do a brief warm up with them to start. Then we teach them basic movements specific to BJJ like the hip escape, bridge, triangle hip raises, sitting breakfalls, etc.. We cover a basic series of techniques including standing breakfall, technical lift, safe clinch, hip throw, knee on belly, to straight armlock. 

These things are important when giving an intro if you want to get them to sign up:

1.)The movements must be simple. If you give them something that is too complex they will feel like they are unable to do it and that BJJ is just too difficult for them.

2.) The techniques must be practical. They need to see how these moves translate to a real life situation. It's a must to find out why they want to train to begin with. If it's for self-defense purposes then show them a few techniques tahtare applicable in a real life situation and not competition related.

3.) The techniques must strike some awe or amazement in them. This gets them excited and gets them wanting more. I will usually show an Americana (simple). Then I will show them a counter when their opponent defends the move and they attack with an opposite side armbar (exciting because it shows theflow of BJJ and how it has answers even when your opponent does X).

4.) Don't make the lesson too long. If it's too long they might feel that they don't have the time to do it. Plus, you want them to leave hungry for more, not overwhelmed.

5.) praise...correct...praise. If all you do is correct them they will feel discouraged and won't want to come back. Instead, praise them for something they're doing correctly, then correct, and proceed to give them praise. This will encourage them and give them the feeling that they're capable of doing this.

6.) Always relate back to their goals. We always have new students fill out a questionaire before they start their intro. The questions I lay out for them tell me why they're here. That way I can weave their goals into the lesson. For example, if they want to be a fighter. I will say things like, "Okay Tom, when doing this technique I want your hand positioned here so that if you're ever in this situation in one of your MMA fights you want get caught in an armbar." You see, I'm just trying to weave their goals into the conversation and lesson to let them know I'm all about helping them meet their specific goals. This will reinforce to them that they're in the right place and I have their interests as my top priority.

Well, I hope this helps my friend. Please let me know if you have any further questions.


basic mount escape. show him how easy you can get him off of you and how hard it is for him to get you off of him

i think that is what rorion does

jiu jitsu is the guard.
jiu jitsu is best for defense.

teach them the transitions into and out of guard and teach them escapes.

give them enough tools/techniques to go live w/ another new person and not be absolutely clueless.

1. Guard break, combat base, shin slide pass to either side.

2. mount escape and side mount escape.

So which one of you guys is "right"...?

I think you are all right for some people and wrong for others.

I've come to the conclusion, for me at least, that there isn't anything you can teach people on their first day which, ACROSS THE BOARD, will make them more likely to "like" Jiu Jitsu...

I used to spend a lot of time catering to what I THOUGHT a new person would be interested in. I tried to put BJJ in "context" for them; WHY you would be on the ground, HOW this relates to self-defense, WHY we use the guard, etc. because that is my nature.

But in reality, I don't think it makes much difference.

You can give the perfect "intro to BJJ presentation" and they won't care and you can show a newbie a 1/2 Guard Sweep as the first thing he ever learns and he will be hooked on BJJ for life.

Nobody REALLY knows what motivates an individual person to get on the mat.

I simply doubt an instructor's ability (well, certainly my own ability) to "figure out" what motivates people. I used to think: Well, she's a woman, so she wants to know about self-defense. But then I got a rash of girls who used to wrestle in H.S., wanted to fight MMA or were Judo players --They really had minimal interest in "self-defense". Or, I've assumed the guy in the Affliction shirt wanted to learn MMA-type stuff, but really he just wanted very basic self-defense to build up his confidence if someone grabbed him.

My point is, you never know and if you try to figure it out you will be wrong as much or more than you are right. I do know a lot of people HATE having to be in a separate "beginner class" and are put off by what they see as having to jump through hoops before they are let into the "real" class.

Others like it.

Who knows? Our idea of what is an "ideal" way to learn and that which is initially appealing to a new student, aren't usually the same thing.

I just try to get the student into what we are doing in class at the moment. I may put it in minimal context and that's it. New people usually want to get right into it, to try and fit in and see if they like BJJ. Some will like it, some won't. One learns best about BJJ by doing it and not by having it presented to them.

Good points, Shen. For the most part I agree.

For my intro class I tend to just get the people ready for the group class. I show the warm ups that we do since a lot of people need help with them and don't like to slow down class if they don't know what they're doing.

I then usually show how to hold position (side control/mount) ala Gracie Combatives. How to transition to the back, and then finish with the rear naked choke.

These skills are very easy to understand, and it gives the student a feel for base and balance. Whether or not they get "hooked" will be apparent during the group class. But this class has worked for me.

Thanks for the ideas and suggestions guys. i will definitely be using some of those. I can see where Shen is coming from and I'm sort of in two minds about the whole thing, maybe it doesn't matter what they do for the introduction classes they'll either like the idea of BJJ or they won't BUT just wanna make sure I'm covering all the options.