When I first started thinking about doing Jiu-Jitsu I was curious about how long the classes were. How a BJJ class was structured and what was done during the class? In this article, I am going to cover how long a typical beginner’s Jiu-Jitsu class is and how much time is given to the different aspects of a class.
The typical length of a beginner’s BJJ class is 1 hour; however, they can run up to 1.5 hours at some academies. The warm-up portion of the class will generally take 10-15 minutes, the technique section is normally about 30-45 minutes, and rolling takes up the last 15+ minutes of class.
How Long Are Jiu-Jitsu Beginner Classes?
Beginner Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu classes are typically 1 hour long with a few schools having them 1 and a half hours long. There are many BJJ classes are structured similarly across different schools. The structure typically looks like a warm-up, technique lesson, practice/drill new technique, and rolling.
The warm-up portion of the Jiu-Jitsu class will generally take 10-15 minutes to complete. Three main styles can take place during the warm-up section of the class; however, some instructors will mix all three and others will focus more on a specific style.
- Basic jogging, rolling, sprawling drills that raise the heart rate get the blood pumping to the muscles.
- Static and/or dynamic stretches to prime and loosen up the muscles.
- Jiu-Jitsu specific drills to both get the heart rate up and muscles looser.
I’ve been in classes that have used each one of these styles either individually or mixed. My preferred style of a warm-up is the Jiu-Jitsu specific warm-up. I prefer this style because I get the chance to practice fundamental techniques that are used throughout many techniques in BJJ. Next, the BJJ specific warm-up gets the heart rate up without tiring me out. Additionally, it works well to loosen up the back, hips, arms, and neck.
The primary part of the class is the technique lesson and it’s normally about 30 minutes long. It generally will always have the instructor teach and demonstrate a technique. Then the students will practice the technique with each other. After about 5-10 minutes of practicing the instructor gather the students back and do one of the following.
- Expand upon the previous technique taught. If you’ve just learned the triangle from guard, expanding upon it may be learning how to enter it from the mount.
- Teach a defense for the technique taught. For instance, after teaching the students how to triangle, the next step would be to teach them how to defend it.
- Teach another technique using the setup of the previous technique taught. For example, if you’ve just learned and practiced the triangle, another submission that can be done from the triangle is the armbar.
The lesson component of the class will take up the most time because the instructor will have to take the time to inspect and view each student practicing the technique. I find that after 5 minutes of practicing a technique the instructor will gather the student back and demonstrate the common questions or mistakes they are seeing. Most of the time 2-3 techniques are taught and polished up before this section of class ends.
The end of a BJJ class is known to end with rolling and it commonly takes up the last 15 minutes of an hour-long class. Some places don’t do rolling until students are blue-belt and some may do drilling instead of rolling. There are many ways the rolling section can be run if your school does allow white-belts to roll.
- Timed rolling where you start with your practice partner and after a set amount of time (anywhere from 2-10 minutes) you get to choose your next partner.
- Timed rolling where you systemically rotate between each teammate after 3-5 minutes of rolling.
- Shark tank. This is where the instructor chooses several students to start on the mat and the rest of the students line up on the edge waiting to get their turn to roll with the person on the mat. The person that submits the other stays in the middle and faces the next opponent. There is no time limit!
I enjoy each of the rolling styles equally as each one allows working on something different.
Timed Roll With Free Choice In The Opponent
Timed rolls where I choose my partner gives me the ability to select partners with different strengths or body types. I can choose specific people that will give me hard times in certain positions. Or, I can choose someone that I know so I can force certain positions to practice specific techniques.
Timed Roll With Rotating Through Students
Timed rolls that rotate through different students force me to roll with people that I subconsciously avoid or never had the chance to roll with. There are times the class may so large you don’t get to meet everyone or feel comfortable going up to them to ask for a roll.
Finally, the Shark Tank tests my skills and techniques against everyone without a time limit. It tests mental fortitude and physical ability as well. Especially in cases that I may have had 2 tough rolls in a row when a new fresh opponent comes in to fist-bump me.
Why Are Beginner BJJ Classes Typically 1 Hour Long?
Beginner Jiu-Jitsu classes are typically 1 hour long because physical and mental fatigue can start to become a factor. Jiu-Jitsu can be both physically and mentally draining, at the same time. There are a lot of new techniques and details that are being taught during a class and it can be overwhelming taking in all of that information.
Jiu-Jitsu can be hard on the body, especially if you’re just starting. During the first month, maybe even longer, the warm-up might feel like it is tiring you out.
There are a lot of new moves and positions your body is getting into so it will be tiring. Muscle soreness will be much worst at the beginning stages of your Jiu-Jitsu journey. There is a lot of pushing, pulling, and squeezing you’ll be doing for the entire class.
Jiu-Jitsu has a lot of different components to it and when you’re a beginner everything is unfamiliar. The fundamentals need to be learned as they are incorporated into many techniques. Each technique is something new and there are so many details to each one that it can be overwhelming, even just hearing about them.
Learning the warm-up drill could be a class by itself to someone just starting BJJ. After struggling and trying to learn the warm-up moves, learning a technique that contains many different elements can be overwhelming.
There are a lot of techniques and details in Jiu-Jitsu. Learning just one technique, in one position, in one circumstance can include hundreds of details, variations, and possibilities. A more advanced student will be able to take in more information and make use of it, while a new student will struggle to learn just a few.
It can become mind-numbing to learn small details to a technique, especially when you know deep down you’re not going to be able to remember them. Learning 15 small details to a technique you can hardly do will cause your mind to drift.
Alternative Class Schedules
Not all Jiu-Jitsu following the same Warm-up, Technique, Roll schedule. Some academies incorporate different styles. There are BJJ classes that have a separate class for rolling, some incorporate beginners with the advance students, others have individual classes for technique, drills, and rolling.
The 20/20/20 Jiu-Jitsu class dives the class up into three equal sections of 20 minutes each. Warm-ups and basic drills take up the first 20 minutes of class. Technique instructions and demonstrations are the next 20 minutes. Finally, the last 20 minutes are either positional rolls or free rolling.
Self Defense Focused
Self-defense oriented Jiu-Jitu classes will follow a similar structure to the 20/20/20 class except it’ll spend some time focusing on self-defense. Generally, the class will look as follows:
- 10-minute warm-up
- 15 minutes of self-defense focused technique.
- 25 minutes of learning techniques.
- 10 minutes rolling practicing the technique.
The 45×3 is a new style of Jiu-Jitsu class where there are 3 different classes to focus on specific parts of a Jiu-Jitsu. Each one is a class that you can attend, but they flow one after the other so you can do them all if you want to.
- 45-minute class that only focuses on technique and technique-specific drills.
- 45-minute class that is purely rolling.
- 45-minute class only for new or advanced students with instruction and positional flow rolling.
Some class schedules will have a standard 1-hour class; however, there is no rolling in it. The rolling section of the class is another class altogether (don’t worry, many places will not charge extra or consider it another class to pay for).
Once the fundamental Jiu-Jitsu class is finished you then have the option to attend another class to get a full hour of rolling in, instead of 15-20 minutes. Additionally, students from other classes are welcome to join in!
In conclusion, the typical length of a beginner’s BJJ class is 1 hour with the class normally being divided up as warm-up ( 10-15 minutes), technique instructions (25-35 minutes), and rolling (15+ minutes).
There are exceptions with academies doing 1.5 hour long classes to have 30 minutes of rolling after the fundamentals. Other academics have adopted a new modern approach by separating each portion of a class into three separate 45-minute classes.