If you are reading this, you probably have an interest in trying your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. Congratulations! The hardest part of the journey is trying something new, and stepping outside of your comfort zone. For anyone new, martial arts can be an intimidating and daunting endeavour. Especially in grappling disciplines like BJJ, where we practice in full contact with our training partners. What can you expect during your first visit to On Guard BJJ?

When you walk into the gym, you will be required to sign a waiver release form, and wear footwear everywhere outside of the grappling area. Flip flops or shoes are required off the mats at all times. You will be expected to practice good hygiene as if you are about to go on a first date: short nails, freshly showered, fresh breath, clean training gear/gi, etc. Hygiene is a huge priority because we are in contact with each other at such close quarters. If you do not practice good hygiene, you will be asked to shower, clip your nails, etc. before training. Mouth guards and water bottles are recommended, and no cups are permitted during training. Clean shorts and a t-shirt are required for class. If you do not have a gi, we will do our best to lend you one. Training gear and kimonos must be washed after every class-NO EXCEPTIONS.

In the academy, we treat each other with the golden rule of life: Treat others how you would like to be treated. We expect that you show respect to the academy and your training partners at all times. We have a zero tolerance policy for bullying, harassment, and any aggressive behaviour that is not in the good spirit of training. We have a cliché in BJJ: Leave your ego at the door. This means that when you step onto the mats, your objective is not to win, but rather to learn. Your teammates are not your enemies or opponents. They are your training partners, and without them, there is no improvement for you. When you come to On Guard, you are not just there to improve your own skills. You are there to help everyone build their skills, and to raise the overall level in the practice room. Only in this way can we all reach our maximum potential. You will be expected to keep yourself and your training partners safe at all times, and respect everyone’s physical limitations. The best way to learn BJJ is simple: Do not rely on attributes such as athleticism, size, strength, and speed. Instead, focus on technique and furthering your understanding of BJJ. Safety is our #1 priority!

BJJ training is not like traditional martial arts. Daily training consists of, but is not limited to, drilling movements, theoretical and practical application of techniques and concepts, and live sparring against other students. We will never ask you to do something you are uncomfortable with, but we do ask that you try your best, apply yourself, and have fun.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts of training:


  • Always practice good hygiene in the academy
  • Treat everyone with respect and keep your training partners safe
  • Try hard and apply yourself
  • Have a “Beginner’s mind”
  • Focus on learning, not winning
  • Ask questions
  • Be coachable
  • Tap early and often
  • Apply submissions in a controlled manner, allowing your partners the necessary time to tap-out
  • Make friends
  • Have fun!


  • Come to the academy in poor hygiene
  • Bare feet off the mats
  • Compare yourself to others
  • Focus on promotions
  • Training in an uncontrolled or unsafe fashion (being a “Spaz”)
  • Disregard your training partners’ anatomical limitations (doing anything that may cause unnecessary injury)
  • Snap submissions on before your training partner can safely tap-out
  • Win at all costs
  • Feel unimportant because you are new
  • Slam or spike your training partner’s head
  • Uncontrolled falling body weight
  • Conduct yourself in a disrespectful manner
  • Complain or make excuses

We want your BJJ journey at On Guard to be fun, challenging, uplifting, rewarding, and beneficial for your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Daily struggle is an integral part of the endless journey that is Jiu Jitsu. As grapplers, we embrace this struggle, and chase it because it makes us stronger. We invite you to be a part of our journey, and hope that BJJ enriches your life like it has for so many others. As instructors, it is our responsibility to help you in any way we can to reach your full potential. We hope to see you soon on the mats!

-Professors Matt and Mike

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