If you are reading this, you probably have an interest in trying your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. Congratulations!

Beginning your BJJ journey means stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something completely different. For most beginners, martial arts is intimidating. 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.

As a hygienic precaution, footwear is required when not on the grappling area at all times. You will be expected to practice good hygiene during training. This includes (but is not limited to): short nails, freshly showered and free of offensive odours, fresh breath, clean training gear/gi, and skin free of open wounds or lesions. If you do not practice good hygiene, you will be asked to shower, clip your nails, etc. before you train. Good hygienic practices greatly help us reduce the risk of contagious infections like staph and ringworm, and provide a more pleasant training experience for everyone. A change of clothes is strongly recommended on the ride home, and when you get home, be sure to immediately shower.

Mouth guards and water bottles are recommended. Groin protectors are not permitted during training.

If it is your first class, clean shorts and a t-shirt are required. 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 necessarily 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 training traditional martial arts. Classes usually consist of (but are 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
  • Excessively abuse your own physical attributes: size, strength, speed.
  • Uncontrolled falling body weight/ jumping on your training partner
  • Conduct yourself in a disrespectful manner
  • Complain or make excuses

We want your BJJ journey at On Guard to be enjoyable, 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!

-Professor Matt