What To Know Before You Start
When executed at full speed, jujutsu is designed to inflict pain and injury, often severe and potentially lethal. We always promote safety when performing training techniques on another member. So, to prevent injury, safety is of the utmost importance in every class. Though injuries are rare in the class, most members of the class eventually experience some minor strains bruises and sore joints. By using proper technique and control injuries are significantly reduced. All techniques should be executed in a slow and controlled manner—no exceptions! The class will not tolerate any students who recklessly endanger the safety of other members. Always concentrate on proper form rather than speed.
This is particularly true for beginners, where full appreciation for the danger of jujitsu techniques is often masked by inexperience. Using excessive force is such a common mistake that it bears repeating: new students must go slow! Don’t worry if the technique doesn’t seem exciting at such a slow speed; practicality will only come by learning slowly at first and gradually increasing your speed. Always keep in mind that few techniques in jujutsu require strength; if you find yourself “muscling” technique, you are probably doing it wrong and therefore only increase the likelihood of injury. The essence of jujutsu is to redirect the attacker’s force and use it to your advantage, not to resist and struggle against an attack by fighting back with your strength. The former approach might save your life while the latter could very well end it.
In the context of safety, we can divide the techniques of the class into four general areas: throws, joint locks, strikes, and chokes (or strangles). Each of these areas has their unique safety concerns which will be addressed separately by Master Kim and his assistants.
- For legal reasons, all members of the class are required to fill out and sign a waiver before participating in any class.
- If you have any injuries, please tell your training partners so they can refrain from techniques which might exacerbate the injury.
Though the class has no formal attendance policy, bear in mind the following:
- Attending class less than twice a week makes progress difficult and slow.
- Those training you are investing a significant amount of their own time and effort into you.
- Since training with a partner is essential to our martial art, any lack of progress by one individual usually holds back not only the progress of those at the same rank, but sometimes the entire class.
Consequently, regular attendance is expected so that students can advance through their training at a steady pace and keep up with those at the same rank.
During your first day or two with the class, you should come in a t-shirt and shorts, sweats, or anything else that is not too restrictive or hot and that you would not mind having grabbed or stretched. Do not wear any clothing with buckles, hard buttons, or anything that might scratch you or your training partners. Please note:
- We train barefoot. Please remove your shoes and socks before walking onto the mat.
- Remove all jewelry (watches, earrings, necklaces, rings, piercings, etc.) before class.
- Keep your fingernails and toenails well-trimmed to prevent them from catching on clothing or skin.
- Hair longer than shoulder-length should be tied up and out of the way.
If you plan on continuing with the class and testing for your first rank, you will need to get a gi (training uniform) specifically designed for jujutsu or judo. A gi costs around $40 to $60 dollars; this includes a heavy cotton jacket, pants, and a white belt. To find a place locally to buy a gi, speak to Master Kim, who give you information on a place in downtown DC. If you already have a gi from a previous martial art, you can wear it in class provided it meets all of the following criteria:
- It is black.
- It does not contain any logos, patches, or insignias
- It is specifically designed for jujitsu or judo. Note that karate gi’s are much thinner and will get torn.
- It is accompanied by a white belt
Since we train in close contact, it is critical to practice good personal hygiene. If you neglect your health, you risk putting yourself and others in uncomfortable situations. Further, you negatively affect the training of your partners, as their focus will inevitably be drawn away from their training and towards your lack of hygiene.
Towards this end, you will be sweating in class and often rolling around and falling on the mats, so never wear the same set of clothes to class without first washing them. Similarly, once you obtain a gi, wash it and any t-shirt underneath after every class. Some people think they can get away with this hoping nobody will notice, but others can most certainly tell! If you decide to stick with JTR Jujutsu purchase our traditional uniform called a "Gi.". This way you can wear a clean one to every class without having to do laundry after every class.
The class has a casual and relaxed atmosphere, yet we do adhere to some basic Japanese martial art traditions beyond the wearing of a gi. At the beginning of class, we always line up according to rank and seniority. Please pay attention to this and find your appropriate spot in line. When changing partners during class, acknowledge both the partner you are leaving and your new partner with a bow. When entering or leaving the dojo (practice hall)-- should bow not only to the instructor but to show respect to the dojo.