5 Tips For Your First Grappling Class

Tye Ruotolo and Kade Ruotolo with Andre Galvao

Entering a grappling class for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but with some helpful advice, it will truly be a rewarding experience.

After all, you can’t expect magic overnight.

No one steps on the mats as skilled as ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo or Tommy Langaker, who will vie for the division’s crown this Friday, 9 June, at ONE Fight Night 11: Eersel vs. Menshikov on Prime Video. 

To reach the elite level that these two athletes will display at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, first you must learn the fundamentals. That said, here are five tips for your first grappling class.

Embrace Your Nerves

If you’re nervous when traveling to the gym or when walking through the door for the first time, it shows you care. 

Because you’re walking into a gym filled with what you will perceive as experienced practitioners, it can send your mind — and heart — racing.

But underneath the tough exterior of most athletes, the first thing you’ll notice is just how friendly the members are. You’ll also be surprised at how quickly you’ll settle in. 

Enjoy Figuring Out Basic Techniques

Grappling matches are often referred to as games of chess, so it’s okay if you’re lost in the fold at first. 

Techniques take time to master, but the more you drill, the easier it becomes to execute the moves in practice. 

Patience is a key factor in the beginning stages, and the more attentive you become at breaking techniques down, the quicker you’ll improve. 

Trust The Process

Whether you feel good on day one or not, continuing to show up to grappling class will work wonders for your development.

It’s very easy to call it a day when things aren’t going your way on the mats, especially early on. 

However, learning from your mistakes and always asking questions is a much better choice than giving in.

Tap Early, Tap Often

Early on in grappling, it’s easy to listen to your ego and try to fight out of submission holds, but this will do you no good in the long run. 

Tapping early saves you from getting injured and needing lengthy absences from the mats. After all, you don’t want to start from scratch just because you picked up an avoidable injury.

Tapping often allows you the opportunity to study how you got caught in that position and ask your sparring partner how it happened. 

Remember Position Before Submission

During your first few rolls, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, especially when you think you’re on your way to securing a submission. 

Instead of focusing on achieving the submission, it’s much better to focus on securing the position.

This way, you won’t need to rush the submission, and you can ensure your efforts pay off when hunting for the tap. 

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