A Typical Session
After changing into your Gi, or loose clothing for beginners, we do a warm up. Like any sport, this is to prevent muscle related injuries.
As such we do a series of stretches (including working on the core muscles, which are essential to Jitsu) and some cardiovascular work. It has been known that the Sensei (instructor) sometimes includes a few other activities to keep the warm ups interesting and exciting!
Immediately after the warm-up we perform a greeting ceremony. This involves everyone lining up in grade order, facing the Sensei, with our backs to the door. You'll be taught the proper actions on your first visit, so don't let this put you off.
Once this is over we practice our break-falling. The break-fall is an essential part of Jitsu, as this allows you to fall safely without injury - handy for when people start throwing you around the mat. However, as a beginner you'll learn how to fall in all directions from a kneeling position, moving up to falling from standing and moving as you get better.
The rest of the session is generally up to the instructor. It is usual that the lower grades / novices are split from the main group so that higher grades can practise the more advanced moves on each other.
You will be shown and talked through how to do a technique before being allow to try it yourself. Instructors and senior students will help you while you're doing each technique to help you get it right.
As the session draws to a close, it is time to demonstrate what you have learn and been practising in front of the rest of the group. This may sound scary but remember that everyone has to do this, and everyone in that room at some point had to stand up there for the first time and perform.
As you get more experienced the Sensei might arrange for you to demonstrate what you have learnt by getting the other students to attack you in turn. We generally do this by using what we call a 'V' or a circle.
Just before the session closes, a cool down in generally undertaken, stretching out those now tired muscles, to prevent the lactic acid building up.
Line Up (take two)
Next we again line up and perform the ceremony from the beginning. Club announcements are made at this point, and finally before we wrap up for the session - with one word from the Sensei - everyone will leap up to their battle position (Yoi) with a loud shout (a ki-ai).
Then in true Moorgate style we go to the pub to share a drink and relax...