For many people out there, walking into a strange gym takes an incredible amount of effort. So many new faces, so many names to learn, so many people to potentially judge you; what you are wearing and how you train.
For some people, these thoughts can be crippling and induce paralyzing anxiety. The fight or flight reaction kicks in for no apparent reason and is extremely uncomfortable to deal with. It can feel like you are staring over the edge of a cliff, when you are simply walking in a door.
For those who do not suffer from social anxiety this has to seem absolutely absurd, but it is “real”.
There are no quick fixes, if there were I bet you would have already found them.
There are, however, some tips and hacks to make it easier.
You can start off with a few private lessons. That will get you in the door at a non-busy hour. You can look around and see everything inside of the academy. During the lessons you will learn the basics of BJJ and MMA so that you are not further embarrassed by not knowing anything at all about what is going on. After a few private lessons you will be surprised how much your anxiety subsides.
Start off in the beginner’s class, where you can be pretty sure that almost everyone is also fairly new.
You can ask what the busiest days are so that you can instead go to class on the slower days, at the slower times.
You can take a friend!
Tell your coach that you have social anxiety issues!! That way he will be sure to not call you out to roll in front of others (which is rare, but happens) and will not use you to be his uke (demo partner).
Do whatever you have to do to get through the door. Once you take your finish taking your first official class, everything gets easier. If you are taking medication to help you with your anxiety, ask your doctor if taking a small bit would be safe.
Hope you enjoyed this article. Share it with a friend who is afraid to try BJJ because of social anxiety!
Brand new white belt tells his story.
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