Questions for First-Timers with Coach Robert Yamashita

Hey Elite Fam,


Coach Rob here!! There are some frequently asked and some times unasked questions when people start their martial arts journey. These are not all-encompassing but I will go over some basic spoken and unspoken rules for training!!


#1- What do I wear for class??

This is a constant question. Depending on your program, you may or may not have a uniform that is supposed to be worn for class. For the kickboxing class, anything that is comfortable that you can sweat in is great. Guys: workout shorts and t-shirt or moisture wicking shirt works best! Ladies: yoga/workout pants and a movable, breathable top is what I’m told works best from our ladies main coach Britt. Glove size is going to depend on your comfort and preference. We suggest bigger gloves! Not only does it provide added weight training for joint and muscle development but also the more padding, the more protection for the bones in your hands! Smaller gloves lead to boxer’s fractures and those take a while to heal!!

Now the Jiu Jitsu program is a little different. We wear a uniform called a Gi. It has pants that have a drawstring (remember the loops go in the front!) and a jacket that criss-crosses. Also for germ and sweat control, we always suggest wearing something under like a t-shirt or rash guard under the gi jacket. Ringworm and staph are not welcome on the mats!! Taking care of your body is taking care of your training partners! There are also opportunities to practice No-gi or without the uniform. Tight fitting rash guards and training shorts or pants without pockets work best! 

 #2 Where do I line up at??

From the coaches perspective, the advanced or high ranking colored belts stand on the line to our left side and the line goes from darkest color to lightest color which is typically white belt. That’s where you want to stand. Everyone that has stepped on the mat has probably wondered this same question so most likely if you’re out of place, a colored belt will show you where to go. Just look at the belts and if you see a bunch of white belts, jump in line with them! 


#3 I’m a lover, not a fighter! Is everyone going to try and beat me up?/ I want to fight!! Can I go ahead and jump in with the professionals?? 

My last Q/A is a two sided question! If you fall into the first category (which is definitely me) no one is going to beat you up. They are going to show you and put you in positions that are uncomfortable from a self defense standpoint and help you learn how to escape until you feel comfortable with those uncomfortable situations!! After you start to gain some confidence, you will start pushing yourself and your partners with both offensive and defensive tactics! Think of it like a game of chess! Every time you have to tap is a checkmate but you get to go back and problem solve how you got there and what can you do to stop it from happening again. I would rather my training partners submit me than have to defend myself in public and be injured due to not knowing what to do. Also for me, I look at every training partner as a Rubik’s cube. I have to try and solve it. That’s the fun and frustrating part! Lol! Also for my lovers not fighters, I like to remember and say this quote! It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than to be a gardener in a war! The confidence knowing you could defend yourself if you have to is something that can be obtained with hard and continuous training!

The second answer to the second question! Backyard training and street fights will make someone tough for sure! But fighting against someone who is trained is a whole different ballgame! You have to remember one part of the foundation of martial arts is respect! You have to be respectful when you train. Trust the coaches that they wouldn’t just throw you in the deep end of the pool knowing you will drown! It’s our job to make sure you can hang with anyone in the school one day but you have to trust the process! I have seen special cases where someone is disrespectful to a point where they will only be taught by giving them what they want, which is typically a very painful physical reminder! Just remember to treat everyone you train with with respect because it should come and go both ways! Listen to the coaches, we aren’t trying to hold you back, we just to help get you to the point where we know you can hang and have a good time! Learning is a process and that process is only done through consistently training and consistently showing up for yourself and your team! 


These are just a couple questions that come up and if you have more, bring them to a Coach or someone who can make a difference for your training at the school! And if you have a child in the kids program (4yrs old and up) and they have a question, help them find the answer! Everyone is here to help push, pull and empower!! Until next time, I hope to see y’all on the mats!!


-Coach Rob

Mixed Martial Arts Houston


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