Your first lesson in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is very important. It is also one that you will forget over and over for a long time.
I imagine that a lot of academies and instructors will show you how you how to skip your hips, break fall, and stand up in base as your introduction into the gentle art. Basic Guard passing, sweeping, some self defense, likely comes next as you start on your journey.
All extremely important and valuable techniques. They will last a life time.
But, this lesson takes precedence over anyone of them:
DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH.
It is impossible to understand this basic concept when you start. When you start training with resistance, a flood of emotions will impact you, dramatically: Confusion. Fear. Panic. Desperation. These feelings will trick you into believing that you must exert yourself with every imaginable ounce of energy. You will power through your technique to defend yourself (and also make you believe that this is the only way to win). In this explosive movement, you will hold your breath in order to maximize your performance. It is a natural, primal response.
But, holding your breath will drastically reduce your energy for the fight. You cannot escape the irony that holding your breath will not allow you to save it for later. It just doesn’t work that way. Trying to recover from exertion where you lack efficient, consistent breathing patterns, is difficult, especially if you are engaged with an opponent who is breathing properly. Remember: It does not matter how much technique you know or how well you can perform them. If you have no energy (Breath) to execute them, you will fail.
So today, consciously breath when you are training. I know you will forget and that is OK. We all do. But make the effort. Don’t worry if it is through your nose or mouth. That technique will come later. But, by focusing today and everyday on breathing, you will develop the true base of performance that you need to succeed in this art.