What should be your first class at Stout PGH?

What should be your first class at Stout PGH?


You want to get into some jiu jitsu or striking training.  However your interest piqued you searched and found Stout PGH. We are pretty easy to find if you are searching for authentic fighting arts in the Pittsburgh area! We offer instruction and training in a few different arts and while our website is a great resource, I’d like to share some more specific recommendations on how to start in the right class  for you. But first congratulations! You either did your research or, got lucky and found the best place around at serving the most people, according to their individual goals. To do this we not only offer a few different arts but within those arts we offer a few different class formats. Your first decision will be what art to study. We refer to them a programs. The reason being is that a few disciplines that are sometimes studied separately are included in a group of classes that encompass a specific membership. Our striking classes for example include Thai style Boxing Canary Thai), Wiston boxing C. just punches) and “coach classes” (grappling with strikes aspect of Muaythai). So your first decision is really between One or more of three Programs at stout PGA: They are e Jiu jitsu, Striking, and/or one of our auxiliary programs. The axillary programs include MMA, Fitness training, Aerial arts, and Self-Defense. More on these and why they are labeled “Auxiliary” later. 

So, the basic choice is between training  a grappling art and a striking art.  One great thing about Stout PGH is you can do both of these and you can try both. It’s helpful though to choose one initially. My first advice on making this choice is to follow your first interest. Maybe you heard someone famous talking about doing striking or grappling. Maybe it was a podcaster like Lex Friedman talking about being a black belt in jujitsu. Maybe you saw pictures of Wiz Khalifa on our social media doing striking with one of our instructors. Or maybe  you heard a business tycoon talking about how jiu jitsu increases their productivity. Mark Zuckerberg comes to mind as the most recent example for me. Follow what initially interests you. 

Next consider what your goals are. It is safe to say that in most people’s constellation of reasons for getting started in a fighting art includes two things. They are learning to fight, and getting in better shape. Both grappling and striking will do these things for you.  It may be helpful to dig a little deeper. What type of fitness are you looking for? This question can help.  If you are primarily interested in short-term weight loss doing fundamentals Thai Boxing and Boxing classes along with bag classes may be the best place to start.  If mobility, general body awareness, and strength are more important then Jiu Jitsu may be a better place to start.  Maybe the most important thing in the decision of whether to start with striking or jiu jitsu is how comfortable you are with close contact with other people.  If you are extremely uncomfortable with close contact for any reason then striking will be a better place for you to start.

Lets first say you decided on jiu jitsu. Which classes should be the first? Assuming you are a beginner, options for a first class are: one-on-one lesson with an instructor, Intro class, Fundamentals, and “All Levels” classes. One-on-one classes can be helpful at all levels because you get individual attention.  New beginners that choose a one-on-one class do so because they are not sure they are comfortable in a group and they feel safer initially only working with a professional. Most people start with either an Intro class or Fundamentals class. Someone made the analogy of a fundamentals class being like a road-sign and the intro class format being a less detailed map of the overall territory.  Generally we recommend beginners, especially those who have never done any grappling, to do at least one of their three introductory classes as an “Intro” class.  Expect more discussion about overall jiu jitsu theory as well as practice of general movement skills. Anyone of any fitness level can do Intro classes.  Fundamentals class is based on a rotating curriculum with lessons based on specific themes. Although you can go at whatever pace you are comfortable with, there is more of an opportunity to get a more vigorous workout in these classes vs the Intro. I don’t recommend any first day beginners do any of the all levels classes unless your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend any other classes.  Some people start with a morning “All Levels” class since they can only make our early morning class times.  


Lets now assume you decide to go with our striking program (Thai Boxing, western Boxing, clinch). The options you have for a first class are: “Fundamentals”, “Bag Class “, or, a one-on-one lesson. What you go with is really based on your goals.  If your goal is primarily fitness and secondarily to learn to fight then make at least one of your 3 classes a “Bag” class, in addition to trying fundamentals. If you feel apprehensive about jumping into a new environment then maybe opting for a one-on-one may be a good way to start.  Some feel a private one-on-one lesson is less intimidating and less hectic. In a Fundamentals class the focus is technique and you will not hit each other in a combative way. You will work with other beginners with pads.

Our auxiliary programs  are called that because they have a more limited schedule or are not offered at all locations. These are:

  • MMA ( Mixed Martial Arts)
  • Self-Defense
  • Aerial Arts 
  • Fitness and weights training

MMA is offered as a public class and is distinct from our fighter training practices. It is offered at each location at least once per week. It is meant to be a supplement to our  Jitsu and Striking programs. While we generally don’t recommend starting in MMA class as your first class we do give people the option to do so. If you would like to do an MMA class as one of your 3 intros,  know that we only cover aspects of Mixed Martial arts that are not covered in Jujitsu or Striking. An example is using the wall or cage to stand up if you are taken down, Another is defending punches on the ground. MMA is included as part of all Jitsu and Striking memberships. Although there is no extra charge for MMA to members of Jiu Jitsu and Striking, it is offered as its own stand alone membership.  All professional Mixed Martial Arts fighters train in grappling and striking arts as well as doing mixed martial arts specific training.

Self defense is offered once per week at each location and is also included gratis with your membership of jiu jitsu or striking.   It can also be a first class for people who are primarily interested in personal protection. Many start with this class. It can be done as a stand alone membership with students only doing this class. We do recommend that students of our Self-Defense classes do other programs to get a more complete set of skills. Self-defense involves a mixed martial arts approach to close quarters assault situations, sometimes including weapons and multiple attackers.

Aerial Arts and Fitness/weights Training are currently only offered at one location respectively but can be done as stand alone program/membership or in addition to any other membership. Some students do both Striking and Jiu-Jitsu and we offer combined memberships at less than the price of both individually.  

If you would like you can use any Auxiliary class as one of your intro classes.  Note that Aerial silks and Self-Defense allow new prospective members to do one class free of charge as a trial class.  

I hope this writeup gave you some ideas about where to start. Please reach out to us if you are ready to go or if you have any more questions or things we can help clarify before you visit.  Thousands of people have started their journeys in training authentic fighting arts with us.  The most important step is the first one! Contact us and come for your first class!