Being a beginner can be exciting, scary, or downright confusing. Most often than not, when we start out we feel all three things at once.
So it’s understandable that being a brand new BJJ white belt can be tough. That’s why you need these top 10 tips to help you on your way.
#1 – Embrace Being A Newbie
One of the best things you can do as a fresh white belt is to embrace being the newbie. Why? Well, that way sucking at jiu jitsu actually sucks less.
So what if you can’t properly apply an armbar yet. You’re the new guy, it doesn’t matter.
Plus, as a beginner, almost everything is brand new. Times like these can be really exciting, especially once you begin to roll. So don’t worry too much about “winning” a roll, focus on trying that totally new move you’ve just learned.
Eventually, you won’t be the new guy anymore. Everybody will know you by your first name and you’ll have probably helped out a few fresh white belts along the way.
But until you become a seasoned veteran on the mats, embrace your status. Make new friends, soak in the knowledge, enjoy the atmosphere, and most importantly have fun.
#2 – Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself
Understandably we all want to get good fast, but mounting too high an expectation straight away is unproductive. Eventually, ego gets in the way and you might even quit BJJ out of frustration.
So take every day as it comes and go with the flow. Enjoy the process of turning up, hanging out, and remember that everyone has to start somewhere.
World champions aren’t created overnight, and even the best have their bad days. So if you ever feel like you’re not your usual self just let the moment pass. Tomorrow is a new day and a fresh chance to try again.
BJJ is a long road of ups and downs. Not every day is going to go as planned, and there will be sessions that will be amazing when you expected them to suck. The best way to ensure this is to not put too much pressure on your shoulders.
Roll with the punches (or chokes in this case) and enjoy the ride. Remember, you’re in this game for the long haul.
#3 – Focus on the Basics
Okay, we’ll not pretend flying submissions or dynamic leg lock entries aren’t cool. But in all seriousness, none of those things matter without solid basics.
The basics are your jiu jitsu foundation. Everything else is built from those concepts and they’re the fundamental parts of your entire game.
By understanding the basics you will be able to fight from any position. On your back? No problem. Stuck in side control? Don’t worry, you’ve got this. Ready to take the back and score your four points? Sure as hell you are!
Once you know how to apply the fundamental concepts of jiu jitsu you can grow your own game. You can add all the fancy stuff to your bulletproof arsenal later.
#4 – Consistency is Key
We all know that practice makes perfect, right? Therefore it should make perfect sense that we practice regularly to achieve the most success.
By staying consistent and turning up to BJJ regularly you will be able to keep your body and mind in the game. Whatever you learned a few days ago will be fresh in your mind and all of a sudden you’ll gain momentum.
Imagine if you were trying to learn another language. What would work better, speaking a little bit every day, or trying to cram in a full 24 hours of German once a month? Surely little and often beats sporadic learning hands down?
Well, the same goes for BJJ, so try to keep your attendance regular. Your instructor will see that you are reliable and might be more inclined to make your progress a priority. Plus, you will get to know everybody else better. Who knows, you might pick up a regular training partner to grow your jiu jitsu alongside.
All of these things can be made possible by keeping consistent in your training.
#5 – Check Your Ego
Okay, we shouldn’t really have to tell you this, but it’s a simple truth. Dropping any ego you have will accelerate your progress beyond belief.
Why? Well, you’ll probably make a few more mistakes to start. Then, if you’re smart, you’ll learn from them. As they say, you never lose, you learn.
Sounds a little counter-intuitive doesn’t it? But in reality, our egos slow us down. We sit out rolling with the tough guys and don’t get a chance to work defense. We dare not ask our coach to explain the details in case we look stupid – obviously, this means we don’t learn the proper move.
However, the number one ego problem in BJJ is not tapping! Trust us, you’ll get so much better by tapping early, not getting injured, and going in again for another roll.
It’s pretty much impossible to get good by spending the entire round holding a death grip on your opponent’s collar. You know, just in case he/she might pass your guard and make you look silly. And what will actually happen is you will learn nothing more than how to stall – who wants to be known as that guy/girl, right?
So check the ego at the door when you slip off your shoes and step onto the tatami. Everybody is there to learn, you included. Therefore, forget about winning and losing, and focus on progression. Tap early, tap often, and accelerate quickly.
Final Point: Slap, Bump & Roll
Take these 5 tips and throw them into your training right away. Before you know it you’ll be chasing the tails of the blue belts and learning at a ridiculously fast rate.
Just remember to embrace being the underdog and soak in as much knowledge as possible. Jiu jitsu is a never-ending game of positions, concepts, techniques, and strategies. Just as you think one door has closed, another enticing pathway opens.
As a beginner, your main priority should be mastering the basics. They’re not called basics because they’re throwaway, now way. Combined the basic techniques and concepts will set a solid foundation for your entire jiu jitsu journey.
Finally, check your ego at the door. Don’t worry, we all have or had one, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Just remember that losing the ego will help you learn, grow, and make friends at a much faster rate.
Knowledge is power – especially when you know how to apply a tight arm lock.
If you have any other tips for BJJ white belts from your own experience, let us know. Drop your suggestions in the comments section to help out other jiu jitsu fanatics.