Five Things To Remember As A BJJ White Belt

As a beginner, everyone finds it tough at times. Below are five things to remember as a BJJ white belt, which should hopefully help you out when it comes to making the most of your time the mats.

Walking onto the mats for your first class can be quite intimidating, especially if it’s your first time training at the gym. Not to mention having a complete stranger grab hold of you to apply a choke or kimura – it’s not something most people do on a daily basis.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Advice

If there’s a move you struggle with, or you don’t know any sweeps from a certain guard, don’t hesitate to ask your rolling partner. Most of the time they’ll be happy to advise you, and if not, it’s usually because they don’t know the move either. Remember, we all started in your position – none the wiser.

There is a lot of information being thrown at you when you first begin training, so it may seem a bit overwhelming but it’s all a learning curve. Knowledge comes with time, so you just need to go at your own pace. Never compare yourself to others, compare yourself to what you were like yesterday. 

You Don’t Have to Dive in Head First if You Don’t Want to

If you haven’t tried BJJ before, don’t feel obliged to buy the Gi straight away, because it might not be your cup of tea. Go to a few no-Gi classes for as long as it takes and see if you like grappling in general, then try the Gi.

Usually you will develop a preference as to which you prefer out of the two. While most people will train both, this isn’t something you have to do either. If you only like one then you don’t ever have to do both!

Tap!

Training isn’t fighting to the death, it’s all about learning. But it doesn’t matter how careful your partner is, if you don’t tap at the right time, you will get injured. Having to take six weeks off BJJ for an injury you could have prevented, will be pretty frustrating. That’s why it’s always better to tap early, and often.

If someone has a submission on, it feels locked in and you can feel pressure, then tap. If you’re unsure if a submission is on, it’s probably on. There’s not much point injuring yourself for tapping two seconds too late.

Don’t Be Scared Of Higher Belts

Think of them as coaches. They’ve been practicing the sport for years, even a blue belt has at least eighteen months of experience! They’re there to share their experience and knowledge to help you – especially as a newbie. Even if when you roll with them, they pretty much dominate the round, rest assured they’re most likely still taking it easy and letting you work. This can be the best kind of practice because you’re attempting techniques against someone who is reacting the way an experienced grappler would.

When beginning BJJ, you must accept the fact that you will be beaten and dominated regularly during the first stages of your training. The time will eventually come where you’re the one submitting people, but first of all you must pay your dues. If you are finding something difficult, or finding yourself being caught with the same move, make it your focus. Work on your weaknesses, maybe even moreso than your strengths.

Stick With It & Train! Train! Train!

To see initial improvements in your training you must first of all ATTEND! This is a sport that really does need commitment because without repetition, it is easy to forget what you’ve learnt. When you attend class regularly, your confidence in rolling will increase, and you will be able to know who you’re training with, ultimately forming lasting friendships.

Throughout your life, you may have some obstacles that you face when it comes to being able to go to training – life’s responsibilities get in the way. But even if you have to take a few weeks/months or even years out – keep coming back, regardless of how long it’s been. You’ll never regret coming back.

Those are five things you should remember as a BJJ white belt, and don’t forget that a black belt is just a white belt that never gave up.

This weekend is packed with grappling action as Polaris 12 has a stacked card. For tickets to the upcoming Polaris 12 on 30th November in Newport, South Wales, click here.

Lucy Wynne

Twenty-one, from Stoke-on-Trent now living in Manchester. I'm an avid writer, music lover and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) enthusiast. I began training BJJ in Southampton when at university, and I've trained ever since. #OSS