White Belt Guide: 10 Tips for the Beginning of your Jiu Jitsu Journey
- Find a good gym
Even if you are already at a gym, the first step is to ensure you are somewhere best suited for you. Without a supportive gym behind you, it will be difficult to implement any of the following practices. A good gym should have qualified and respectable coaches, a welcoming environment, and the ability to help you reach your goals.
- Train consistently, 3+ days a week
It’s one thing to just sign up and come to class whenever; the key is to be consistent and ensure that you are training to attain your goals. Choosing a training schedule that fits comfortably within your life will make it easy to commit yourself to BJJ.
- Roll often
Though live rolling or grappling is usually the most intimidating part of the class, it may also be the most important. This is the time where you get to see your progress in action and determine what you are good at and what you need to improve upon. It can also be an indicator of your endurance and confidence in your training.
- Partner with everyone, regardless of size and skill level
There is value to be found in every partner. A higher belt can challenge you and teach you where to improve; a lower belt can be used to hone in your technique and try new things; various weight groups can either challenge you or give you an advantage, both of which can help you to adjust your pressure and use it effectively.
- Don’t neglect fitness and conditioning
In a previous post, we discussed the importance of incorporating outside fitness into your life. When you first start BJJ, it may feel like a lot of vigorous activity your body just isn’t used to. The best way to ensure you can keep up is to maintain your fitness in all areas of life, from physical activity to dieting.
- Tap early and always warm-up
One of the worst ways to start your jiu jitsu journey is with an injury a couple of weeks or months in. Some injuries just happen, but in many cases in this sport, injuries can come from not tapping soon enough. There is no shame in tapping early; your health should never be sacrificed for the sake of pride. Additionally, some injuries can be prevented simply by stretching and warming up your muscles before class.
- Respect and take care of your partners
Without your partners, you can’t do jiu jitsu. Because of that, it is important to also be respectful to your partners and coaches. This can come in many ways, from shaking hands, telling each other thank you and good job, being a good drilling partner, avoiding illegal submissions, practicing good hygiene, and being friendly.
- Implement class techniques into rolls
Many times, students will drill a set of techniques during class, then completely forget about them when the live round starts. Make it a goal for yourself to try to do the move of the week in every round. More than likely, you won’t be successful each time, but you will start to see it available more and eventually it will become instinct. Your coaches plan each week’s techniques with you in mind, so respect that and try to put the techniques into action.
- Don’t panic; remember to breathe
One thing many beginners forget when they get into a bad position is to breathe. They get mounted or have their back taken and they freeze and panic, making a bad situation even worse. But the best way to combat this is to breathe through it and use what you’ve learned to escape and come back to a position you feel comfortable in.
- Have fun
Overall, your coaches only want you to be successful in your own goals and enjoy your time at the gym. Regardless of whether you want to lose weight, learn self-defense or be a world championship, jiu jitsu should be fun. Don’t lose sight of that as you face struggles; the rewards are well worth everything else.