Tackling the sport of BJJ as a brand new white belt can be a daunting and challenging undertaking. For many people just walking into the academy and trying a class is intimidating. It’s not easy putting yourself out there and trying something new. In the beginning you will mostly be the nail and not the hammer, but if you keep at it BJJ is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. It’s also important to remember that every single person you are training with started out as a white belt just like you. All your training partners want to see you stick with it, so remember that they are there to train hard with you but also to help you along your journey. If you feel like you’re not learning fast enough or you’re forgetting things just remember to be patient with yourself. The key is to enjoy the process and have fun with the journey.
The truth is there’s no secret formula to making it easier in the beginning. It just takes time and experience to start seeing success in your rolls. However, here are some helpful tips to make these challenges less overwhelming, and hopefully help you progress to the next level faster.
Don’t give up
“A black belt is a white belt who never gave up…”
If you continue to train consistently and give your best effort every session you will continue to improve and the more you come the faster you will progress. It won’t happen overnight, but you will see steady improvement. Just keep showing up.
As a beginner you’re going to have a lot of new information coming at you all at once, which can be extremely overwhelming. This is completely normal just remember to stick with the basics. Here at Atos HQ we have a Basics Class specifically designed for new white belts that ensures you will start your BJJ journey with a strong foundation. Focus on learning the basics and everything else will follow. If you aren’t getting a lot of submissions in the beginning it’s okay. It’s more important to learn how to defend yourself, and advance into a dominant position. Once you learn how to get to good positions the submissions will come. If you get too overwhelmed just try to focus on the technique that was taught that day. It’s also important to try to stay present in your rolls so you can learn the positions and understand what’s going on.
Learn the Basics First
Try not to get too caught up in the show moves when you’re first starting out. It’s fun and exciting to learn flying triangles but that’s not going to help you when you’re trying to escape a basic position like side control. Focus on your basics first and then the show moves will come much easier. It’s going to be more difficult and frustrating to learn advanced techniques if you don’t have your basics down. Be patient and trust the learning process.
Staying relaxed during sparing is much easier said than done, especially for a new white belt. It takes time and experience to learn how to slow down and use your energy wisely. At first you will waste a lot of energy with extra movement, but as you gain experience you will become more efficient. Many beginners mistake wasting energy for gasing out and think they just need to work on their cardio. While that’s probably true they also need to learn to relax and use technique instead of just strength. As you train more you will learn how to control the pace of the roll instead of just trying to go all out for the entire time. If you’re using all your strength to crank a submission and they aren’t tapping you probably aren’t doing it right. Try taking a step back and checking your technique instead of just powering your way through. Doing this will also help keep you and your training partner safe during sparing.
Leave your Ego at the Door
Always leave your ego at the door and remember you are here to learn. Accept the fact that when you first start you will get tapped a lot and that’s okay. It’s all part of the learning process. Recognize what you did wrong and learn from it instead of just getting frustrated. The faster you learn your mistakes and fix them the faster you will improve. Remember how it feels to be tapped so that when you tap one of your training partners you will always be respectful and modest. Everyone is here to learn and have fun, so train hard but always resect your teammates. After class reflect on what you did well and what you need to work on.
If you get in a submission and can’t get out just tap and move on. Don’t let an injury take you out of training because you were too proud to tap. If you get in a submission and you don’t know how to escape, tap and then ask what the proper escape is after, so you know what to do the next time you get caught.
Don’t Worry about Rank
Don’t just train for the next belt. If you are focused on improving every day and you are consistent the belt will come. It’s not about the rank it’s about enjoying the process and learning a little more every day. Don’t avoid training with someone because they are a lower rank but you are afraid of losing to them. Chances are the person you are avoiding is the person you should be forcing yourself to roll with. Don’t let your ego get in the way your improvement.
Always ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most upper belts and instructors are eager to help out the lower belts, and it will help you learn faster. Also try to stay present in your rolls so you know what you need to work on and what questions you should ask. Here at Atos HQ we allow our students to stay for a little while after class to work on things and ask questions. Another way to improve faster is taking private lessons. Private lessons offer a one on one learning environment catered to your specific needs, questions, and game.
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