5 Jiu-Jitsu Tips To Be Your Best White Belt

5 min read
Learn what it takes to stick with the amazing art of Jiu-Jitsu, the art with one of the highest white belt drop our rates

two BJJ grapplers grappling at Arte Suave Cup

5 Jiu-Jitsu Tips To Be Your Best White Belt

Learn what it takes to stick with the amazing art of Jiu-Jitsu, the art with one of the highest white belt drop our rates

Location: New England, U.S.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Photo by: Duncan Graham

Many people began their Jiu-Jitsu training because they are interested in learning self-defense, want to improve their physical and mental health, or simply want to be around a great group of people. Personally, I had a background in Karate at a young age and felt the desire to carry on with improving my martial arts skills throughout my life, which led me to Jiu-Jitsu. 

Being able to properly defend myself, having a rock-solid community, gaining newfound knowledge, and having the accomplishment of growing and sticking in something sounded epic. And guess what, it has been! But what could I have done better to make my Jiu-Jitsu journey easier at the start? 

To answer this introspective question and offer some “been there, done that” wisdom from someone who trains with and has met so many wonderful teammates; here are 5 simple tips to do if you’re just starting Jiu-Jitsu and not only want to set yourself up for success training day after training day…. let’s get into it!

1. “Just show up.” 

I bet you hear these words often or the immortalized “Just do it” slogan from Nike when trying something new in your life by most everyone. I know it can be stressful and intimidating to make that first step. However, walking through your local BJJ GYM’s doors for the first time is empowering, takes more courage than you realize, and is often the most challenging part…. to start and get that momentum train moving. So, when wondering when a good time to start is, the answer is NOW…. today! Be courageous to start and go for it.

2. It’s okay to suck!

You must be willing to be terrible at something to be great at it! There is not one successful celebrity, athlete, or entrepreneur that has never failed, and often these are the very moments where we learn the most. Jiu-Jitsu will humble you, as everyone who has trained will attest to, but the reward, your WHY, for being on the mats is well worth the cost. 

So, if you don’t know what a closed guard is, a triangle, or even the name of the strange uniform you are currently wearing, a GI, that’s okay! Ask your professor questions, try a new move that you may fail at, and don’t allow your fear of losing to get in the way of being great.

3. Take the small victories

When you begin training, you will automatically be a part of a supportive, hard-working community of martial artists who enjoy working with you; Iron sharpens iron. With each class, usually 3-6 times a week, you’ll pick up on small, personal victories such as not getting your guard passed as quickly, landing a takedown, or being able to last back-to-back 5-minute rounds. The small, daily achievements will inspire you to return to the mats the next day and continue to sharpen your BJJ skills. Take the small victories and remember how the small successes are part of your long-term goal… etc., to be able to protect your family, lose 30 lb., or to finally commit to a fantastic discipline.

4. Lean from your Jiu-Jitsu teammates

When you train with your relatively experienced teammates, you will eventually take bits and pieces of their skill set, embrace them as your own, and ultimately build your own grappling game. The key here is to ask. When you get submitted by something you have never seen or felt before, and yes, that happens to everyone, A LOT, ask! Ask what it was and how to perform it and escape. 

As wonderful as your professor is, he may not always be there to answer your questions. Find a higher belt, blue or purple, and ask… they have been right where you are. Think about it…. in the last week, did you get submitted? Was your guard passed? Did someone take you down? If the answer is yes, you better have a question ready to ask a higher belt to improve your BJJ skill set and not let history repeat itself class after class.

5. Drill, Roll, Recover, Repeat

As a grappler, drilling will be your best friend for seeing your results compounded over time. Bruno Malfacine, a 10x world champion, is famous for saying, “I hate drilling, but I hate coming in second place even more.” If you want to be your best Jiu-Jitsu self, drill, drill, drill.

Once you drill your techniques and have a good understanding of the move, the time to test if it’s actionable is to use said technique in a live roll. With someone is resisting close to 100%, you will know quickly and exactly how good you are with that technique and if you can genuinely perform it. 

At this stage, fail quickly! Go for it and see where the fail point is… was it right from the start, did I get caught midway through, or did I get it, but the guy escaped too quickly? If you fail quickly, you know precisely what to work on instead of simply speculating and thus can improve your Jiu-Jitsu game far faster. 

Next, recover… Take the ice bath, get the impact gun, stretch, and choose 8 hrs. of sleep over binge-watching on Netflix… you are using your body in extraordinary ways, and it takes a lot of physical effort. Treat it like a temple, and it will reward you with fewer injuries, better performance, and compounded grappling growth.   

Lastly, don’t stop. You have a recipe for success, now stick to it, especially on the tough days. I don’t know anyone who looks back and says, “I wish I did less Jiu-Jitsu,” or “I’m glad I missed that class.” Keep your eye on the prize and go for it!

Martial arts changed my life, and it will yours too if you put in the work. You get in what you put in, and if you do the work, you will experience physical, mental, and to an extent, spiritual improvements inside and outside the gym walls.

One thing every Jiu-Jitsu practitioner has in common is that they all have their own reason for beginning their Jiu-Jitsu journey. Tell us your reason, your Jiu-Jitsu WHY below, and send this article to a friend you would like to train with. 

Now, let’s get to work! We have goals to accomplish! 

Oss!

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