Being a beginner is always tough. Starting something new is just hard. It is no different in the case of BJJ. Being a white belt is simply not the easiest thing to do. You do not know exactly what is going on, what you can do and what not, what are the possible injuries, etc. However, this is not something to worry about too much. Nor is it a reason to give up jiu jitsu. It’s just a normal process that all of us have to go through. However, these problems and difficulties of being a white belt are sometimes difficult to overcome on your own. And this is exactly why this BJJ white belt survival guide was created. Thanks to it you will learn how to overcome white belt struggles and how to successfully spend your time on this color of the belt.
BJJ White Belt Survival Guide
Unfortunately, the list of difficulties and problems that the white belt can encounter is quite long. And there is nothing strange about it. After all, you are a newbie again and you find yourself in a new environment surrounded by a lot of new people. In addition, BJJ is also quite a specific sport in which previous experience with other martial arts is not always necessarily useful. This means that most of the time in your first jiu jitsu training, you won’t really know what’s going on. So, it can even be said that dangers await beginners at every turn. None of them, however, are insurmountable. All you need to know is how to overcome them and everything becomes easier.
Lack of knowledge
The main problem of any beginner is a lack of knowledge. BJJ is just quite confusing at first. You don’t know much about what’s going on around you. What is threatening you from the opponent or what you can do to defend yourself. However, such a lack of knowledge is normal and we have all been through it at some point. So there is no need to cry over this, but you have to accept it and want to change this state of things. A good solution here is to switch to the mode of absorbing knowledge from everywhere. It means that you should focus very much on what your trainer says during classes, ask questions when you don’t understand something, ask for explanations of techniques, to show them again, etc. You have to be really mind and body present in training. If you want to learn, you shouldn’t have the head in the clouds, but focus on what is happening.
It is also worth asking for advice and explanations from your classmates. The more experienced sparring partners are an excellent source of information. So there is no need to be ashamed or embarrassed when asking for help. After rolling, you just have to ask your opponents how they did such and such a thing, etc. The next step in surviving the time of being a beginner is to think about BJJ after training as well. To consolidate your knowledge, you should recreate in your mind the techniques and positions that you learned during the training. You can even write these things down or/and support your learning process with other sources of information, such as books or good-quality instructional videos.
Getting to know your body
When starting BJJ, it may seem to us that if we are somehow generally athletic or muscular, training this sport will not be a problem either. However, as mentioned before, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is quite a specific sport. By training BJJ you will feel the work of muscles that you often did not even know you had, rolling also requires different endurance and condition than most other sports.
Therefore, when starting your adventure with BJJ, it is worth getting to know your body well. Pay attention, for example, to whether you get tired quickly, because you lack this specific condition, or maybe you only use strength during fights, tense all your muscles, and therefore you lose energy quickly. Understanding your weaknesses, limitations and bad habits will allow you to work better with your body during training and thus it will be easier for you to survive as a white belt.
By learning to pay attention to your body’s cues in this way, you can also avoid injury. Even if you still lack knowledge and you do not know exactly what the opponent is doing with your arm or leg, but you start to feel that something is going on in your limb, you should not ignore such signals. This signal lets you know that something is about to hurt and may result in an injury. Listening to these warnings will spare you from injuries that you might suffer from ignorance of the techniques. And with time, when you gain more knowledge and get to know your body well, you will know better when it is time to tap or from which submission you can still escape.
Humility is more important than ego
As a beginner, you will be submitted more than less frequently. Due to the lack of experience, you will often get into unfavorable situations and the opponents will take advantage of it. Tapping out will become your daily routine. It is, of course, admitting defeat. However, It is also just inevitable. For some people, especially those who are used to being constantly successful, such continuous defeats can be quite problematic. However, if you want to survive to the blue belt and not end your career in the white one, you have to put your ego in the pocket. Of course, losing is not fun, but in BJJ, humility is just a better teacher than pride or ego. Hurt pride and stubbornness can only lead you to injury and discourage you from jiu jitsu. While accepting your temporary weakness will enable you to grow.
Not to be discouraged
Sometimes things are going well at the beginning, we think that we will conquer the whole world and quickly become the champion in BJJ. And then suddenly we get smashed. Someone tap us out a few times, we lose all fights, and generally do not understand what the coach is saying to us. At this point, you can really get discouraged. However, stopping training is the worst thing to do in this situation. You cannot despair and focus only on the negatives. Each of us was once a beginner and faced the same hardships. Even a black belt is a white belt who never gave up.