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BJJ White Belt Tips

BJJ White Belt Tips


There is a vast plain of Jiu Jitsu knowledge that a White belt must ascertain over the course of their first few years. The White belt level is the most important stage in the journey of how to become a Black belt in bjj, it is where a beginner will form great foundations or bad habits. 

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bjj tips for white belts

A beginner must stick to the basics and begin to form the correct pathways between transitions. There are many Jiu Jitsu White belt moves that a beginner must focus on, like how to position their body in a good base. The essence of learning BJJ for a beginner is understanding the positions and how to transition between them. A good concept to remember is when a student is on top of an opponent it's all about taking away their space, as opposed to when they are underneath, it is about creating space in order to escape.

White belts can also walk the wrong path, just like Anakin turned to the darkside, a White belt will get caught up in leglocks and berimbolos. There is a reason why the Gracie's don't teach Heel Hooks at the White belt level, and that is because a student will often skip the fundamental principles behind passing the guard. Many White belts will become YouTube warriors and start practising all the cool advanced movements they find online, this can be detrimental to the foundations of a beginner, as they should be focusing on fundamentals like passing, positioning, posture and the principles behind escapes. 

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There are five different bjj belts starting at White and ending with Black, well there is a sixth and that's the Coral belt, but that is reserved for practitioners that have spent over thirty years as a Black belt. There are many bjj belt meanings, and the White belt is probably the most important. To be a White belt, a student must be willing to adhere to the philosophy of their instructor. To learn the correct form of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, they must leave their ego at the door and put aside what they think they know. 

White belts will need to show good work ethic, as it can be a tough induction in the beginning. Once they begin to understand how an academy works, they will become a representative of their instructor's brand. Beginners will need to master the warm-ups, as all of the movements are directly linked to Jiu Jitsu maneuvers. White belts should also ask lots of questions as their understanding will only grow with the proper guidance. progressing through the ranks is a slow process, as the art of Jiu Jitsu is a complex Martial Art. 


White belts are a special breed of Jiu Jitsu practitioner, they can often take a wrong turn when trying to improve their skill set. Beginners will get excited by the thrill of high level competitions like ADCC and the IBJJF Worlds. Many beginners will seek out the more complicated techniques rather than sticking to the fundamentals. It can be a bad habit to practice leg locks and more advanced techniques so early in a White belts development. 

Beginners must be smart enough to master the foundations like positional awareness, posture and other important fundamentals. Chasing YouTube stardom can be extremely detrimental to the beginners aspirations of improving. Forming bad habits will leave a lasting imprint on a White belts future game style. If they spend too much time trying to master the high level moves when it comes time in the heat of the moment, they will miss the fundamental escape or the guard pass. White belts must build a strong base and continue to forge ahead with their fundamental development.

Other bad habits can include a beginners attitude towards the Martial Art. Quite often an athlete from another sport will come into the gym to begin training, and they come in with arrogance. This can be the worst way to start a BJJ journey, beginners have to be open to learning the fundamentals and not caught up in the glamor of hitting high level maneuvers. This can be a common occurrence in Jiu Jitsu, but often enough the arrogant are weeded out or they will learn humility.


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Setting bjj White belt goals is extremely important, as it can be the difference between retaining information or not. It is easy to just go through the motions and miss fundamental lessons, by setting goals a White belt can begin to work out a specific problem. Let's have a look at some good goals a beginner can set.


Beginners should ask higher belts during roll time if they can play certain games. A good one is instead of rolling to submission, roll with the purpose of only hitting a sweep, while their partner tries to pass. Once someone has swept or passed reset and go again. This kind of drilling has really good functionality and not only will it enhance a students skills, it will work their cardio too.


Another good challenge for a White belt is to start in a bad position like mount, side control or back control. This will give the beginner some fast tracked help in practising their escapes. Their partner will hunt submissions while the beginner will focus on defending and trying to escape. At the beginner level mastering the art of escaping is one of the most important aspects. 


Another good goal is to practice takedowns, a beginner can partner up with a high belt and work on their takedown game. Establishing dominant grips and good footwork is very important, and let's be honest all fights start on the feet so practising standup work is imperative. Once someone hits the canvas they can reset and go again. This is high intensity drilling that can help beginners exponentially in the development of their Jiu Jitsu.


Another good goal for beginners is to master the warm-ups, as the movements that are taught directly link to techniques. To practice a hip shrimp seems silly to a White belt, but when they successfully retain guard after escaping mount with a hip shrimp, they understand why it is important. All movements in the warm-ups have a place in Jiu Jitsu, so mastering them is a step in the right direction.


Another good goal in BJJ is to practice guard retention. Having your training partner just focus on passing the guard and securing dominant positions, while the beginner just tries to secure half guard or full guard. Guard retention is an important aspect of Jiu Jitsu and will often get a practitioner out of trouble, so be sure to put in a lot of time into this concept.

It is a good idea for beginners to set themselves goals, if they map out their progression and aim for one stripe every five months then they are on a good path. They can fast track their promotions by competing, setting goals like winning tournaments can be a good way to become more dedicated to their journey.


It is extremely important that White belts listen to the higher belts, as they have been around the block a few times. There are many tips offered by higher belts that can help beginners achieve their goals. If a beginner is stubborn they will miss the lesson a higher belt is trying to teach, so it is imperative to stay humble and soak in all the knowledge they possibly can.

There are many tips that White belts should apply, let's have a look at a few.


One of the most common failings for a beginner is not knowing how to tie Jiu Jitsu belt, most higher belts will show beginners how to tie the belt. There are several different ways to tie the belt, and it will benefit beginners to have a look at all of these and pick which way suits them best. 


It is important to understand the health benefits behind keeping all of your gear clean. This includes regularly washing the Gi and your belt. Understanding how to wash bjj belt is an extremely important aspect, as the belt can carry a plethora of germs, resulting in bad infections like staph. It is also good hygiene practice to shower before and after training so there is less chance of germs spreading.


There is nothing worse than your training partners leaving cuts and scratches all over you, so be sure to clip your finger and toe nails. It is also a good idea to file them down so they stay blunt. Scratches can lead to infections so avoiding this entirely by clipping your nails is just common sense. This will also stop mat damage, because sharp nails can put holes in the mats and every student has a responsibility in maintaining their academy as best they can.


Often higher belts will encourage beginners to ask questions, so they can understand the entire picture. Most of the time when a technique is taught it is only a small piece to a much larger puzzle, there are a multitude of questions that are warranted to ask. Higher belts have a vast array of knowledge to offer and they are more than happy to pass on their expertise. So beginners must be confident and be sure to speak up in class, remember there are no real dumb questions. 


One of the most vital tips a higher belt can offer is to engage in repetition. Quite often when a technique is taught two White belts will practice it twice each and sit there thinking they have done enough. The reality is that each move needs to be practised a hundred times each or more, because the more a technique is practised the better a practitioner will be at it. So it's a good idea for beginners to constantly practise movements and techniques so they can ingrain the maneuvers in their mind.


Quite often beginners will sit on the sidelines too timid to roll with the higher belts. It will serve a beginner well to jump in the deep end and roll with the higher belts at their academy. There is no better induction to Jiu Jitsu than getting submitted gracefully by a higher belt, and most of the time the higher belt will offer one on one tuition. This can be extremely valuable knowledge to learn as there is nothing like getting tips during live scenario rolling.


It is a good idea for beginners to roll all the time, the more they get in the game the more comfortable they will feel. Becoming good at Jiu Jitsu is all about muscle memory and to form those kinds of pathways a beginner must roll a lot. Try not to have any rest rounds unless it is absolutely necessary, because even when a beginner is really tired they can continue to roll and work on surviving.


Practising the fundamentals is one of the most important facets of learning BJJ. If a beginner spends their time getting extremely good at the core principles in Jiu Jitsu then they will have a much easier transition through all of their colored belt promotions. Mastering The foundations of Jiu Jitsu will open the door for a stronger Jiu Jitsu core, and it will become easier to learn the more advanced movements later on.


Noone likes an arrogant person, so if a beginner is cocky in any way it will be detrimental to their growth in BJJ. Quite often Jiu Jitsu will humble an arrogant person or they will stop coming altogether. It is important to be humble and not brag about tapping other members out, remember at the gym most students are working on their own goals so if a beginner taps out a higher belt it is pretty safe to say the higher belt was exploring different avenues. The only way to battle test techniques is to try it in live rolling, and there will be failings and successes.

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Best Tips for BJJ White Belts

There are many tips and tricks to learn throughout one's journey in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For many beginners they just need to work hard and have continuity in their training so they can slowly progress through the ranking system. BJJ is an incredible Martial Art that is continually evolving, so stick it out because the rewards far outweigh the risks. 

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Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

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  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

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