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WHITE BELT NUGGETS!
Everyone who has ever ventured to train in Brazilian JiuJitsu has been the "new guy." Being the new white belt is not easy and often comes with a lot of anxiety and fear of the unknown. I remember my first time stepping foot in a Brazilian JiuJitsu Academy and remember it being a very nerve racking experience. I recall all of the academy members dressed in what looked like pajamas and remember feeling somewhat awkward watching grown men roll around with one another. I had been involved in a striking based martial art prior to Brazilian JiuJitsu, but had no experience training in such an "intimate" martial art.
These are all very common feelings that most white belts may experience. Understanding every student in the dojo, including the black belts, have once been in your shoes and probably had these same anxieties and fears, will help you progress in your BJJ journey.
Like all students, you bring your own unique life experiences to the mat. Use these experiences to your advantage to help mold a Brazilian JiuJitsu "game" that is tailored specifically to your strengths.
In my experience, these 10 white belt tips will help you earn the respect of your academy teammates and put you in position to succeed in your Brazilian JiuJitsu journey.
1. Don't be the student that tries to teach another student while you are wearing a white belt around your waist. Instead, be like a sponge and absorb everything you are learning. Take notes on each class. I remember keeping a note pad in my vehicle and directly after class I would write down things I learned or positions that worked for me in "live training."
2, Ask a lot of questions. Even the greats are humble enough to ask questions. I was listening to a podcast where they were speaking about former UFC heavy weight champ, Stipe Miocic. Stipe was training in a new camp and the commentator was amazed how many questions the champ asked his training partners and others with lesser skill sets. If the former UFC heavy weight champ can ask questions like he was a beginner, then why shouldn't everyone have the humility to ask questions in order to improve his or her game?
3, Do not try to smash a higher belt. These higher belts are usually purposely going down to your level while "live training/rolling." Understand they could easily tap you if they wanted to. They are being courteous to even roll with you, so don't be that white belt who forces a submission and hurts another practitioner.
4. Do not ask your instructor how long it takes to get your blue belt. Everyone is at different levels of conditioning, talent and physical ability. Try to learn and absorb techniques that will help your progress.
5. Learn away from the dojo. You may have heard the term. "JiuJitsu is a lifestyle." Therefore, use the internet to learn and speed up your BJJ progress.
Learn the fundamentals that will help build a solid Brazilian JiuJitsu foundation! Click LEARN MORE!
6. Have a goal to train at your dojo at least 2 times a week, minimum. Develop the habit of training at the academy. Do not be the guy who shows up 4 times one week, then doesn't show for a month. Be consistent and do not burn yourself out by training too much.
7. Don't be the new guy who has 10 different designer /signature Gi's. This looks terrible to upper belts and you may come across as a "Poser," even though you are not trying to be.
8. Love Brazilian JiuJitsu, but also have an identity off of the mat. Many new BJJ practitioners buy all of the t-shirts and post all of their training on social media and their profile pics are all of BJJ. In my experience, these guys tend to burn out fast and end up quitting.
9. Train when you are hurt, but if you are injured do not train. Being injured means you have an injury that prevents you from training. Being hurt means you may have a bump or a bruise, but you work through the pain with no chance of becoming injured.
10. DO NOT QUIT!!!....Too many people quit once they receive their blue belt. Remember it is the journey, not the destination. Find joy in the little things during your training and don't be so obsessed with the promotion. Promotions will come once you find joy in the journey of this great martial art.
Don't forget to check out Fundamentals of a JiuJitsu Renegade by Kurt Osiander. This series will teach you the fundamentals that will fast track your BJJ success. You can get it here!