Learn to Defend, Learn to Survive
Work To Not Get Submitted Now. Almost Never Get Submitted Later...
At the earliest stages of our BJJ training, we get overwhelmed with technique, philosophy, and a whole host of other concepts that we try our best to master in an unrealistic amount of time. You’re excited, and you should be. But this inundation can take its toll on your progress and actually slow down the learning process if you continue trying to take it all in at once.
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Looking back at this time period, I think about how I might have handled my training, and the different adjustments I may have made. I regret nothing about it, because everyone has their own BJJ story, and I am proud of mine, as you should be of yours.
I do wish however that I would’ve placed more importance on survival. This theme was not really as present as it could’ve been in my earliest experiences with BJJ. I think as white belts we’re sometimes looking to claim our place among the other students and we focus on domination rather than not being dominated. I’m not saying that the attacking portion of your BJJ shouldn’t be a focus. But while your developing your game, and experimenting with what works for you consider making survival more of a priority.
When you focus on the defensive aspects of BJJ at an early stage it gives you an incredible amount of insight into attacking. You may not be aware of what you are absorbing, but your body is slowly and surely learning how to deal with the onslaught of attacks coming your way. Once you develop the ground floor of your defense and become difficult to submit, you’ll feel more security and comfort in mounting your offense. I have students at the academy that made this their biggest priority at a lower rank and became almost impossible to submit after a few years of progression.
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Certainly, all aspects of BJJ are important, and some become more important as you progress through the ranks. I truly feel that this theme is crucial to your early training. Pay attention to how the upper ranks are attacking you, soak up the knowledge, and you’ll be ready to turn it against them in no time!