The Hardest Step In Jiu-Jitsu
The hardest step is often the first. It’s often said that the hardest belt to achieve in Jiu Jitsu is the white belt. While it’s debatable whether or not it’s the hardest, it’s certainly the most important. For argument sake, let’s agree that starting training has it’s share of challenges, fear and uncertainty. Let’s address some of the things that could cause someone to delay, or worse, never start training.
Let’s start with the unknown. If you aren’t in the martial arts realm, Jiu Jitsu likely isn’t front and center in your life. While Jiu Jitsu has become much more well known in the last few years thanks to social media influencers and elite athletes like Professor Tom DeBlass and of course the work from the BJJ Fanatics team who work tirelessly to put out free technique content daily, it still is not a household name.
That being said, it’s likely that you have little to no idea what exactly Jiu Jitsu is. Sure, you may know it’s a grappling self defense based martial art that has been deemed time and time again the most effective martial art on the planet for self defense, but do you really know what Jiu Jitsu is? Personally, I don’t think there is any way anyone can prepare you for what you are going to experience, but I’ll do the best I can to help take away some of the unknown.
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Making the decision to train Jiu Jitsu will be the best decision you ever make. The thing about that is it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to earn it. If you make the decision to start training you will be joining a family, and much like any relationship it takes time to get to know one another and become close. If you are willing to put in the time and keep showing up every day Jiu Jitsu will pay you dividends unlike anything you imagined. Jiu Jitsu will improve every aspect of your life by teaching you mental toughness, perseverance and discipline unlike anything you have experienced at any point prior.
Let’s face it, sometimes life is hard, sometimes work isn’t great, sometimes things get tough… Jiu Jitsu will force you into positions that aren’t fun, that just flat out suck at times, and in doing this time and time again you will build a muscle memory like response to push though the frustration and find a way to win. Jiu Jitsu advocate, Black Belt and Navy Seal Jocko Willink talks in one of his YouTube videos about a portion of his seal training that was brutal, more so than anything else where they would be in the pool learning to use their gear and the instructors would tie knots in their hoses cutting off the oxygen supply. Long story short, eventually they would be faced with a challenge that they couldn’t endure underwater and they would be forced to surface at a point when they were on the brink of drowning. The first thing they were required to yell was “I’m fine”. This is the same concept; it’s about reprogramming your brain to deal with conflict differently. It’s about building the mental toughness to push through the mental barriers.
In order to be successful in Jiu Jitsu and experience all of the benefits of Jiu Jitsu it is imperative that you choose the right academy to train. This may mean trying a few before you find the one that feels like “home”. Walking in the first few times likely won’t be the easiest thing you have ever done; however, it should be welcoming and friendly. For me, personally, I was looking for a laid back, but still structured place to train where there were few to no egos and a friendly, family like atmosphere. I was fortunate to find that in the fist place I went to.
Once you commit to taking the first step and joining the Jiu Jitsu family, I would love to tell you that it get’s easier, and in a sense it does, but at the same time, not at all. Allow me to explain. Jiu Jitsu will challenge you physically and mentally over the years of training ahead, likely in ways you never realized. Each challenge unique in its own way and building onto the last in solidifying part of our character whether that be self discipline, perseverance, work ethic or any of the other several area’s that Jiu Jitsu has a direct impact. The difference is that now you have the support of your academy to help you tackle these challenges. While many of the challenges will be challenges you must personally overcome, it certainly helps to have people in your corner pushing you and cheering you on.
In order to progress through the ranks, especially beyond the blue belt level you will need to have the right mindset. The majority of Jiu Jitsu practitioners who quit training do so at some point between receiving their blue belt and before earning their purple belt. Having the right mindset will help you push through this point that seems to filter out the ones who want it the most and progress on to the next level. It’s one thing to say “have the right mindset” but like anything, we don’t know what we don’t know.
What is the right mindset? I think it’s important to ask that question of someone who is where you want to be, someone who has made it through the ranks and is a well known for having a positive outlook on life in general, specifically the benefits Jiu Jitsu brings to your life. In my opinion, Tom DeBlass is one of the best we could have asked for to answer the questions around mindset. In his latest video instructional, audio book and e-book package he answers these questions and more taking a deep dive into the what it takes to get to black belt, and how the right mindset carries over into so much more than just Jiu Jitsu.
“The Road to Blackbelt and Beyond” – by Tom DeBlass is sure to help you understand the mindset required to get through the toughest training days, the biggest losses, the biggest wins, and anything and everything life may throw at you along the way. Pick up yours today and take the next step, whatever that is for you. If you have not taken the first and hardest step of signing up and committing to get started, well, it’s time. We are excited to have you as part of the family. Get it done and get on the mats.
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