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Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone

Things I wish I knew as a White Belt

Being a white belt means you’re still new to BJJ and there is a lot you don’t know. It takes a lot of courage to take those first steps. To make it easier, here is a list of things I wish I knew as a white belt.



You are going to tap. A lot. You gain nothing from not tapping and you risk serious injury which can slow your progress.

There are going to be techniques and movements that you won’t understand and can’t perform. This is natural, given time these will become second nature.

Higher belts don’t mind training with you, so you can stop apologising. We’ve all been the new person.

If you are practicing with a higher belt, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

There are no stupid questions.

Stop using strength and learn to use technique. You can always add strength to your technique later on, adding technique to your strength down the track is much more complicated.

Every time you drill a technique, do it slow. Try and remember all the details and don’t rush. It is better to be slow with good technique than quick with bad technique. Speed will come with time and practice.

Tapping a coloured belt will not earn you your blue belt quicker. Everyone taps, even the higher belts.

Asking about your next promotion is considered rude in most academies. Your instructor knows where you are at, you will be promoted when you are ready.

You will be promoted based on a combination of your skill level, commitment, attendance and maturity.  If any one of these is not at the expected level you won’t be promoted. For example, if someone is super talented and skilled but trains very rarely, their promotions will be slower. If someone lacks the maturity of a higher belt (i.e: Not tapping when they should, being over competitive in the gym, not helping lower belts) their progress will also be stalled.

A belt promotion is always a very personal achievement, no two belt promotions are identical and two people who are promoted on the same day will often display different levels of skill.

Your academy will have rules, if you are unsure what these are ask you instructor for a copy of the dojo etiquette. Or look around the gym, most academies will have their etiquette on display somewhere.



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