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White Belt Tips

New to BJJ? Here are my top 10 tips for those who are new to the BJJ scene!

  1. Remain calm on your first day You're going to feel like a fish on dry land in your first month of BJJ so it's important to remember to remain calm on your first day. Don't try to impress anyone. Breathe, take your time, and just do as your Instructor tells you. If you are training at a reputable place, your Instructor will likely partner you with someone that is responsible for guiding you throughout your class. In most cases, you will not be thrown to the wolves, and if you are, have a chat with the Instructor.

  2. Make all the mistakes! Stop trying to be a perfectionist! You will make mistakes and I encourage you to make all the mistakes you need to. If you have been contemplating on joining your local BJJ academy for some time, you probably looked up dozens of BJJ videos in preparation for your first class, amirite? I should also mention here that although you may have seen a cool UFC submission and "practiced" it on your buddy at home, don't try to re-teach your training partner anything because chances are, someone WILL get hurt. Make mistakes and ask all the questions until your technique makes sense.

  3. Focus on yourself It is very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. I've seen people enter the academy with a buddy and when their buddy advances in their BJJ, the other person will start to feel self-conscious of their own progression. Remember, everyone's body is different. No two people have the same abilities as the other. Your BJJ journey will be unique to YOU, so focus on what YOU can do within the limitations that YOU have.

  4. Consistency is key I speak from experience when I stress consistency. I took many breaks in my BJJ journey and every time I did, I came back to the mats only to be disappointed at my performance. You cannot expect to get better at BJJ if you don't commit to a consistent schedule. I can flash my purple belt all I want, but if I'm not consistently training, my belt means nothing and holds no weight. Training 2-3 days a week is ideal, however if that is not feasible for you, then consistently train once a week.

  5. Don't skip the warmup! Not only is it disrespectful to your Instructor and teammates who attend class on time, if you have no reason to be late then don't be late! Every time I skipped a warm up, I feel it later on during drill practice. Warm ups are designed to avoid injury so it's essential that anyone who is training attends the warm up!

  6. Chill out There is no reason for you to destroy your training partner. As a white belt, your job is to listen and obey. You are there to learn. You're not there to tap people out. As the saying goes, "position before submission", and if you don't even know the basic positions, you have no reason to slap on submissions that you only half know how to perform. I once rolled with a white belt who I could have pressed charges for attempted murder. There was no reason for this dude to go bat shit crazy on me, especially since it was only his second week on the mats. If you're a white belt, you are there to LEARN so chill out!

  7. Tap early, tap often I not only live by this, I also preach it to my students. If you're locked in a submission, then the only thing you should be doing is tap out. When you re-start your roll, you will learn how not to get stuck the second time around. Tapping is there to avoid injury so use it wisely!

  8. Leave your ego at the door I've had thousands of people walk in to my academy and the number one thing I hear from bigger dudes is that they learned to lower their ego. It is very inspiring to hear this from people as it not only shows their humility, but it shows the true essence of a martial artist. One of the most influential BJJ coaches I am blessed to work with is much smaller than I. I've seen him control people twice his size. One roll with this guy and you will instantly shed the built up ego. As I've stated earlier in this post, your job as a white belt is to LEARN, and learning requires you to put your egotistical opinions aside.

  9. Focus on the basics I know it's super cool to see flying arm bars and flying triangles, but the basics is where it's at. At Affinity we have our white belts start off by focusing on the fundamentals of BJJ for the first few months until they understand how to transition and escape each fundamental technique. You can't run until you learn how to walk.

  10. Listen to your coach! One of my biggest pet-peeves is when I see people in the corner of my eye doing techniques that the coach or instructor did not teach. It's not the time to teach your training partner the technique your black belt cousin in LA showed you at your annual family reunion. Leave that for an open mat session. If the coach is making you do basic arm bar drills, your job is to listen and obey. Of course if your coach is being unreasonable, then be sure to bring concerns to the attention of the head coach; however, you should only be drilling techniques that your coach is teaching, even if you THINK you already know it well. Remember, you are there to LEARN.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Zenab! I hope you enjoy reading about my musings in the world of entrepreneurship as I navigate reaching my Jiu Jitsu goals while helping other women achieve theirs. 

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