Everyone begins their Jiu-Jitsu journey in the same place: as a white belt. It’s our job to ensure that every white belt has a positive experience that teaches them as much about self-defense and fitness as it does about themselves. Even so, there is still a lot that students can do to enhance their experience and make sure they give themselves every advantage as a new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) student. Whether you are training to become a famous UFC fighter or just want to learn self-defense, Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brings world-class training to Ahwatukee – and here are our favorite ways to maximize your training.
The greatest thing you can do to improve as a BJJ student is to train consistently. Attend class regularly, practice your techniques at home, and supplement it all with cardio or strength training at home. This helps you build the knowledge needed for a healthy foundation. Once you have the basics mastered, it will be much easier to learn more advanced moves later on.
The key to consistent practice is to avoid injury! Stretch before and after every class so you can protect your muscles and prevent tears. Many students combine yoga with their Jiu-Jitsu training because of yoga’s restorative benefits. It teaches students to focus and to push their bodies in an ergonomic way.
Just Keep Moving
Not everything you do on the mat will be a technique. Sometimes, it’s helpful just to keep moving and shifting around until you can do a technique that gets you into a better position. Give yourself plenty of breathing room when you spar. Wiggle around a bit or push against your opponent so you can get into the right position to perform a technique.
Skill > Strength
Most beginners make the mistake of thinking that strength or speed will help them on the mat. These things are nice to have, but ultimately, it’s skill and technique that will help you win a match.
Use opponent’s momentum against them to throw them off balance and win the match!
Focus on Escapes
Mastering escapes quickly will help give you a competitive edge. The most common things to escape from in BJJ are:
- Side control
- Back mount
- Passing guard
Focus on submissions after you have mastered escapes. Strategically speaking, you are more likely to use your escapes than your submissions during a toll. Submissions also require you to be in the top position to use them, which isn’t necessarily easy to learn as a beginner.
Practicing technique is great, but real improvement comes with rolling as often as possible. Take every opportunity to spar with your classmates and stay late to get more practice, if you can. This is where you can use real-world techniques to gain an edge over the competition.
Your life outside of Gracie Barra impacts your life inside our doors. If you’re stressed about a situation at work or feeling bad after an unhealthy meal, it’s not likely you will perform your best on the mat. Practice making healthy choices on a daily basis and find ways to reduce the stress in your life so you can be 100 percent focused during class.
Reputation Does Not Matter
It might be intimidating to roll with a higher belt but remember that there is something to learn from everyone. Ultimately, you are not fighting the person or the belt: you are fighting the techniques. Learn to defend yourself and escape from the most common positions. Only then can you work on your technique and improve your skills.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
At Gracie Barra, we are all students. We might be at different parts of our journey into Jiu-Jitsu, but we ultimately walk to same path. Treat your fellow students with respect and listen if someone with more experience offers advice. Try not to take corrections personally; everyone here wants you to succeed and we are excited to see you progress!
Trust Your Instructor
Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean that it’s not there. It’s okay to ask questions. In fact, we encourage it! Every student should have the opportunity to learn more about the logic behind each technique. Some things can be a little difficult to explain, though. There is a method to your instructor’s madness, so for now: just trust them. Understanding will come with experience.
Your white belt is the first step in a very important journey. With persistence and dedication, you can grow through the ranks like many students before you. Claim your first class free to get started!