Welcome to the wonderful world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). We hope you stay on your journey for years, become truly good at it, make life long friends, and find a fun way to stay fit.
You may find that your first three to six months are the toughest period of your BJJ journey. In order to reap the benefits, however, you must make it past this initial stage. For this reason, we wanted to give you some advice on how to make it past your first six months:
Your instructor will show you a few basic techniques in each class. To observe attentively is to remember distinctly.
Drilling is better than training
While live sparring is important to learning a technique, drilling a technique with little or partial resistance is more important. You may use a bump-and-roll three times in a six minute training session, but drilling a bump-and-roll 30 times in six minutes is better for you.
Tensing up is a fight or flight reaction, and you can’t use technique effectively when in fight or flight mode. Many students just starting BJJ need indicators that they are tense, and the best one is your ability to breath. If you’re feeling out of breath it’s likely because you’re tense.
Muscle is finite; BJJ is infinite
You will undoubtedly train with other white belts who are smaller and weaker than you, and you will be tempted to smash them with strength. But don’t. If you rely only on technique against smaller people – you will be able to use technique against folks your own size as well.
Use only what you’ve learned in class
Stick to techniques you’ve learned in class for at least six months, before attempting anything you’ve seen on YouTube or other media.
Prepare to be challenged
Unless you were a hardcore athlete in school, BJJ will push your body harder and take it farther than you ever thought possible. This great martial art will also challenge you mentally and emotionally. You will experience times of doubts, but life and BJJ are about breaking past the doubt.
Tap and avoid injuries
Every injury you avoid means additional weeks or months on the mat. So tap early, tap often and stretch. Call it quits when you just can’t go any further.
Be a good training partner
Practice good hygiene, trim your nails, don’t train while sick or with a skin infection. And, most importantly, don’t use illegal techniques (slams, neck cranks, and many other techniques are illegal).
Keep it clean
Shower after practice; wash your gi; wear flip flops when you walk off the mat and especially in the restroom or locker room.
Embarrassment is fickle
You won’t embarrass yourself by asking how to tie your belt; asking to see a technique again; being tapped by a woman; or asking a higher belt how she tapped you.
If you make it through your first six months, then you could be the future of BJJ. We hope you have a long and successful BJJ journey with only a few injuries.
When tying your belt
Tie your belt so that the rank patch is to your left, because traditionally it’s where the Samurai placed their sword.
In addition to the belt system, stripes are awarded as a form of intra-belt recognition of progress and skill. The cumulative number of stripes earned serves as an indication of the student’s skill level relative to others within the same belt rank.
Oss! [ You’ll hear it often during class, what does it mean? ]
It’s a term derived from Japanese martial arts, dating back to the Samurai. The name OSS is short for Oshi Shinobu. The first character “Oshi” means “to push,” and the second character “Shinobu” means “to endure.” Together they symbolize the importance of pushing, striving and persevering.