5 Signs You are a BJJ White Belt..

In BJJ, we (almost) always beat the new guys aka the white belt. Even though most modern gyms has abandoned that practice, some still does. We all know those ranked belt guys that has trained for awhile and everyone in the room consider them as the “experienced” one. Usually they will beat up the new guys/girls by choking them out.

Most of the new guys will then left, but few will stay. As a recent research found, this method only works well for a small minority of people. Also, those guys/girls with colored belts and stripes might not be that good in BJJ

Well that was quite a rambling, please forgive me.

In this article i want to share my experiences about bad techniques/mindset that new BJJ practitioners often do, and my tips on how to go through them faster

Hell, ranked belts should read this too because you might still be white belt according to Rickson Gracie

Here are some signs that you are still a white belt 

Holding Your Breath Too Long

Here are the situations where most white belts panic and hold breath for too long:
When drilling (obviously)
In the middle of a 3-4 steps technique
Holding your breath is a clear sign of a beginner in almost every martial arts discipline
One of the best skills you will ever learn in your life is to always breathe
Forgetting to do so will lead into your failure especially in a contact sport such as jiujitsu
It is indeed really strange that we can sometimes forget the basic needs for survival such as oxygen when we are concentrating 100% on something

Escaping Guards with Elbows

Any jiujitsu player worth their salt will tell you that they have experienced a time in their training life where they got out of the guard using their elbows (lol)
By driving your elbows into your sparring partners thighs while they have you trapped in close guard, you created a great level of discomfort for them. So much so that you can often succeed and making them to release the guard. But the harsh truth is, when you are grinding those bones into your training partner thighs, they have precious time of planning their attacks. When you grind your elbows into them, you generate a very powerful downward pressure that makes it simple for your opponent to grab your elbows and pull you in or even take you off base to one side. Once this is done and you do not have your posture anymore, you’re in a world of trouble

Using Your Upper Body

As a white belt, many new students constantly relying too much on their upper limbs as weapons. It takes me quite a long time to realize that i could use my legs, thighs, hips, and even my head in a way to control various parts of my opponent’s body. The more mat time you have, the more you feel like you’ve become an cat-like creature who has developed powerful and limber additional limbs.

Guard Puller

When in doubt, being flat on your back aka full guard is a disastrous thing. As a white belt, you will find yourself in that position very often no matter how strong you are. The sooner you begin to get to your side, the better your odds of survival will become. The earlier you learn to blade your shoulders by having your top shoulder closer to your opponent than the bottom shoulder, which creates a stronger foundation and makes you much more difficult to put on your back, the happier you will become.

Not Enough Drilling!

Over time, jiu jitsu will help you learn patience. But as a white belt, you will find yourself hungry and eager to move on to the next move and abandon the BJJ curriculum. It becomes easy to get frustrated after drilling a move a few times and having it not go smoothly, to say, this move won’t work for me. Instead of drilling the move for much longer and trying to smooth out your technique, when we’re white belts, we’re in a hurry to digest as much knowledge as we can get our little out of breath, over worked hands on.

For articles on how to drill techniques, check out this article from Fight Four Health

Developing in jiujitsu goes far beyond only learning move after move. Chewjitsu gives some insights on what white belts should be focusing on in this video:

So you might be a white belt and you might be holding your breath, using too much strength, grinding your elbows, or rushing from move to move–but so what? Is that a bad thing? Not at all. We’ve all been there in some way shape and form and some of us might still be dealing with some of these tendencies at blue belt and beyond. The important thing is that you focus on improving your own performance without comparing yourself so much to others. You’ve already received the greatest promotion you will ever have in jiu jitsu, that of the promotion from non practitioner to white belt. Hopefully, you can look at the journey and laugh and if you’re already well past the white belt stage, you can look back with fondness and remember your roots and continue to breath.


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