Things Every BJJ Practitioner Needs To Know

  1. Find the RIGHT Academy. Firstly, make sure the teacher knows what he is talking about (do a little research on his students – not his own credentials). Secondly, visit the school to see if the atmosphere is what you are looking for.
  2. Learn the FUNDAMENTALS. Techniques like mount escapes are not glamorous but are the basic movement from White to Black Belt.You have to learn the fundamentals sooner or later so you might as well learn them sooner.
  3. What you do outside the Academy and Class plays as much of a role in your progress as what happens inside it. Live a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Never believe a move won’t work on you just because another belt can’t do it on you. For example bigger of the same belt partners often disregard triangles because they don’t have a person large enough and technical enough to do it on them. When they finally meet that technical big guy, its an eye-opener.
  5. Gi and No-gi compliment each other. If your goal is to become a better grappler, then you should do both. It’s all about learning to manipulate the human body (yours and theirs).
  6. Don’t make stylistic choices at White Belt. Do what works for you and create your style around it.
  7. Learn Jiu-Jitsu, not just how to defend it.
  8. Learn how to defend, you need it more than you know!
  9. Friends close, enemies closer and elbows closest!!
  10. If you train more than twice a week, buy more than 1 gi!
  11. At the beginning your body will hurt. A lot. It will get better over time.
  12. You will be sore a lot of the time. It goes away but not if you take a break every time it happens.
  13. Train consistently. A steady routine is better than going all in from the get go. A sudden switch on or off means your body will give you a reckoning the likes of an apocalypse.
  14. Don’t roll or hold submission too long. If you roll like its the end of the Universe or hold a submission a nano-second too long, you will run out of training partners in a blink of an eye AND the only people who will want to roll with you, will be there to teach you a lesson.
  15. Learn to RELAX. The benefits of relaxing go beyond being winded. You need to relax and be calm to perceive what is going on around you and to break it down and to learn from it.
  16. Learn a little but each day. If you focus on learning everything at once, you won’t learn anything.
  17. Recognise positions. Do some research on what the names for the body positions and movements are. Be calm enough to recognise them when they occur. You can fix your weak areas once you identify them by knowing their names too. So you need to recognise them first.
  18. If a movement or technique seems too hard or requires too much effort, you are probably doing it wrong.
  19. Don’t resist the moves you are drilling. You and your partner need to learn the moves before you can add resistance and reflexive training.
  20. Not every technique you learn or practice has to be 100% directly applicable to be valuable.
  21. White Belt matches are different from Blue matches are different from Purple matches and so on. Just because you don’t see something happen at one belt doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Conversely just because something works at one level, doesn’t mean it will work at other levels.
  22. Knowing and applying are different. Knowing a lot of Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t mean you can do it (unless you know it because you can do it). You can learn or get to know black belt level Jiu-Jitsu in just a few months, doesn’t mean you can pull it off.
  23. You are going to be clumsy executing a new technique. That is normal! Applying it correctly at faster and faster speeds, is the result of drilling.
  24. Try. Try again. Try again. Effort and technique are not enemies. Anyone can pull off beautiful technique in a non-stressful slow-moving situation. Beautiful technique in a split seconds against a larger, faster, stronger and resisting opponent is a whole different world.
  25. Learn takedowns. It will help in competitions and especially at the higher levels.
  26. After a few months of training you will have an “A” game and a “B” game. Don’t worry when in the beginning even your “A” game is not very good or fleshed out in detail. It comes with time.
  27. To truly improve, you have to improve your strengths and even your weaknesses. Your strengths against better practitioners and your weaknesses against lower belts. Don’t ever use your best strengths against people worse than you.
  28. Tap if you need to. Resist too long and you will get injured, that will be your fault, not your teacher’s or partner’s.
  29. A Black belt is a white belt who never quit. Everyone starts by getting tapped out. A LOT!
  30. Don’t keep a Tap Count. (It is the most effective way to get discouraged).
  31. Leave your ego at the door. Keep an open and learning attitude at all times. Meaning focus on future development even if it means you lost position or get submitted. It does not mean don’t try to win. 🙂
  32. Don’t brag or celebratoue about tapping someone (it discourages them). Act like you have been there before, be cool, calm and collected.
  33. Don’t worry about belts. Worry about skill development.
  34. Save the coaching and teaching for upper belts. (Unless you have been asked to teach someone lower in belt or experience than you).
  35. If you are rolling with higher belts, ask questions AFTER your roll not during it.
  36. Grips, learn how to strip them, retain them and how to work them. Gi and No-gi.
  37. Jiu Jitsu is all about posture. Learn to achieve it, maintain it and break it down. Its fundamentals, the sooner you learn them, the better.
  38. Use your open mat time effectively. Don’t sit on the side chatting. Grab a partner and roll. Mat time is money, don’t waste it!
  39. Don’t get disheartened when a fellow you started with, gets graded before you. It might be that he can make more classes than you, have a history of grappling, or just have better natural ability. Don’t stress, enjoy being a white belt (less responsibility).
  40. Don’t limit your self by body type before you actually learn the system.
  41. The details are important, but focus on big things first. You need to learn big movements first and then you can focus on the nuances.
  42. Good Jiu-Jitsu techniques exist whether you are on the offensive or defensive, winning or losing. You should work on improving those positions.
  43. Don’t hero worship higher belts. Fight the position and technique, not the person’s reputation.
  44. What seems like a blur of indiscernible action (SCRAMBLE), can be broken down in to it s components once you can perceive the situation clearly. You can become a better scrambler.
  45. Throughout your Jiu Jitsu journey you will have periods where you think you know what is going on. YOU DON’T. There is always more to learn.
  46. The goal is black belt not blue belt. Keep short term and long term goals in perspective.
  47. Good instructors have a method to their madness. Just because you cant see it, it doesn’t mean it is not there. How do you know an instructor is good? Look at his students.
  48. Learn underhooks and overhooks, they are the basis of halfguards.
  49. Learn “complicated” seeming techniques like Triangle. They may seem complex to beginners, but are quite simple. You need to learn them; sooner the better.
  50. Learn how to keep in base in guard and how to open guard. Most students find this boring but it is one of the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of BJJ.
  51. Escapes from submissions and positions are low percentage. The best escape artist in the world will not escape 100% of the time against comparable opponents. With escapes you are looking to go from 5% chance of escape to 10%.
  52. Being in the right position solves more problems than having good escapes. Being in the right position also creates more offence than exploding.
  53. Extended arms are broken arms.
  54. The best time to escape or score is before the person settles in to their position or hold. Resist until they are forced to move, and utilise that transition time to better your own position.
  55. Learn the IBJJF scoring system, you need to know the rules of the “sport” you participate in.
  56. Ask questions. Most instructors like students who are genuinely curious and interested in learning.
  57. Understand the WHY and the context behind why people/instructors do certain things.
  58. Imitation is the name of the game. Don’t re-invent the wheel, learn your coaches recipe, then add your flavour.
  59. Study out side the class, but be clear as to who is your #1 authoritative coach: the one in class giving you live training or Youtube. Preferably, the one giving you live training.
  60. There is always going to be a SUPER GOOD guy. Train with him a lot. You need to learn to deal with different body types.
  61. There is always going to be a SUPER BAD guy, train with him a lot too. Don’t underestimate him, he might smash you in a few months.
  62. Keep a notebook. Not for recall but for reflection and improvement. Putting Jiu Jitsu in to words is so difficult, it forces you to think about it differently.
  63. Physical conditioning will allow you to train and focus with a clear mind. You will be able to focus and perceive movements easily allowing you to improve your game quickly.
  64. Some practices are nose-to-grindstone, others are technique and concept. Don’t skimp on either (practice), they are equally useful.
  65. Compete! (At least once)  There will never be a perfect time to compete; you will always be busy and slightly injured.
  66. Competing will teach you a lot about your Jiu-jitsu, mindset, physical conditioning. People who compete regularly usually improve more quickly. Your Jiu Jitsu can leap frog by up to 6 months at a time when you train to compete.
  67. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast! Every new technique or movement you learn, execute it slowly, then smoothly. The smoother your movement becomes, the faster it will be. But you need to start out slow and will inevitably be in start-stop motion, don’t worry speed comes with the smooth muscle memory that comes with time.
  68. Be punctual! If you intend to train then no matter how you feel get up, dress up and show up on time! Utilise the entire session, don’t waste it!

This blog has been taken from written by Syed Momin Zaidi.



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