It’s not easy being a white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Well, it isn’t going to be easy at the beginning of anything, really. To all the BJJ white belts who have been training for some time now, know that you’re not alone when it comes to your obstacles!
1. Using strength instead of technique to overcome opponents
At some point, you might have encountered that one training partner who was able to use strength against you – and succeed. Perhaps this might have led you to believe that BJJ is about strength. But the thing is, BJJ is actually designed to help smaller people overcome bigger, stronger opponents by using technique and leverage.
So if you’ve been working on your strength instead of technique, it’s time to shift your focus!
2. Getting submitted faster than you can say “Americana”
It’s normal to roll with partners who can execute their moves and submissions very swiftly and smoothly. The result? You end up having to tap out before you can even react in time. This might cause you to doubt your ability and get disheartened, but before you throw in the towel, it helps to remember that every BJJ practitioner has gone through this. Fortunately, you can always talk to your partners or higher belts and find out what went wrong – so that you can learn from your mistakes and make the most of every roll.
3. Feeling like you don’t deserve that new stripe
Whether it’s your first or fourth stripe, you might be surprised to get it. And you may even feel like you don’t deserve it because you think that you’re not performing well enough on the mats. Well, one thing you need to understand is that promotions aren’t solely based on your skills. Your professor will also assess you based on mental toughness, character, consistency, as well as your personal progress. So don’t doubt any of your stripes! After all, everyone’s journey is unique, and we should learn and progress at our own pace.
4. Watching some of your peers advancing faster despite starting at the same time as you
As mentioned everyone progresses at a different pace. Hence, it’s normal to notice that some of your training buddies who started at the same time as you are getting ahead at a much faster rate. The thing is, you shouldn’t make it a competition and constantly compare yourself to them – because this won’t do you any good, and worse, might end up making you feel more disheartened than ever. Instead of beating yourself up, why not work on your weaknesses so that they eventually become strengths?
5. Struggling to understand a technique and just sitting there with your partner
This pretty much happens to everyone at some point. Yes, this includes black belts! After all, there are just so many different techniques and variations of those techniques to master. So don’t be too disheartened if you find yourself staring blankly at your partner because not every technique is going to come to you easily. The good news, however, is that you will eventually get it – as long as you don’t give up and keep drilling. Whenever you find that you don’t understand what your instructor just demonstrated, don’t hesitate to ask him or her to break it down and explain it to you.