My teammate and friend (Julius Park) asked me to write down a few things that I wish I’d known when I was a white belt starting out in BJJ and though I’ve been training for almost 14 years, I had to think about what key things to write because they’re so much I wish I would’ve known.
So, here’s my “short list” of The Wise Grappler’s “I wish I would’ve known…”
- 90% of the folks that you start with at white belt will never make it to black belt.
- You will be one of those 90 percent that never reaches black belt unless you really want it.
- Injury is 100 percent guaranteed at each belt level.
- Family members will try to talk you into quitting after each injury, especially if surgery is required. and if you really don’t want to be a black belt, their comments will make sense and you will quit.
- Listen to your body and rest when you’re hurt. BJJ is a marathon race, not a sprint.
- There’s a thin line between being hurt and injured. Don’t ignore the warning signs.
- BJJ is ALL EGO, regardless of the old “leave your ego at the door” mantra.
- Keep a flower pot at the office large enough to soak my sore wrists, hands and elbows during the day.
- Never train hard without a good warm-up first. if you’re intentionally skipping warm-ups so you can save energy for your matches, you’re going to pay for it someday.
- Do not listen to training advice from other white belts over my instructor.
- Everyone online sounds smarter and better equipped to teach you than your instructor.
- Too much bjj info (e.g. DVDs, books, magazines, etc.) is just as bad as not enough bjj info.
- Good grapplers are training, not spending all day posting about who’s the best grappler or where they train.
- If you don’t have training goals in the beginning, someone will give you their agenda for what they want you to be and you may not like it.
- The grappler that thinks “drilling is a waste of time” will be an average grappler at best.
- You don’t have to be at the gym to train.
- Competitions will reveal all your bad habits that you can either hide or ignore in the gym.
- Start learning takedowns as a white belt. that way, you won’t be a blue/purple/brown belt that can only jump guard or butt scoot.
- The paintbrush and every other basic technique that you think is useless will work if you take time to learn how to set them up and execute them correctly.
- If you have to think about doing a technique, you don’t know it.
- Drill at least 10-15 mins after class every day on the technique you just learned to help reinforce it in your muscle memory.
- Trust your coach to build you as a grappler, not strangers that you only talk to online.
- White belts don’t have a style, regardless of what they think.
- Never let anyone intimidate you on the mat.
- Remember to breathe when sparring. if you run out of gas too quickly every time you roll, you’re probably holding your breath.
- Never be afraid to tap with a partner, it’s really not that important
I’m sure that I could’ve gone on forever, but I have to get up in the morning! Meditate on these “wise grappling” tips and feel free to send me your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the opportunity to share my experience, Julius. Ayyyy!!!
Dedicated to improving your mat experience!
Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)