If you’ve clicked on this article, it most probably means you’ve just started BJJ (yay!), but are struggling with the journey (ahhh, it’ll be ok, we’ve got your back!). It is so common for newbies to feel like they suck and they are not getting good in anything. In fact, it feels worse. Here’s the good news and the bad news. We’ll do the bad news first…Yes, you do suck! The good news – that’s normal. You are not supposed to know a lot, in fact, you aren’t expected to know anything!
This is your turning point here, realising that you still suck even with 6 months under your belt. To put it into perspective, the average time it takes to achieve a black belt in BJJ is 10 years, depending on performance and also satisfying the applicable minimum performance time for each belt (e.g., the minimum time between blue to purple is 2 years). See IBJJF for more information on the graduation system.
Now that you’ve got a perspective on where you are in your BJJ journey, let’s look at some tips to help it suck less and make it more enjoyable.
Tips for surviving the first six months of Jiu-jitsu:
Check the ego at the door and enjoy the journey as it is yours and yours alone! Remember, BJJ is really just a bunch of people rolling around, and if you do gi, in PJ’s.
BJJ Survival FAQs
Not really, we exploit mechanical leverage, but having strength behind you, can’t hurt.
Because it is dynamic, and body mechanics dependent. Essentially lots of things happening at once.
One technique at a time. As there are many aspects to BJJ, focus on what it is you want to get good at, drill it and apply it to your rolls. When you become consistent in that technique, you get better.
This is time commitment dependent. Your training schedule should work for you, but anywhere between 2-5 times is great, including open mats. The main thing is to be sustainable and consistent.
Let your partner know you’re new, roll to work on a technique, take it slow and tap early.
We recommend higher belts- Purple, Brown and Black. As intimidating as it is, they have a higher level of control over their technique and power.
The best thing to do is ask at that moment. When advice is offered to you, just take it. Most partners want you to get better at your game, not bring you down!
Yes, if you actually want to improve. Sparring is learning. You have the opportunity to apply the techniques learnt
Yes! If you have time in your schedule, consistent weight training supports an increase in strength and prevents injuries.
Not necessarily, rolling is your cardio. Unless you’re a high-level athlete or have other specific goals, you do not need a dedicated cardio session.
Frames, body position, conserving energy, keeping your ego in check and absorbing information like a sponge.
Anything but not ears, individual fingers/ toes, sensitive/ personal areas (e.g., eyes, groin region)
If you are doing Gi, you will need a set of gi, if you haven’t got one, there are usually a couple of sets that you may borrow at the gym. If you are doing No-gi, a sports tee and shorts (no buttons or embellishments) will work just fine. When you’re ready to commit, get a rashguard and MMA shorts or leggings)
Water bottle, towel, mouthguard and soft braces (if needed to protect old injuries)
A post-training meal prioritising protein and carbohydrates. Don’t forget to replenish fluids too!
All the supplements in the world will be to waste if you aren’t doing the recovery trinity- Refuel, reduce (stress) and rest. Try that first unless recommended otherwise by your healthcare professional
International Brazillian Jiu-jitsu Federation. (n.d.). IBJJF graduation system. IBJJF. Retrieved July 17, 2022, from https://ibjjf.com/graduation-system
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