Top 7 White Belt BJJ Mistakes

Top 7 White Belt BJJ Mistakes

BJJ is a sport that requires a lot of experience and training for mastering the skill. Jiu-jitsu can be a confusing and frustrating sport for beginners if you are not under the right guidance.

When white belts start BJJ, they have an aim of switching their belt to black ASAP. In any kind of sport, you make mistakes when starting as a beginner.

But, BJJ is one of those sports where you won’t realize what mistake you are making until someone else is there to guide you.

Beginners always feel that their every attack and defensive move is up to the mark of perfection.

Well, here are some top white belt BJJ mistakes, which you should avoid and how you can fix them.

It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

As a white belt in BJJ, you will often find yourself frustrated and discouraged every time you are tapped out despite trying too hard.

You might be giving your best and putting in the right effort but it’s not enough if you don’t know what mistakes you are making.

Making mistakes is a part of the journey, BJJ is a sport where even professionals can end up making big mistakes.

Remember that there is always an area of improvement for every jiu-jitsu practitioner.

It’s important to learn from your mistakes and find ways to fix them for the next time. In any kind of sport, remember the 3F’s principle

Fix: Whatever you did wrong, try to fix it for the next time. Find your mistakes and methods you can use to avoid doing them again. Forget: It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake and are tapped out. Always remember to keep positive thoughts in your mind.

Learn what the mistake taught you and forget the defeat, there is no point in dwelling on your mistakes.

Focus: Focus on the fixes you learned from the mistake. Get back on track, think of your goal and continue the training.

In jiu-jitsu, there are countless ways of executing the same technique. Everyone has their own methods for submissions and escapes.

You need to find out what methods are suitable for you and what are your strong techniques.

Making mistakes is not always wrong in jiu-jitsu, you can make calculated mistakes for your own advantage.

It’s true that as a beginner you are bound to make mistakes but, what makes a difference is how efficiently you learn how to fix a mistake.

Common Beginner BJJ Mistakes

Here are some of the most common white belt BJJ mistakes. Make sure to check out the fixes for them so that you can avoid doing them in the future.

Not Checking on Injuries

As a beginner, you haven’t developed the endurance and muscle strength to withstand falls and chokes.

BJJ is a tough sport and requires a strong body. It’s okay to face small injuries as a beginner, but the problem arises when you don’t take care of small problems and end up getting bigger problems.

Don’t try to push hard on yourself if you are facing injuries, remember to keep a check on your injuries, and don’t neglect pain by thinking that it will pass with time.

If you don’t take good care of small injuries, you will end up making them worse and not being able to practice jiu-jitsu.

We are sure that you will never want to take a break from BJJ to recover from injuries. So, remember to treat your injuries immediately.


Notice any swelling or pain in the body after every training and fight. Schedule monthly appointments with a physiotherapist, one quick check could help you in avoiding many big problems.

You can also see a chiropractor after every 3 months; it will help in improving your performance.

Not Focusing on Your Centre of Gravity

Maintaining the center of gravity is very important in jiu-jitsu. For grappling the opponent or self-defense, you should be standing with your center of gravity just in the middle.

Beginners make the mistake of leaning too forward or backward while training. As long as your body is within the center of balance, then you are strongest in all directions.

If your body is not within the center of balance, then you are most likely to fall if you fail to adjust your base.

Let’s take an example of the guard position here. If you are leaning too forward your opponent can throw you easily.

Similarly, if you are leaning too much in the backward direction you can easily get swept.

Although there are some situations in BJJ where you can lean forward or backward, a strong grappling base is always needed.


Practice balance exercises. There are plenty of balancing exercises such as standing on one leg without support, side leg raises, walking heel to toe, and a lot more.

Practicing Attacks Rather Than Defense

Yeah, trying to submit your opponent and learning new sweeps is exciting and cool. But, as a white belt in BJJ, you should learn how to defend properly.

You might have heard a common term in BJJ that goes as ‘you are either a hammer or the nail’

As a beginner, you don’t know much and there are a lot of BJJ experts out there so, unfortunately, you are the nail.

To protect yourself from submission and win a fight, you need to focus on improving your defensive techniques.

Learn how to escape mounts and how to defend yourself from going into the armbar. Never focus just on submitting your opponent rather you should also know how to defend yourself.


Practice different techniques of sweeps, side control escapes, and guard escapes.

Don’t get carried away by emotions during sparring and attack aggressively, always keep calm and learn to defend yourself.

Read More: Top 5 Sweeps in BJJ

Pushing to Escape Mount or Guard

As a beginner when you are mounted by your opponent, it’s a reflex action to push them off with your arms.

But as you extend your arms to push the opponent away, you are just giving them the opportunity of armbar.

Even if they couldn’t submit you through mount or guard, they can easily do it through an armbar.

The more your arms are away from your body, the weaker they are. Try experimenting with this by holding something heavy.

When your elbows are near your body you have more strength to hold something but when they are away, you can’t hold it firmly.

By keeping your arms away from your body, you make yourself exposed to all kinds of attacks.


You have to practice different techniques for escaping mount. Some of them are given below

Trap and Roll Escape

  • Grab that arm of your opponent to which side you want to sweep him.
  • Grab the wrist of the same hand of the opponent with your other hand tucking it in your chest.
  • On the same side of the trapped arm, trap the leg of the opponent.
  • Lift your hips and roll your body in the direction of the opponent’s trapped side.

Hydraulic Escape

  • Tuck your elbows in to block your opponent coming up into the high mount.
  • Bend both your knees with feet flat on the ground, one foot should be outside their leg.
  • Bridge with your outside leg and give them a hit with the thigh of your central leg. This will send their weight forward.
  • Bridge hard with both your legs, extend your arms straight, and push the opponent with your legs.

Crossing Your Feet in Back Attack

The back control or rear mount is one of the most dominant positions for submission in grappling.

If done properly, your opponent will not have the ability to strike you back.

Let’s imagine that after practicing regularly and perfecting the rear mount you have finally secured back control against your opponent.

The worst mistake beginners make after securing a rear mount is that they cross their feet against the body of the opponent.

Crossing your feet against the opponent might give you a feeling that you are in control but, an experienced opponent can easily apply a foot lock by crossing their ankles against yours.

A leg lock could be very painful and you will be forced to release the rear mount.


Keep your legs straight and away from the body of the opponent in the rear mount.

Trying to Choke from Bottom of Mount

Get it straight, you are not an expert BJJ practitioner. Doing such techniques requires a lot of strength and practice.

After seeing some videos of cross-collar choke on the internet or seeing some experts in your class, you might also try to choke your opponent from the bottom of the mount.

But unfortunately, you will only end up getting your arms locked if you try to do that.

Another mistake beginners make while their opponent tries to choke them is to grab their fingers and twist.

This mistake is against BJJ rules and can get you disqualified.


Practice techniques to escape from mount and counter-attack. Some of these techniques are:

  • Knee to elbow
  • Upa escape
  • Pushing on hips

Not Tapping Soon

The beginners think that they can get out of submission by trying harder and they should not give up by tapping out.

The reason is that beginners don’t understand the limitations of their own bodies. Do you think it’s better to tap out when your shoulder is being twisted or you are happy with breaking it?

Many students also make the mistake of measuring their progress by how long they can resist after being caught in a submission.


As soon as you realize that you can’t escape a submission, tap out. There are other ways to measure your progress rather than holding onto a submission.

Advice for White Belts

Being a beginner in BJJ is difficult and motivating at the same time. As a beginner, you want to become an expert in professional submissions and try out new techniques.

But, all of this requires time and training. You could have a difficult time while training and tapping out a lot frequently.

These are some tips to help you get the most out of your beginner journey. If you want to step into the gym with a boom then click here to shop some killer Gi’s 


Everyone starts from somewhere. It doesn’t matter when you see professionals trying out some killer techniques which you couldn’t even think of.

As a beginner, it’s easy to lose the motivation for training after experiencing the pain and discomfort.

Training consistently with full dedication is very important if you want to switch your white belt with a black one.

Every new class is an opportunity to learn something more and develop your skills. Don’t expect to get fast results, train consistently and you will see the gradual development of your skills.

Don’t neglect recovery during your training. Make sure to plan out weekly training regimens and rest days according to your comfortability.

Mastering Escapes

As a beginner, you need to perfect the skills of escaping from a submission. When you have confidence in your escapes, it will give you the freedom of attack.

Try to practice those movements which are energy efficient. The more explosive movements you will try for escaping submissions, the more physically taxing it would be.

There is no doubt that practicing submission techniques is more exciting than practicing escapes. But, as a white belt when you try to submit your opponent he can easily use it as a counter-attack.

Taking Care of Ego and Emotions

You are not practicing BJJ to prove your strength. If you can’t leave your ego at the door of class then you can’t ever become good at BJJ.

You should accept that you are a beginner, the other people are more experienced and certainly better than you.

Remember that you are here to learn. Without the right experience and skills, you can’t be an expert.

No one is born an expert naturally. Even the professional BJJ legends that you follow were once beginners.

Don’t get carried away by your emotions. Especially when caught up in a submission, you will get angry and frustrated.

These emotions could force you to make a mistake and your competitor would take it as an advantage.

Trusting the Instructor

The person training you might have more years of experience than your age. You might find it boring when your instructor tells you to do the same drill again and again.

But, you should always trust your instructor that whatever he is telling you to do is for your benefit.

Ask questions from the instructor and senior belt fellows. Learn from their techniques but don’t try to be over-smart by doing what you feel is right.

Find a good gym, one that has a friendly and supportive environment for beginners.  Try to train with those instructors who have a black belt.

Skills vs. Strength in BJJ

Jiu-jitsu is a sport that emphasizes developing effective skills rather than building strength.

There is no doubt that strength is really important in BJJ. If you don’t have muscle endurance you are more likely to face injuries.

Once you have learned the correct technique, it’s easier to complement it with your strength.

But, if you only rely on your strength and do not focus on developing skills then you can’t become an expert in BJJ.


No one is born an expert, it’s natural to make mistakes and learn from them to become better.

Beginners are caught up by the false idea of thinking they have learned everything just after the first few classes. That’s why white belt BJJ mistakes are common.

You should know that in BJJ there is always room for improvement even for the experts. So, you can never master your skills to perfection as a beginner.

Reading next

Beginner's Guide to BJJ: What It Is and Why Should You Start BJJ?
Stretch Workouts for BJJ: Flexibility for Beginners and Above

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