Ways to be a Great Jiu-Jitsu Student

Ways to be a Great Jiu-Jitsu Student

Like other combat sports, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was also created for the primary purpose of self-defense. With time, along with other defensive arts, BJJ also evolved into a combat sport. Now BJJ is one of the most popular defensive grappling martial arts in the US and Brazil.

Various legends who earned a name in grappling opened their academies in the US. Now there are BJJ academies in almost every country. Practitioners who wanted to join BJJ as a profession or to learn self-defense joined those academies.

Although many BJJ practitioners enroll in White Belt, not all of them continue to progress and earn a big name in BJJ tournaments. Students who are dedicated and ambitious about their BJJ career can attain the rank they wanted with passion, consistency, and hard work. Athletic and persistent students can learn BJJ more efficiently. Here we have discussed some ways to become a great Jiu-Jitsu student.

1. Be Ready to Learn

BJJ is not just a physical game, this is more of a mental struggle. When you come to the gym, be prepared to be challenged both physically and mentally. Leave your comfort zone and try to become more familiar with uncomfortable situations.

Anyone who is mentally ready and physically prepared to learn new things can master new techniques more efficiently and effectively. Refrain from coming into the gym with sleepy eyes and dizziness. Be active and attentive to what your coach wants to teach you and hear every single word and pay maximum attention to basics.

The main reason why most BJJ White Belt quit is that the technical approach of BJJ is altogether different from other martial arts.

“Most martial arts focus on building strength and speed which can be achieved with rigorous training and consistent repetitive drills. Whereas BJJ is 80% technique, awareness of human anatomy, and joint system. BJJ revolves around techniques but physical power and body conditioning are relevant.”

If you come with dizziness, this will be difficult for you to follow the techniques instructed by your coach. A well-prepared mind accepts and captures every piece of information and hardly misses something worthwhile for training.

Learning is a lifelong process that never stops. Doesn’t matter if you are a Blue Belt or a Black Belt you must constantly rekindle the spark of learning, growth and your personal interest in BJJ otherwise you are going to leave BJJ. As one of the legendary BJJ coach John Danahar said, “White Belts get fed up because of the difficulty of basic techniques and Black Belts become passive because being proficient in almost every technique, move, and submission.”

So if you are a novice learner, focus on basics, do not get frustrated if you have to drill basic moves every single day, for weeks or even months. But being a Black Belt requires more dynamic and engaging goals and approaches like preparing to defeat some contemporary rivals and to become a better version of yourself.

2. Consistency is the Key

To be a good BJJ student at the gym, just training is not enough. Consistency in your training schedule is also very crucial. The human body adopts the way you wanted it to be. If you appear in the gym without any proper schedule, your body and mind struggle to adapt and also get tired easily.

If you appear without pre-workout or as a recreational activity, it will be difficult for you to be consistent with your training in the long run. Students with a proper training and drilling schedule can stick to their routine more regularly and become more efficient in less time. It is all about sticking to the learning regime, especially for the initial few months or even years.

BJJ training is an intensely engaging task for every belt-level. But it is more difficult for White Belts as they just started training and their mind and body are not very used to the techniques of BJJ. For them, consistency is a big problem as most students quit at the white belt level.

At the Blue Belt level, motivation is at a higher level and their Belt upgradation makes them more confident and consistent. Among Black Belt students, only those remain consistent who remain active BJJ practitioners. So if you are a white belt or black belt, remember you have to remain consistent and active in terms of training, goals, the company at the dojo, and keeping your enthusiasm alive.

3. Respect Your Instructor

The basic rule for learning is to always respect your teacher or instructor. If a student is respectful to his/her instructor, he will follow the instructions properly and end up as a great novice BJJ fighter.

“Be mindful of the fact that surviving the initial year is the hardest as far as the BJJ training is concerned. Try to stick to the disciplined routine because motivation will surely wither.”

The student who is unable to stick to the routine will hardly perceive the basics and often ends up quitting. Novice BJJ practitioners must find the sublime archaic ideology behind the inception of BJJ to kindle the light of motivation and purpose which is a prerequisite for becoming the ideal BJJ student.

4. Do Not be Afraid to Fail

Students who are afraid to fail can hardly become good students as they will not try due to fear of loss. Everything has to be done for the first time. Win or loss is part of every game. A person who loses will learn something from his loss.

“Do not avoid attempts due to fear of failure.”

At the white belt level, students mostly find things harder as they are trying to understand those techniques for the first time. So reluctant to perform in front of their instructor or with their fellows. As they are afraid that they cannot perform those techniques well enough.

With time, consistency, training, and muscle memory, the confidence level of students boosts up and they know if they try, they will definitely perform that move or technique. Black Belts have developed natural flexes and are confident and self-assured that they even perform various complex techniques like BJJ twister choke.

No matter which level you are, you must believe in yourself, every Black Belt is a White Belt first. But never be too self-possessed. You need a teacher and instructions at every level.

5. Helpful to Others

One of the most important elements a good student owns is that he is helpful to other students. Helping other students will also help you to figure out the minor hidden but essential details about the basics of BJJ techniques. A BJJ student knows very well that helping others in their training will open a lot of new ways for both practitioners.

The feedback you give or receive from your partner helps you and your partner to overcome little hurdles. But remember, you are helping others to improve your skills. Keep your training session and drilling regularly consistent. You should not compromise on your own training schedule.

White Belts are the beginners and they cannot help their fellows. They are particularly focused on their training and future goals as they prioritize their training. It is the responsibility of all blue and brown belts to guide, and tolerate the beginners, and roll/train with them as the whole ideology of BJJ depends on the brotherhood and caring environment of the dojo.

Brown and Black Belts are the students who are familiar with almost every technique and they know every situation from which a BJJ student passes. So they must help their juniors as helping others will also help them to make their move more efficient.

6. Should Know the Goal and Threat of Every Technique

When you are learning some techniques from your coach, make sure you understand the goal and the step-by-step application and defense of each technique. As every technique has an offense and defense. If you understand the purpose of the technique, it will be easy for you to execute it on your opponent.

Every technique also has a weak point. When you apply that technique, your opponent can overcome you in one way or another. Always focus on the defensive mode of every technique while learning.

Some students just focus on the techniques and do not take an interest in their offense and defense. Memorizing the technique without being aware of its purpose and defense is just a short-term formality. You cannot apply that technique effectively in real competitions with well-trained opponents.

This is the basic requirement for every BJJ student that they must understand the basic purpose and defense of every technique. But for the white belts, it is most crucial. Students who just started BJJ training are white belts so white belts are the learner of basic and fundamental techniques.

Their main focus is defense rather than submission techniques. They must know what are the right timings and positions of the technique and how they should be careful while applying the techniques. Higher-ranked students usually start to understand by themselves the strong and weak points of every technique. Black Belts are considered the most conscious students as they know how to control and encounter their opponents.

7. Be Ready For Struggle

When you enter your gym to train in BJJ, you must remember the famous saying:

“No Pain No Gain”

Grapplers must know that when they are going to learn BJJ, they have to make physical and mental struggles. During training and drilling, you have to jump out of your limits and be uncomfortable. Novice BJJ practitioners usually avoid uncomfortable situations but mastery is on the other side of the comfort zone. To condition your body, drilling and even training techniques are all about effort and hard work.

You have to focus and change every minute of your daily routine. Your sleeping-waking schedule, your diet, and your workout routine all are affected by BJJ training.

Along with all these key factors, BJJ training sessions itself are physically hectic and mentally exhausting. Beginners get tired and fed up from these struggles and usually quit BJJ at the white belt level. So if you are a BJJ student, it doesn't matter on which rank you are. You must prepare yourself for a heavy struggle.

8. Leave Ego at the DoorStep of the Gym

The ego is a powerful tool and you can use this tool to jump over every shackle coming in the way of your struggle. But ego can also be dangerous during training. To be a good BJJ student, you have to leave your ego outside the gym. For instance, if you put your ego in your rolling and resist submission beyond your potential, you can end up with a broken toe or torn muscle.

Remember, never let your ego get between you and your instructor or training partner. Accept the shortcomings your instructor points out. Follow the instructions of your instructor rigorously and they will lead you one step closer to your fitness and competitive goals.

“My opponent is my teacher, my ego is my enemy.”

(Renzo Gracie)

White Belts are the students who need to learn when it is time to tap and give up. When you have experience or observation that not tapping on time can cause serious injuries, you learn that ego is not the thing to take with you on the mat. Blue belts and their seniors spent a considerable time period on the mat. So they usually learn when to give up.

9. Be Punctual

Academies usually follow a timetable according to which they conduct their classes. Most academies are flexible with students if they are late for a few minutes. If you come to your class late, it will give a sense of disrespect and irresponsible behavior to other people.

Furthermore, you can also miss essential basics that your instructor tells your fellows in order to construct the base of the topic. A good and passionate student must always be on time.

Punctuality is necessary for every belt level. But if you are a white belt and you missed a few lessons due to your unpunctuality, it will be difficult for you to overcome the loss of your training lessons. Blue Belt to Brown Belts are familiar with the basics of every technique. A few minutes late can be compensated but White Belts must avoid any irregularity.

10. Never be Ashamed to Ask Questions From Your Instructor

Every student has different abilities to learn regardless of whether he is a good student or not. A student who wants to learn should never miss any points from his instructor. Good students never feel ashamed to ask any question from their instructors.

You should remember that you are in the gym to learn and your instructor is here to teach you. All the successful Black Belts underwent this intense and engaging process of learning. It is not possible to learn everything in the first turn. As the saying goes, the one who asks a question is a fool for a minute but the one who doesn't ask a question is a fool for his entire life. Let your coach know what is causing confusion so that he will enlighten you.

11. Final Words

Good students are always ready to learn, well-prepared for struggle, and disciplined. Learning and becoming an expert always takes time. If you want to become a great black belt, you have to struggle with patience.

Learning Jiu-Jitsu needs consistency and struggle, no matter whether you are learning Jiu-Jitsu as a hobby or a profession. Good students can learn and execute BJJ techniques more effectively.

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