It’s a Whole New World for a White Belt

With all the new members to our club, we thought we would take the opportunity to chat a little bit about the white belt world in White BeltBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu and what you may experience as you step on the mats for the first time (and possibly the second and third and tenth…). Ask anyone who’s been on the mats for a bit – we all remember what it was like in the beginning.

New faces bring new experiences and a chance for everyone to learn regardless if you’re a new white belt or a seasoned black belt.

Here are some “been there, done that” tidbits to help you on your way.

* We’ve all been where you are at today. It doesn’t matter if we are a white belt with one stripe, or a black belt with extensive experience on the mats, we all started at the beginning. There will be times that you will feel awkward, frustrated, or lost and not sure where to start. As a team, we are here to help you learn and improve. Ask for input and your partner or the coach will help you!

* Promotions are part of the journey, not the goal. Being promoted is huge. There’s nothing like getting your very first stripe (or your next belt). It shows how much you’ve learned! Jiu-Jitsu is a personal journey and promotions shows how well you’ve succeeded and improved and are not a comparison with your peers. You are not given a rank as having some level of training or for having achieved some level of knowledge. Rather your are given the new rank as something to live up to.

* Ask questions. Lots of them and often. If you don’t understand a technique, ask. If you want to know how someone just submitted or swept you, stop and ask. If you want to know how to avoid it next time, just ask. If you’re curious about how to set up a position, ask! (I think you might get the idea here…).

* Respect your team mates. We all have lives outside the club. Families, jobs, children, other sports activities – as crazy as it seems, we don’t all live, breathe and eat Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Watch your intensity, weight and strength with your partners. Train with your team mate at a level and intensity that THEY are comfortable with and always take their safety into consideration.

* Higher belts aren’t scary. The higher belts on our mats have been friends and team mates for years and they all have different goals and reasons for being at the club. However, the common thread is that they love BJJ and love to help others learn it. Don’t hesitate to ask them to roll! Feel comfortable in asking a higher belt to train with you – higher belts learn just as much from a lower belt. Unless they are injured or sitting a round out they’ll be happy to roll with you.

Above all else – enjoy yourself! Coming to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class should be an opportunity to learn, meet your goals, and more importantly, it should be something to forward to!