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When you start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) , your life changes. As cliche as it may sound, ask any BJJ student who has been training for more than a year and he/she will be the first to tell you that it’s true. When they look back to they day they first stepped on the mats and began their journey, chances are, there were some things they wish they knew beforehand.
If you’ve just started BJJ or are thinking about picking up the gentle art, we’ve compiled a list of some advice that could be helpful to your BJJ journey. Without further ado, today, Evolve Daily shares 6 Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting BJJ:
1) How to tie our belt properly
Ask any instructor and they’ll tell you that one of their biggest pet-peeves is when students don’t know how to tie their belt properly. It’s not like tying your shoelaces or a hair ribbon. Check out the video above to see how it’s done. Another tip: unlike other belts, your BJJ belt is supposed to sit on your second waist, just above the hip. It’s not a corset!
2) You will get tapped out by someone smaller than you
When you walk onto the mats for the first time, you’ll notice that there’s no clear cut stereotypical BJJ student. You’ll come across students of various ages and occupations, gender, and body types! The deeper you get into the gentle art and the more refined your techniques become, you’ll realize that these techniques can work on anyone, even someone twice your size! Hence, the chances of you being submitted by someone smaller than you are quite high. And when it happens, just suck it up and chalk it up to experience. You’ll be able to do it to someone bigger than you too!
3) Being promoted should be the last thing on your mind
The more you train BJJ, the chances of you getting promoted are quite high — so why not enjoy the journey instead of the destination? Take your time and get to know the techniques a bit better. Master the basics and turn them into reflex. Spar with as many different people as you can. There’s no need to rush! You’ll eventually get promoted, just focus on your training and everything else will fall into place.
4) You need to be consistent
Being consistent is a very important aspect of training BJJ. The longer the break you take from training, the harder it is to get back into it. Not only will you have to develop your cardio again, you’ll also need to brush up on the techniques you’ve learned the last time. Being consistent means training at least three times a week. It will help you progress faster and make it easier for you to develop a solid game. Make a promise to yourself to train as often as you can — you’ll see a difference soon enough, we guarantee it!
5) Hard work… works
Do you know those people who drill before and after training BJJ? Those people who watch videos during their free time, or ask their instructor to clarify a technique if they don’t understand it? Those people who attend two classes in a row everyday, who are consistent and never miss a day of training? If you’re wondering why they’re improving at a much faster rate than everyone else, its because of the dedication they have to BJJ. Like all martial arts, BJJ is brutally honest. The more hard work you put in, the more it shows!
6) There are students who might seem like “naturals” to the art
We’ve all experienced having difficulties learning certain techniques or movements in BJJ. Unfortunately, there are some students who seem like they’ve never experienced this at all. It seems as if everything comes naturally to them, like they were made to do BJJ. Regardless of whether someone seems more talented or athletically gifted than you, nothing beats hard work (see #5). Don’t worry about someone else’s journey and focus on yours instead. Yes, it may be human nature to compare ourselves with others but in our constant struggle, we lose track of what should be our most important task as BJJ students – concentrating on improving ourselves.
Although starting BJJ might seem a bit overwhelming, trust us, it gets easier over time. Soon, all the little things you were worrying about (such as the ones above) will seem insignificant in comparison to the bigger picture — becoming the best BJJ student you could be. As you progress further into your journey, you’ll appreciate the life lessons you learn on the mat and eventually apply them into your own life. So tell us, are there other things you’d wish you’d known at the beginning of your BJJ journey?