5 mistakes to avoid in BJJ.
We start our journey in BJJ and for the most part we just jump right in. We end up learning some valuable things along the way and maybe it would be easier if someone would have told us a few things when we started. Here is my advice for for people who want to start, just started or have been in BJJ for a short while.
1. Focusing too much on one set of techniques
In BJJ, there seem to be a million different styles, and many other BJJ techniques to learn as well. To a new BJJ student, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information that is given to you by your new professor. You might think that you need to learn faster. This is not the case. Take your time. BJJ is a complicated art, and even experienced BJJ players constantly pick up new BJJ moves improving their game. However, for brand-spanking new BJJ students, it's best to focus on one set of BJJ moves at a time until you know them well enough to move on to another set of BJJ techniques.
2. Not drilling the basics often enough
After spending nearly an hour in class learning a cool new BJJ technique (like an omoplata or triangle choke), it's easy as a new student to say "Okay cool, I learned this awesome thing – what comes next?" Well – drilling BJJ techniques takes time, persistence and patience. BJJ techniques cannot be learned by reading a BJJ book (trust me, I've tried). BJJ moves must be drilled for months, even years before they can really become applied BJJ submissions. So don't try to learn every BJJ move you want to learn, drilling or not; because if you do, you will get frustrated and probably quit training BJJ altogether because it is not giving you any results (and that would be a real shame!).
3. Not rolling enough with other people (free training)
You know how in the gym there's always that one guy who does curls while reading a bodybuilding magazine? And then after an hour or two of arm exercises, he crashes on the couch to watch football? Well rolling BJJ is not like that, BJJ rolling should be done often. BJJ rolling should be an active thing you do on a daily basis, not something you only do once every few months. BJJ rolling sessions are where you learn BJJ techniques. You can drill BJJ moves by yourself all day long if you want to, but the first time one of the other BJJ students tries to sweep or submit you in BJJ training class – your technique will fall apart!
4. Not making an effort to connect with other members
You may think this point is silly because who cares about connecting with other people? But trust me, BJJ is so much more than just learning new BJJ moves and drilling BJJ submissions; it's also about the BJJ community. BJJ students are not just people you train BJJ with, they are people who are encouraging you to get better at BJJ by saying "good job" after every BJJ move, and helping you drill BJJ moves when you aren't sure how it's done correctly. These guys want to see you improve at BJJ just as much as you do. So definitely try to connect with other BJJ players in your academy/gym!
5. Being unprepared for BJJ class
There is no doubt that BJJ training is hard (but fun!), but there is a right way and a wrong way to prepare yourself for each BJJ training session. Under no circumstances should you go into the BJJ gym without having eaten or without drinking water. BJJ is a cardio workout where you don't need to be in peak physical condition, however BJJ does require a decent amount of energy for students to get through the class. BJJ conditioning classes may not seem like this way at first, but they definitely do make a difference in your BJJ game if you want to compete in BJJ tournaments. So eat something before you train BJJ and bring plenty of water!
In short: when it comes to BJJ training mistakes, there are two sides to every story. On the one hand, it's totally okay for new BJJ beginners to make these mistakes because BJJ is challenging and takes time to learn. BJJ beginners should not get discouraged when they make mistakes because everyone was new to BJJ at one point or another, and after all BJJ is supposed to be fun! On the other hand, BJJ beginners should definitely try not to make too many BJJ mistakes because it's important to train BJJ correctly (in order for BJJ students to see results) - which will also make training BJJ more fun!
Truly yours, AnonymOSS White Belt