Are you Enjoying Your Time as a White Belt?
By Alec Baulding
Becoming a white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the most important and the hardest step in training because it is the first step. Going from no training to walking into an academy and trying a class is not an easy task. In fact, it can be scary depending on what academies you go to. Unless you have prior martial arts training, it will be hard to gauge what type of academy to try out. Some academies are geared towards competitions and creating champions while others offer a more family friendly atmosphere. This can make trying your first class a game of chance. You might go to a great academy that instills a love of training in you or you might find an academy that makes you write off training Jiu Jitsu forever. A lot of it comes down to luck.
Regardless, as a new(er) student your experience will be similar no matter where you train. You will have a hard time doing some of the movements, especially if you do not exercise frequently or sit at a desk all day. So try to move around and stretch as much as possible. The moves might seem weird at first and you will sweat a lot but they will strengthen your body and prepare it for training.
You will forget the techniques. Your instructor will show a technique to the class and by the time you turn around to pair up, key details will start to go missing. This is normal so try to work with a more experienced student that can help guide you through the move. Worst case, call over the instructor or a senior belt to give you a refresher. Don’t be afraid, they would rather help you now than have you hurt someone later by performing the technique incorrectly.
You will lose a lot. It’s a part of training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Take your beat downs and try to learn from them. Even if you only take away a small detail you will be that much better than before. You will tap out a lot. It’s also a part of learning. Be smart and tap early. If you feel your vision getting blurry or an arm or leg getting stretched too far, tap out. Better to be safe than sorry.
You will get tired. Your body is getting used to all these new and weird movements. It’s okay to rest. Two or three times training a week is a great starting point. Then add more classes as your body adjust and adapts. The biggest benefit to being a white belt is that there are no expectations on you. When you mess up, which you definitely will, it’s okay because you are a beginner. When you get tapped out it’s not a big deal because you are a white belt. However, when you do something well it will be amplified even more because you are a white belt. If you hit a sweep or pass on a higher belt then people will start to wonder if you truly are a white belt or why you still are a white belt.
So enjoy your white belt and rock it with pride!