The journey to becoming a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt is a hard and challenging journey filled with highs and lows, this guide is made to make sure you do not become one of the statistics that quit at white, blue, purple or brown belt due to the lows that you may experience.
The first step is the hardest and if you have already started BJJ you are on your way to becoming a limb busting choking machine. These are the top things to keep in mind.
BJJ is about millimetres and seeing progress in your own game can be quite hard to see at times and you may feel like you are stalling which can be discouraging, the best thing to do at this time is to forget about your game and just focus on other people. The more you compare yourself against people, the less you can worry about your game stalling, especially if you focus on newer lower belts, who you will surely feel superior too.
Rule #1 – always compare yourself to others to improve your skills.
Fundamentally as a solo sport – you win or you lose alone on that mat in a competition or rolling at the gym, there is not much time to develop a connection for other gym members and feel like you are in a team. When the journey starts getting hard and you are feeling alone, the best thing to do is to start worrying about what everyone else is doing, this way you will feel more like you are in a team. For example, you get told to do 5 reps on each side by the instructor, don’t worry about counting yours, make sure everyone else around you is doing their 5 reps and call them out if you think they haven’t done the full 5 reps. It might even be a good idea to call them out if they are not doing the reps to your standard and help them out by telling them to do it properly.
Rule #2 – always focus on what everyone else is doing to improve your skills.
After training for so long and reaching coveted status of 3 or 4 stripe white belt or possibly even blue belt, some techniques the instructors shows can seem repetitive and boring, after drilling it so many times already and have mastered the techniques, it can seem like a waste of time.
Rule #3 – don’t waste time drilling techniques you already know.
Additionally, the journey to Black Belt is a long one so no point in wasting time learning techniques you already have down. The best thing to do when you feel like the instructor is beginning to demonstrate a technique you already know, see how many counters to the technique you can come up with and slight improvements of the technique before they finish demonstrating the technique.
This way, when it is your time to drill the technique, instead of wasting time with a technique you already know, you can drill a new technique with your added spin, one you may have recently seen on Youtube.com. Additionally, when it is your partner’s time to drill the technique, you can now practice your counters you thought about.
Rule #4 – drill counters when your partner is drilling technique.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is sometimes called the Gentle art or Human chess, because of the nature of the sport where you are using technique vs strength, you may forget it is a martial art. To remind yourself that it is a martial art built for breaking limbs and choking people unconscious, make sure to roll at 200% intensity at least every second roll to as a reminder to yourself that this is a real martial art.
It is most effective when you do this against newer, smaller and less physically able partners. For guys it works even better when you do this against females in your club. It actually helps both of you remember that this a real martial art. Every tap you get should emphasises the power of BJJ and can only inspire them and you to train even harder and continue your BJJ journey to black belt as you dominate them with pure force and intensity.
The more you can convince yourself, rolling in the gym is the same as fighting in the Mundial finals the better this will work. It will also have the added benefit of saving you money, as you will not actually have to go all the way to California to experience what it is like to compete in the Mundials.
Rule #5 – Make sure you regularly roll at 200% intensity against smaller, newer partners.
Sometimes in your journey, you may have the misfortune of being tapped out by a higher belt even though you are tough as hell and earned 4 stripes on your blue belt already, pretty much a purple belt without the belt. When this happens and you feel as though you are not doing as well as you know you should against the higher belts, never sure fear or weakness. Instead be sure to yell with anger everytime they get you and be sure to slap the mats angrily. This will enforce the idea into the higher belts, that in fact, you should be the one tapping them. As the mental aspect plays such a large role in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you will most likely be tapping them out sooner rather than later with your convincing screaming of how upset you are that they were able to tap you out.
Rule #6 – Never show weakness and yell every time a higher belt taps you
The journey to black belt can be a minefield of potential injuries, any time spent off the mats due to injury is time wasted and only making your black belt journey longer. To make sure you minimise any risk of injuries, make sure you skip any exercises that may cause injuries that will not benefit your journey to black belt, this may include drilling, warm ups, stretching and flow rolling. Make sure to focus only focus on what matters that is sparring at 200% intensity, this is the shortest and quickest way to get that black belt. Most gyms have a schedule and simple class structure, so you should be able to work out when sparring usually starts so you can make sure to turn up after all the stuff is done so you can focus on what matters, hardcore sparring.
Rule #7 – Only spar and ignore everything else.
As Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the best martial art in the world, when you start the journey to black belt, it is hard to think about anything else. Your friends who do not understand what BJJ and even your weaker BJJ friends may find it boring when you only talk about BJJ all the time. The best solution to this is to talk about how shit other martial arts are. Everyone knows about other martial arts like Karate, wrestling, boxing, Kung Fu and many more inferior arts. Some of your “other” friends may even train these other martial arts, so it’s always good to tell them how shit it is and make sure they take up BJJ instead. This will definitely also help prove how good BJJ is by proving how shit other sports are.
Rule #8 – Always mention how shit other martial arts are.
Everyone knows, the quickest way to get better is by bringing others down. Don’t worry about spending time making yourself better. Just talk about how bad other martial arts are instead, this will make you feel dramatically better at BJJ without wasting time training.