I have read many articles exploring advice to beginners as well as lists examining tidbits of information people wish they had been given early on. The Jiu Jitsu journey can be long and arduous and very often laden with steps backwards and errors. Here are some things I wish I had been told when I first got started:
1. There are no shortcuts. There is no formula to become a phenom outside of hard work and dedication. That hard work and dedication can be done over a short period of time in high intensity or over a longer protracted period of time, but the skills needed to be a black belt are ones that are attained through development of timing and muscle memory.
2. Tap often and tap early. Welcome the tap, embrace the tap, be eager to tap, and never too prideful to tap. Tap to white belts and tap to black belts, tap to blue belts and tap to purple and brown belts. Tap Tap Tap Tap Also learn to verbally tap, because you cant always physically tap and if you make a habit of verbally tapping your chances of getting hurt decrease.
3. For every move there is a counter, for every counter there is a counter counter, and for every counter counter, there is a counter counter counter. Drill moves till they become part of your natural reactions, and then develop an intimate knowledge of the different paths they can lead to. Drill. Drill. Always Drill! This is boring and tedious, so find someone you can joke around with and make it a fun exercise.
4. Not every white belt is really a white belt, not every black belt is really a black belt. People enter this art with all sorts of different backgrounds, never assume that someone knows anything and never assume that the color of the belt around someones waist is indicative of their ability to mess you up. Ive made the mistake of assuming that another persons rank indicates something, belt rank is an external thing, what is underneath can have very little to do with it.
5. Find a professor who makes you feel passionate about Jiu Jitsu and who pushes you, and find training partners who do the same. For the longest time I didnt have lab partners and now that I do I realize how much I missed out on. Find someone who understands your movements and whose movements you understand. And cherish them.
These are just a few pieces of advice that I wish I had gotten early on. There are plenty of articles on this subject, read all of them as they all have a lot of value.
Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj and www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer