Don’t Forget About Being a White Belt

Ahhh, the white belt days where the enthusiasm for improving is high and your skill is just developing. I think there are benefits to every belt level throughout the journey. Once you get to a higher belt level, don’t forget about all of the experiences to pass along to the newcomers. Once you learn a certain number of concepts, it can be easy to forget how it was when you started. When white belts feel overwhelmed remind them that everyone was there at some point. Naturally, this feeling will vary depending on their athletic background and their ability to learn.

When learning new moves, they often don’t realize how long it takes to practice it before being able to do it in a live roll. They don’t see the time upper belts spent practicing but only the results. There can be plenty of practice only holding a certain position before a submission is being attempted. As you may already realize, the jiu jitsu journey is a sprint not a marathon. Enjoy every part of it and learn at every stage. 

It was always super helpful to me to hear how long an upper belt worked on a sub before achieving it. During my time at white belt, it seemed like it was taking longer than I expected. Sometimes you may be doing a technique incorrectly yet you are doing it correctly in your head. If you are new and this, is you, be patient with yourself and ask plenty of questions to correct yourself. 

As a white belt, you receive plenty of defense work. Remember that it won’t last forever and it is very important in your development. At the same time, be encouraged to try to escape as opposed to staying in a tight T-rex without any escape plan. As the upper belt, keep in mind that they may not know any defense yet and to be patient with them. The submissions you choose may change over time. There can be those that you do from white to black yet there are others that fall to the wayside after reaching an upper belt level. The Ezekiel choke and Americana are two good examples. That’s not to say you can’t still be doing these at a higher belt if you put in the reps. It is rare to witness these as you progress in the game.

Even though white belts may be constantly getting smashed by higher belts, remember what a great opportunity it is to be learning from them through rolling. Your progress will only improve at a faster rate with those with more experience. Sure, it’s beneficial to get some rolls with teammates of the same level to practice offense, but it is with the upper belts that you’ll get the most improvement.

Remember to keep your focus simplified when choosing which submissions to work on when rolling. Keep notes from class and determine if there are other moves you can connect it to that is already in your game. Think about which ones resonate with you and choose those to add to your game. Keep it as simple as possible, since it is easy to get overwhelmed in the beginning with all of the information. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the journey!


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