Some Things We Wish You’d Known Before Starting Jiu-Jitsu: THE PROFESSOR’S VIEW

Okay, Okay, I know that you’re upset with me.  I’ve debunked the jiu-jitsu fame and glory myth and squashed your dreams.  Here you are though, avidly reading, even though you want to slam your screen closed and shake your fists to the heavens in anger! Why?! Why?! STELLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!  Get it out of your system, it’s alright.  Frustration and jiu-jitsu go hand-in-hand! and get ready to be mind-blown.  I don’t mock you my friends.  I ride this wave along with you.  I hope to shed some light on the questions we want & need to have answered, while keeping it fun!  Isn’t that what this journey is all about?  Fun, finding our way, and living the BJJ dream?!?!  Enter stage right; the revered, and feared, and highly respected Professor…

Some Professors own their academy.  They have family and friends who train, work, and compete alongside them.  They open in the morning and close at night, teaching the majority of the classes, including the kid classes, if offered.  They teach the weekend classes or run open mats on the weekend and travel to the tournaments with their competition team; often coaching AND competing.  Am I painting a clear picture yet? The bread and butter of an academy isn’t sitting on a beach with your feet up soaking in the rays while another entity runs your school.  The blood sweat and tears of jiu-jitsu comes on AND off the mats.  I am extremely appreciative that these Professors took the time to share with me, and I’m sharing with you!  That having been said, these Black Belts I spoke with had a few things they “wished students knew before they started jiu-jitsu.” (and not one of them mentions ‘don’t call it karate!’ Lolol)

  • This is a journey not a destination.
  • BJJ will give you back what you but in. So be prepared to work, it won’t be easy but I can promise it will be worth it.
  • Technique will beat strength, eventually you will learn enough technique to beat that strong guy who has been muscling you ever since you started.
  • In the world of magic pills, teas and ‘quick-fixes,’ people get discouraged easily, I feel, because the world suggests there are fast track and accelerated routes to all we do. This is just not true in our craft.
  • Non-jits peeps despise it because it will consume you and be all you want to do, talk about and think about
  • Slow is fast, fast is slow. You don’t have to spaz out, its ok to get tap or lose, that’s part of learning,
  • ***leave your ego at the door. Keep an open mind and you’ll never stop growing. – leave your ego at the door. Having an ego can get on your way of training and a lot of people leave the sport because they can’t accept getting beat.*** (this was mentioned by every Professor I spoke with.  Clearly, it is beyond noteworthy.  NO ROOM for EGO, NONE.
  • Don’t buy a dog
  • Don’t just buy the Kool-Aid, drink it! If you live a BJJ lifestyle, it will give you years of fitness, confidence, health, longevity and riches beyond belief- in so many ways other than having tons of money. Money can’t buy what BJJ can give you
  • You are soft and squishy(collegiate wrestlers excluded) you probably grew up watching karate movies, transitioned to watching UFC and have this vision of yourself pulling off sweet moves in a street fight! YOU CAN’T!
  • The reality is you suck at fighting/grappling and you’re new, so you’re supposed to suck.
  • Getting good takes a few years, getting really good takes a lifetime.
  • Your instructor will notice improvement, all you will notice is that you tap a lot.
  • You are going to get kneed in the face (accidentally, as if that makes a difference!), you may break a finger, and in general get a little banged up. You shouldn’t be surprised by this, you’re learning how to fight. Nobody breaks a finger at muffin baking class, lol!
  • Stop worrying about promotions, stripes are the most meaningless thing in the world! You sound like a 5 year old! “Do you think I’m a 3 or 4 stripe white belt? How many stripes do you think I’ll get on promotion day?”….it’s f@#$%*g sports tape!!!!
  • The longer you stop coming to class the harder it is to come back. The guys you’ve been battling for the title of “baddest white belt in the gym” are gunning for you- now that your cardio is shit! It’s your own fault, stop taking breaks.
  • Cardio: Hard to gain, Easy to lose.
  • Don’t ask your instructor if you did anything wrong, everything you did was wrong! You’re a new white belt.
  • Try to have a more specific question, this will help you on multiple levels, your instructor will give you advice you can actually use and you will have to think about what is happening. Remember, you’re supposed to suck.
  • If you grab my fingers when we are rolling I am going to roll harder with you. You won’t like it.
  • If you’re at a good gym, the first time you tap somebody, nobody will care
  • Tap today train tomorrow. Getting hurt can take you out for weeks and months so it’s always better to tap early.
  • Jiu Jitsu is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. A lot of guys come in thinking they’re going to get good really fast and it’s not true, it takes a lot of time to master the art. Those who stick to it will get good on the long run.
  • Your team mates are not your enemies, they will beat you up to shape you into a better version of yourself.
  • Jiu-Jitsu is the most honest martial art there is, all your mistakes will be exposed, use that to learn and fix them.

If you live a BJJ lifestyle, it will give you years of fitness, confidence, health, longevity and riches beyond belief- in so many ways other than having tons of money. Money can’t buy what BJJ can give you

Belts are earned, not given.   Knowledge is priceless.  Blood doesn’t necessarily make someone family.  The bonds formed in training last a lifetime.  The people you train with become your friends, lifeline, and your family.  They understand what others might not; help you over hurdles and carry you when life is just too much.  The power of jiu-jitsu transcends beyond a stripe, a submission or a medal.

See Part 1 Here:


  1. Don’t buy a dog? Care to elaborate on that one? Will having a animal divert your attention from the sport? Or is there hygiene issues?

    • I’d imagine it’s a time thing. Poor animal will never leave the house since you’re always off training and might be slightly neglected.

      • And although tempting, practicing jiu jitsu with Fido is generally not a good idea. Even if you win the underhook in a smash top half guard, Fido wins. He doesn’t know that biting the neck and face is illegal. LOL


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