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Build: Advice for the first time grappler

Build: Advice For The First Time Grappler

Enjoy the beatings. Be patient. Talk less. Listen more. Focus on mobility. Go slow.

Continuing our theme of CONSTRUCTION, we asked our closest friends in the grappling community to provide advice for anyone looking to build a long career in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And their answers were as different as the people who gave them.

Be patient and look at all the different areas of improvement in the process. From the comradeship to the physical benefits of being on the mats, rather than just your technical improvement, because that won’t be a steady line and it can frustrate you at times if you solely focus on that.

Focusing on some theoretical milestones is bound to only frustrate you. Mastering a move or throw is good, but giving yourself a “due date” to master it? That might only cause frustration. 

Always keep the white belt mindset to learn, always be hungry to learn!

In dojos across the world, there is some variation of “the white belt mindset”, reminding grapplers of the idea that there is always something to learn. Even the masters are still working on something.

Be smart training, talk less & listen more, specifically with your coach!

Your coaches see you in a way no one else does. They see where you’ve been, and they might have an idea of where you are going to go. Advice from a coach is invaluable, so it’s wise to listen whenever you can. 

Try to make jiu jitsu a fun thing to do and have fun with it!

This is why we sometimes call each other “players”. It’s always possible to approach BJJ as a “game”, and not always a game to won or “dominated”. Sometimes it’s a game to enjoy, the way you would enjoy a good conversation.

Go slow. Listen to and have patience with your body.

Listen and have patience. Two major keys, especially when applied to your body. Your body will always tell you what it needs, and the only time you will miss the message is if you’re focused on something else, like trying to look like Royce Gracie when you roll. How you roll is determined by the way your body is put together. No one can do it like you.


Enjoy the beatings.


Might be tongue-in-cheek, but there’s something to learn here. Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable. You might get smashed by a training partner, but if you can keep your cool during the smashing, you’ll gain an invaluable tool for moving through life - the ability to not get rattled when things get intense. Great for work, relationships, you name it.


There’s no right way to be a white belt, but these words come from those who have been through it, so check in with these thoughts as you build a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu career you can be proud of.