There are many elements that are very difficult to see and understand in BJJ, especially in the beginning. In the first months of training, beginners often make mistakes that we must learn to avoid in order to continue to evolve as fighters. In this article, we are going to analyze seven common mistakes of white belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that we have seen repeated over and over again in BJJ classes at gyms.
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1. Not posturing
Posturing is one of the most important parts of our sport. Maintaining a firm structure, especially in the upper body, is a fundamental concept when fighting. In positions such as closed guard or at the beginning of the fight, when both opponents are standing, maintaining a correct posture is of vital importance. The most common mistake is to tend to hunch the body forward, mostly due to a lack of cardio. Try to keep your head in the same straight line from your shoulders to your hips. You must always keep this aspect in mind in order to continue advancing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
2. Attacking from an unfavorable position
In this case, the rule is very simple… First position and then attack. Do not try to finish from any position, try to understand that the first thing to do in an unfavorable position is to defend and recover until you reach a better position. It is worth mentioning that without a doubt there are BJJ finishes that can be applied from positions that seem to be unfavorable to us, but at the beginning, you have to focus on the basics, and then you can evolve the technique after you have understood it. “KNOW THE RULES TO BREAK THEM”.
3. Not moving your hips
Another fundamental concept in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the movement of the hip. Not moving the hip makes us vulnerable to attacks and complicates the recovery of the guard. If the first thing to do when passing the guard is to control the opponent’s legs and hips, the most important thing to avoid being passed is to move your hips and avoid being pinned to the ground. The hip changes are also key movements, which are very important when passing the guard and preventing the guardian from regaining position.
4. Using too much force
Soft Art: the name says it all! Using too much strength is one of the most common mistakes in beginners and, unfortunately, even in some advanced. If you use 100% of your strength during the whole fight, you will find it hard to see and understand the details of the game. It is much more likely to get injured and end the 5/6 minutes of rolling completely exhausted because you cannot manage your fuel. FLOW ROLLING is an excellent way to improve this aspect. Rolling without finishing, almost dancing, and using at most 50% of your strength, is something that will help you a lot to improve your fluidity and your style. Everything will be clearer if you don’t use all your intensity in every moment of every fight.
5. Giving away your position
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the few fighting sports where you can take advantage of a situation where we have our back to the ground. But another concept that must be understood, especially when competing is: “BE THE GUY ON TOP”. Being on top, simply because of gravity and pressure, is much safer than being on the bottom and requires less technique and less energy. If you are on top, stay on top and always try to improve your position. On the other side, if you are at the bottom, you have to do everything to get back on top.
But above all, remember: DO NOT GIVE AWAY POSITIONS. Scratches or reversals in Jiu-Jitsu are worth 2 points. It is essential to understand that you have to fight every position and try to play or climb up as many times as possible.
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6. Do NOT push
It is impossible to deny it. The ego is something present in each and every one of us. Not surrendering to submission for pure ego is something that can cause injuries and will not let us move forward in our path as fighters. TAP TODAY, TRAIN TOMORROW is something that must be understood from the first days. Tapping is a gesture of humility in front of someone who, at this point, has been better than us. Understanding why we have been finished and what aspects of our game we can improve to defend certain positions is much more interesting than getting hurt or getting angry for having been finished.
7. Thinking too much about belts
Really, you have to understand that belts only serve to bring the flaps of the GI together and keep it tightly closed. In the last ADCC 2020, we have seen how several blue belts have been able to beat black belts with years of experience in international competitions. Jiu-Jitsu is in continuous evolution. Focusing too much on rankings and belts will only lead to negative thoughts and useless frustrations. Don’t chase a belt, enjoy the journey. Just because you beat a blue belt once, it doesn’t make you a blue belt. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, just try to be the best version of yourself.
I am a huge fan of both BJJ and MMA. Jiu-jitsu is my biggest passion, and I’ve been training it for more than 5 years. I have recently been promoted to a purple belt. In this blog, I will be giving you tips on how to improve and how to choose the best BJJ equipment!