5 Tips Every BJJ Beginner Must Know
Just started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ? And you want to get good as quickly as you can? Here’s some advice and tips that every BJJ Beginner must know to progress in the art/sport. You need to know this in the first 3-6 months of your BJJ journey. Let’s look at them below:
1. You need a general framework
When you are a BJJ beginner, and if you have no previous knowledge of what BJJ is actually about (other than what you see on UFC), then you will need a general starting point.
You need to learn what the basic positions are, for instance, what is the mount? What is the guard? What is side control? Etc etc...
A beginner in BJJ will also need to know what to do from a certain position eg. If you are in mount, what do you do next? Or if you have captured someone in between your legs (the guard), where do you go from there?
Here’s a simple example of what I’m talking about: Let’s say we have got our opponent inside our closed guard. Now you will need to sweep him (turn him over) whereby you get on top (mount position). Now that you have the mount, your goal will be to finish the match with a submission (armbar from mount). Get it?
For further insights on this, look at Stephan Kesting’s BJJ blog for beginners and his BJJ Roadmap program. There, you can download a free pdf manual with all the info you need with regard to positions, and the goals of each position. Invaluable!
2. Defend! Defend! Defend!
Now that you have an idea how the BJJ game is played, it is essential to have a strong defence and escape game. You must have the capability to defend your position and not get submitted too quickly. You must have a good base (good balance) so that your opponent cannot sweep you or knock you off your feet easily.
So – it must be fundamental! Learn how to escape the mount, side control and back mount. Learn how to be inside someone’s guard and not get swept or submitted.
The name of the game here is survival! Once you are good at defending yourself, then you can invest more time exploring all the fancy sweeps and exciting submissions.
Nowadays, getting information is so easy. There are books, DVDs, and the internet (youtube especially).
But sometimes we tend to get lost as there is just too much info out there. Where shall we begin? Is the info going to be useful or will it hinder your progress?
I find that it is better to narrow your BJJ resources to a handful. I find these resources to be most helpful to BJJ beginners:
Roy Harris' Best BJJ Collection
Remember! Learn the fundamentals first!
Remember! Learn the fundamentals first!
4. Get fit!
A typical BJJ class starts off with warm ups, techniques and finishes with a few rounds of rolling (sparring). I have seen many instances where the BJJ newbie finishing the class looking really worn out. Some even puke. Most cannot last even 5 minutes in a normal roll.
This means physical conditioning and cardio require some work. And that is why beginners should supplement their BJJ training with some form of strength and conditioning program.Workouts based on HIIT would be best for BJJ.
Maybe some of you may not have the time to do this regularly, so it is recommended that you do your workouts only twice a week (on a different day from the BJJ days). I find that for the busy individual, short workouts (between 20-30 mins) would be the best. And no, you don’t need to join an expensive gym to work out. There are plenty of free resources to get ideas from, and also some inexpensive home workout DVD programs that are very good for building your fitness. Here are some resources and samples for starters:
5. Be patient, and hang in there!
If you want to be good at BJJ, you require patience. Unless you are a prodigy like BJ Penn, you will have to have some patience. It takes time to build up a good foundation and workable game for BJJ. The first few months will be torture, but if you hang in there and not give up, after the next six months or so, you will surely enjoy the rewards! You will feel fitter, stronger and more confident as you can hang with the more experienced practitioners and start to dominate the newer students.
Keep training, work hard, hang in there! Good luck!