5 Things Nobody Tells You When You Start Training BJJ

Although BJJ is great there are some inconveniences you need to be prepared for. Here are some things I wish someone had told me when I was the new guy at the academy.

Some beginnings are very hard

If you have a background in judo or wrestling this probably does not apply to you,but someone with no prior training experience will probably get this. BJJ requires you to execute complex moves under pressure, fatigued, while someone is trying to choke you, therefore it’s probably different from everything you have ever done.

During the first few months you will have a lot of bruises all over your body, it will continue until your body gets adapted to pressure caused mainly by knees and elbows. Don’t worry, it will pass and you will emerge stronger than ever. Your hands will hurt a lot from all the gripping you’re not used to doing till your grip gets stronger, it’s no reason to quit whatsoever, it’s like muscle soreness, once you get stronger it will stop occurring. A lot of people quit before this first phase is over, don’t be that guy, man up and get to training.

You will feel helpless

Ok,although everyone tells you to leave your ego at the door you will always bring some of your ego on the mat,at least until you reach a certain level. But the problem isn’t in being dominated by higher belts anymore, the real problem is being dominated by someone who is training for a shorter time than you or by a super strong and big newbie who passes your guard using brute force and taps you out with elbow on neck pressure. A thing that I saw made a lot of new guys quit is being submitted by a female BJJ practitioner. What you need to realize is that some people simply have more time to train and some have more talent and that is why they get better faster than the others.

Strength will always make a great difference in a fight unless you somehow learn to neutralize it or simply get strong yourself, there is no way around it. As for the girls, well if she is training longer than you and you are not a lot bigger than her there is a big chance she is going to submit you, I’ve seen it plenty of times, some girls are really tough. Even Keenan Cornelius mentioned in an interview that he got submitted by girls a lot when he started training and now he is one the top black belts.

In the beginning no one cares if you quit

This is not elementary school soccer team where coach calls you every time you skip practice to ask why you missed it. Your instructor probably has 30 more students and his personal life to worry about. Besides,white belts come and go all the time. If you stick around and train hard someone will eventually start to pay more attention to you and your progress. It’s simple,no one will beg you to train, you will have to do that part yourself.

There will be bullies

Ok,one of the basic rules on the mat is to release the submission when your opponent is tapping. Tapping and releasing on time prevents most of the injuries. However there are some people that will crank the submission longer than they should. They are often doing this to prove something to themselves or to others. After seeing a lot of teammates being hurt on purpose I came to a conclusion that is better to avoid these kind of guys as much as possible. Of course you have to roll with a bully from time to time, no one can avoid that completely but the less the better. If by any chance this kind of behavior is considered normal at your academy maybe it’s a good idea to find another school to train at.

Do not celebrate out loud after getting a submission

This type of behavior will instantly make you the biggest douchebag in class. I once saw a guy raising his hands high and celebrating after submitting a 13 year old boy. Lets just say he didn’t have a good time rolling with the rest of the guys. Everyone gets caught in a submission while rolling, it’s one of the points of rolling to go a bit lighter and correct your mistakes. Competing with your teammates during practice will get you nowhere.

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