Good BJJ Habits For White Belts To Form In 2015
1) Show up on time.
You should always make it a point to be on time to Jiu Jitsu, if not early. Your coach makes it a point to be on time. All of the other students are there on time as well. It is disruptive to others to show up late and you might miss out on a key detail that could change your entire game! You are paying so why not maximize the return on your investment! The person you are not paying is the drilling partner who has to catch you up mid-class. Everyone is late sometimes, but you shouldn’t make it habitual.
Showing up early also allows you time to stretch before warming up. You would be surprised how many injuries can be prevented simply by stretching your muscles before practice.
2) Eat healthier.
You are what you eat! Eating the proper foods at the proper times will give you the energy needed to power through the most grueling of training sessions. Proper eating habits will also boost your recovery times so that you can get back to the training room and feeling great as soon as possible. I could write out a proper diet here for you, but you already know what is good for you and what isn’t. Check out this article from Grapplearts.com to help get you going in the right direction.
3) Try No-Gi.
Throw on your wildest spats and your zaniest rashguard and hit the mats like a fricken superhero! Everyone is slipping and sliding. There aren’t nearly as many grips to be had. Stalling is limited. What happens is that you end up improving your Gi Jiu Jitsu because you are forced to look at your grappling through the lens of a varying mechanical movement structure. Situations progress differently in No-Gi. The knowledge of which is well worth having in your repetoire. Give it a try in 2015 if you haven’t already (If you feel strange in spats, you can keep your Gi pants on like Eddie Bravo does).
4) Wash your belt.
My anti-hate shield is up and armed. So fire away you superstitious cretins who think you will experience a loss of power by washing the piece of cloth that keeps your Gi closed. Think about it logically. You wash your Gi right? Imagine the mojo that you wash away every time you wash your Gi! The resulting mojo loss is staggering compared to what is retained in your dirty belt. If you believe in the force you understand that it comes from a source. That source loves cleanliness, trust me.
If you heed my advice and wash your belt, and your Jiu Jitsu is weakened, send me your belt and I will perform some other ritual for you that will re-infuse your belt back with the power of the gods. In the mean time stay away from black cats and walking under ladders.
5) Try some form of cross training.
There are lots of extracurricular activities that you can do in your spare time that can greatly improve your BJJ; weight-training for strength, yoga for flexibility and relaxation, kettle bells, stability ball drilling. Find something that is fun for you and do it with the intention of improving your Jiu Jitsu. It is easier to to practice different disciplines when you are married unto the BJJ lifestyle. You are never cheating, you are always enhancing.
6) Take a private lesson.
There is no better way to pick a coach or instructor’s mind, or improve faster, than with direct private lessons. It takes a level of confidence to speak out in the middle of BJJ class to ask for clarification. I imagine that every single one of us at some point has had a question that we didn’t ask out of fear of disrupting the class or being put on the spot. Private lessons eliminate this and allow you the opportunity to get very specific in terms of improving your BJJ. You can make note of your most difficult situations do deal with, and have your coach focus primarily on that. With private lessons you learn what you want to learn.
7) Attend a seminar.
If it is at your school or another school, attend a seminar! They are great fun and it gives you an opportunity to meet new BJJ friends and connections! Many of the people who have helped to expand Brazilian Jiu Jitsu throughout the world regularly come to your town! What other sport allows you to train with it’s legends and superstars the way ours does? Very few. The wealth of knowledge that can be gained from a seminar far outweighs the minimal cost. That minimal cost also serves to keep academies open, and legendary teachers eating.
8) Visit another school.
Schools have open mats for a reason! Take advantage of them. You can learn some new techniques and perspectives. You can have a competitive roll with people that you haven’t rolled with before but the added tension of competing is not present. Visiting another school, more times than not, will make you appreciate your school (and instructors) even more!
9) Learn to relax more.
Do people always tag you in any post that involves being a spaz? Are you fearful of being submitted under any circumstance? That is all fine and well but know that there is something to be learned from being able to relax on the mats. The best explanation I have ever heard about relaxing and thinking on the mats is this one here by Ryron Gracie.
10) Compete at least once.
Competing one time is as valuable as months of training at the academy. There is something to be gained from preparing for competition. The tension that you feel and conquer during the buildup is worth it alone. You suddenly find yourself eating better and hanging out at the academy more. You find yourself growing closer to the other folks who compete at your academy. Your coaches work closely with you helping you improve in the areas that they see you needing work. On competition day, you find out truly where you stand at your level. You will medal, or you will not. For sure though, you will have learned many valuable lessons, and had the greatest time of your life.
More than likely you already adhere to the principled good habits above. If that is the case than great! You will be sure to have a successful year practicing our favorite sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!
As always thanks for reading!