The Path From White Belt to Blue Belt
When you start training BJJ for the first time you discover how much fun it is.
You get excited learning how to apply your very first submission. Your confidence starts to build by learning how to escape dangerous positions against someone much larger than you. You build friendships on the mats with your teammates and instructor who are there to help you every step of the way. All of this makes it easy to see why people choose to stay in BJJ for the long term.
The white belt is known as the belt of survival since you are relying on instinct and always playing defense. After your first 6 months is when you start to notice the real progress both physically and mentally. You start getting more chances of playing the role of the hammer instead of always being the nail as new students join the academy. Your mind and body start to work together allowing you to have better outcomes during live training. You actually feel confident enough to show a new student something basic that you once thought was challenging.
Unfortunately, not everyone sticks around long enough to experience these benefits of training Jiu-Jitsu and earn a blue belt because of certain mental factors such as the following:
Unrealistic Expectations as a Beginner -When you are brand new to this, you will experience A LOT of days where you feel lost because things are not clicking for you right away. Like any professional skill, you can’t expect to get really good at this in just 1 or 2 months. Focus instead on celebrating small achievements whether it is getting through an entire class without feeling so exhausted, being able to hit a specific technique in live training, or earning your first stripe.
Comparing Yourself to Others – The quickest way to make BJJ unenjoyable is to compare yourself to another person in the room. If someone appears to be picking things up quicker than you that’s fine. Everyone is different and achieves success/progress at different rates. A good instructor won’t talk down to you, but instead encourage you to be better and acknowledge your success no matter how big or small. You should only worry about being better than you were the day before.
Mindset of Wins and Losses – No one gets a medal for tapping people out in the training room. Your instructor is happy for you when you start to show confidence in your training and how you progress through finishing your submissions and techniques during live training, but but we greatly appreciate those who aren’t afraid to make mistakes in training because it shows you are exploring the positions and techniques during your live training. If you want to progress faster, make as many mistakes as you can early on so you get the repetitions to refine your technique correctly over time.
A skill like BJJ takes time to develop and the reward is that much greater for those that can stick through those brief periods of failure. Consistency is key, which means showing up regularly and holding yourself accountable so that you don’t get into the habit of forming excuses for failing to get the results you sought out to achieve. The path from white belt to blue belt can range anywhere from 1-2yrs depending on the individual. It’s not a race to a final destination so enjoy every step of the journey.
In closing, listen to your instructor as I will always guide you in the right direction to what I feel is best for you, leave your egos at the door so you can have fun in your training, make as many mistakes as you can so your success rate will go up, and always show respect for one another because you can’t achieve success without them.