As a white belt, we are constantly looking for tips, tricks, and advice from the professionals on how to be more efficient, how to go further faster, ultimately, just how to survive our time as a white belt and come out the other side still training and in love with the process.
Craig Jones provides us with a few tips that helped him as a white belt, in Australia where he didn’t have access to high level Jiu Jitsu instruction.
The first tip is to use the resources available to you. Craig mentions finding instruction wherever you can and making the most of it. BJJ Fanatics has a huge library of video instruction for the top instructors in the world for this very reason. Having access to this level of instruction in the comfort of your own home is an incredible benefit that has not always been available. If you are able to take a few minutes each day to study a technique, I mean really study it, your game will catapult to the next level in no time. Sitting down and watching someone like Professor John Danaher go over every single detail on the Triangle from guard for example will make you a professional at that technique. On technique at a time and before you know it, you’re a blue belt, or a purple belt, or maybe even brown or black.
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Don’t take time off. Over the years Craig has seen many people take substantial time off only to come back and try to “catch up” to the training partners they were used to being on the same level with, only to get hurt from over training, or careless training ultimately leading to more time off and repeating the vicious cycle. Rather than do this, Craig recommends you train as much as you can, but with a focus on consistency, just keep showing up and never stop. The best way to get better at Jiu Jitsu is to train Jiu Jitsu. It always makes me laugh when someone misses class to go to Yoga so they can get more flexible for Jiu Jitsu or misses class to go to the gym and bench press so they can get stronger for Jiu Jitsu. This is not the way to get better at Jiu Jitsu, that’s the equivalent of driving your car to get better at flying a plane…
Compete. Competition can be scary for sure. But at the end of the day, putting it all on the line and going for it is going to force you to grow in your Jiu Jitsu journey faster than those that are not competing. The thing about competition is, first of all, it’s that lingering thought in the back of your mind driving you, when the motivation to train fails you, this will drive you to class. Next, the level at which you train will increase. Any time we train with someone that is getting ready to compete, it is always next level. The reality of it is you are facing another person with a similar skill set, and similar weight, the winner is almost always going to be the person who put the time in and prepared more than the other. In addition to training more, and training harder, competition preparation will likely also include you watching your diet, depending on your body type that may be a concern for you, or something you need to keep a close eye on at the very least. When it’s all said and done, walking out on the mats to compete takes courage, a lot of courage. That courage carries over into all other parts of your life.
While these tips were designed for white belts, I think this is fantastic advise for anyone interested in advancing their Jiu Jitsu journey, regardless of rank. Remember, when it comes down to it, Jiu Jitsu is a fairly linear process, time invested equals skill set. Sure, there are multipliers, like studying video instructionals and competing, but for the most part, the more time spent learning Jiu Jitsu, the better you will be at Jiu Jitsu – crazy thought, I know.
If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to video instructionals, I have personally taken a liking to John Danaher and Tom DeBlass’ teaching styles. I like Tom’s style because it’s battle tested and built to make big guys move like smaller guys, and I like John’s style because, well, to be frank the guy doesn’t leave out a single detail, and he seems to always give you the why behind the action.
If I were you, I’d start with “Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes: BJJ Fundamentals – Go Further Faster” by John Danaher and “Ripped in 12 Weeks Intermittent Fasting & Easy Bodyweight Fitness” by Tom DeBlass. These two video instructionals will help you build a strong healthy diet, while building functional strength and a foundation of Jiu Jitsu fundamentals from the best in the business. You’re welcome in advance!