White Belts Are The Most Important People At The Gym…
The culture of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies provides a wonderful environment for all grapplers but especially for new students. Although many are anxious before they ever step foot on the mat, the addiction that takes over them after their first class can’t be ignored. Although many people fall in love with the sport itself, it is the unique social structure and culture of these places that trigger a constant desire for more.
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When I first started Jiu Jitsu, I was adorned by all the help students around me provided. It is a beautiful experience in friendliness that many people will not experience elsewhere. I know that this is a common sentiment held by many grapplers, and because of that I wanted to write about a few ways you can help new students.
The first, and probably most important ways members of an academy can help a brand new student is by introduction. The new student probably won’t remember everyone’s names, but the gesture of having 20-30 students walk up to them just to welcome them is enough to eradicate the anxiety of starting this sport.
At our academy, a ranked student typically partners with a brand new student to show them some of the basic movements of Jiu Jitsu like hip escapes, bridges, and technical stand ups during the warm up period. This small way of helping can be hugely beneficial for a new student.
Providing help to white belts that have been around for some time is quite easy because they are very absorbent to new information. One thing I asked for a lot after rolling with an experienced student is feedback on what I did wrong and what I did right. This was extremely beneficial to me and as a result I do it with almost all students I roll with if there is enough time.
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You can also help less experienced students by partnering with them during class, showing techniques to them after class, and overall providing words of wisdom regarding many topics like competition. Also, if you notice a student is having a particularly rough day, contact them after class and talk to them for a little bit. This is something my instructor does a lot for all of us and is a big reason we have a very low turnover rate.
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