Common Mistakes in BJJ and Martial Arts

Rookie Mistake in BJJ and Martial Arts

Many people who practice BJJ and martial arts generally make this mistake, which hurts them in the long run. Instructors hate it when a white belt asks about a move or technique that requires more dexterity than the new martial artist is ready for and leaves out much easier, more useful ways to solve the problem the white belt is trying to solve by using this more advanced move.

It’s not that they don’t think those methods are good. There’s a good chance that they do use them. They get angry when people ignore the most basic techniques that have been shown to work year after year in sports tournaments and self-defense situations.

Basics are Important

If you try to drill inverting to stop the guard pass before you know how to shrimp, it’s like putting up walls before making the foundation of a house. You can look at the finished item and think, “Wow, that looks pretty good, and I only spent half as much time building it.” But this is not where the tragedy is. That house will be a mess when it starts to sink into the ground in a year.

A white belt might do fine inverting against another white belt in the gym, but the wet blue belt will be able to see where the white belt is weak because of his lousy base. This person’s BJJ game will be smashed and fall apart faster than that old, rickety house that doesn’t have a foundation, even if our white belt makes it to the purple belt with his dynamic game and flashy techniques. That’s when the “black belts” show up.

An Instructors Tale

I worked hard to learn the rubber guard, the X-guard, and any other guards I could find on YouTube during my first year of BJJ and the years after that. I counted on being able to bend and keep my guard up. As a white and blue belt, I did really well with this. After being a purple belt for a while, I learned that once I swept someone, I couldn’t do anything offensive from the top position. I wore a purple belt, but I was as good as a white belt! It took me years to get better at BJJ and for my best skills to catch up to my worst ones. Realizing that only one side of my Jiu-Jitsu skills was good was awful. Early on, I should have worked on basic sweeps. Once I had a few basic sweeps down, I should have used them to get on top and start working on my passing and top submission skills.

It’s been almost five years, and now both my top game and my basics are great. But I can only think how much better I would be at these basic moves if I had worked on them from the start. I still feel bad about it.

Final Thoughts

Don’t whine, complain, and wish that the drills were more spectacular and thrilling the next time you are in class practicing the mount cross choke or the torreando pass for the fifth time in just one year of BJJ instruction. Instead, approach them with a sincere desire to learn, understanding that your teacher only has your growth and best interests in mind. He is getting you ready not for the next week of BJJ but for the years to come as you go from white to blue to purple to brown and finally to black belt.

Recent Post