Be Honest... how much did you suck and for how long when starting BJJ?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Evenflow80, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Evenflow80

    Evenflow80 Purple Belt

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    I'm just curious what people's experiences where starting BJJ. I'm a little over 3 months now and go daily to class but some days I feel like it's my first day on the mat, and others I submit other low level white belts like me.

    Blue and above I get demolished at thier leisure. I am probably one of the three smallest guys there at 5'8" and 170 pounds so I do decent against other white belts who are much bigger than me, so I tell myself that's a plus.

    What has been your experience starting out as a white belt and what rank are you now? Did you suck hard and now you ragdoll white belts with ease ? Are you big or strong?

    Thank you for the responses
     
  2. Ton

    Ton The master of Potato Plata

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    Been at it since 09, with some time off in between. I still suck.
     
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  3. randomg1t

    randomg1t EVERYTIME CHAMPION

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    i'm about 155lbs.

    when i first started off i was lucky because the class had a whole bunch of unathletic, unskilled dudes, and i already had some basic idea about what i should be doing, just by being an mma fan for a while. but any of the guys that knew what they were doing ran through me.

    i'm a brown belt now. i still get my ass handed to me on a daily basis - by my black belt instructor. i have wars with the big badass purple belts. sometimes they smash me, sometimes i smash them. blue and white belts aren't much of a challenge, most of the days.

    this is after almost a decade of training. don't worry about being clueless after 3 months. hell, you'll feel clueless 3 years into training. only in the past couple of years have i felt that my arsenal of technique is not expanding anymore, but sharpening instead. and still, i sometimes feel clueless.

    keep training, no matter how bad you think you are. just show up, every time. you'll still get your ass handed to you often, but one day you'll realize there's a whole bunch of guys in your class you can probably beat without even trying.
     
  4. Was at Pride GP 2000

    Was at Pride GP 2000 Brown Belt

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    When I started I was young and pretty athletic. I caught on pretty quick and even won our first in house tournament and the first gracie tournament they ever put on.

    Then I switched schools and I felt like I sucked for a year cause their game was different . instead of learning their game I kept trying to make my game work . that was a long year. then I opend my.mind and learned to learn.

    By the way there are still days I still feel like I suck. it's not a bad thing
     
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  5. These Two Hands

    These Two Hands Our revenge will be the laughter of our children

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    How much? A lot

    For how long? Until I realised it was irrelevant to measure my own journey against anyone else's, that I do BJJ/grappling because I love and enjoy it and that's all that matters. I probably still suck, but I don't really think about it. I'm not going to stop doing something I love just because I can't be the best at it - and at the end of the day, I'm better than I was yesterday, and white belt me would think I'm fucking amazing.

    All the best.
     
  6. fishNjits

    fishNjits Blue Belt

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    I'm 53 years old and ten months into training. For some perspective, I'm a three-stripe white belt.

    I feel like I've started twice in that ten months.

    I started at Redzovic in Chicago. The beginner program was very self-defense centric more or less based on Gracie Combatives - the exact reason why I joined. We did do some positional sparring, but it was more along the lines of: If you're on the bottom, get a sweep. If you're on top, stay on top. Some work on arm bars, triangles and guillotines, but no real stress on submissions. While I was at Redzovic I received two stripes. I absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend it.

    In August of this year, I moved to the Des Moines area and in September began with NoCoast BJJ in Waukee. NoCoast's curriculum is based on Erik Paulsen's Combat Submission Wrestling. It was completely different from what I was learning, I was lost, and felt like a complete beginner all over again. I actually offered to give up my stripes if the coaches felt I should (they gracefully declined). I did catch on though and got my third stripe earlier this month.

    I suck. I know I suck. I'm going to suck for a long time. The key, I think, is to measure out your small victories. Tiny things that you do right are your victories.

    Saturday, my partner had me in mount, with his feet under my legs. I couldn't get my legs down to start the knee-elbow escape. My right foot moved his leg out of the way and I got my left leg down. I didn't think about it, it just happened. That was a victory.

    The first time I recognized a triangle was coming and I got my hand in to prevent it, was a small victory. Not getting tapped by a new blue was a small victory. The first time I pulled off a scissor sweep was on a no stripe white - but that was a small victory.

    The other day I attempted a kimura from guard. My partner grabbed his pant leg and I couldn't complete it. But just attempting and getting in position was a small victory.

    I thrive for these small victories. If I can get enough of them, then someday I may not suck.
     
  7. KikoJones

    KikoJones Blue Belt

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    Three months into a journey that can take upwards of a decade is just a drop in the bucket.

    It took me about 6 months of training to feel like I wasn't clueless but I still sucked. After two years I made Blue and I still feel like I suck. 2 1/2 year later I make Purple and I really feel like I suck.

    The key is to focus on the development of your technique and not the ability to Taps your team mate.
     
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  8. TheMood

    TheMood Green Belt

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    It was 6 months before I had some idea of what was happening to me. During those 6 months I would often ask my training partners to explain what just happened to me. There were times I didn't know which gi was choking me.

    I have been training over 4 years now and I still suck. However, everything is relative. Am I better than the new people, certainly. Am I better than the guys that have been training longer than me, certainly not. One thing that has helped me over the years is that I know there will always be someone better than me. I am not the best in the world and that is fine. I just try to focus on improving little by little. There are days that I feel like I am getting worse. I like to think this is all part of the natural process of learning. Even days were everything is going wrong I still enjoy the workout and the beat down. This is something you should do because you love it and think it is fun. As long as you are having fun and show up you will improve.

    The other thing you should be happy about is that people that know more than you are beating you at will. This is proof that what you are learning works. There would be something very wrong if on day one you were better than everyone else there. Why would you stay there and pay for what they're teaching?
     
  9. jr jr

    jr jr Purple Belt

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    I still suck. Not as much as a white belt but I know just the tip of the iceberg. Thats after 13 years of grappling, 7 or 8 years on just bjj.
     
  10. Edison Carasio

    Edison Carasio Excellence of execution belt Platinum Member

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    Obligatory "still suck" and I've been doing grappling and BJJ for about 3.5 years or so.

    At least BJJ is the one art where you can get choked out by an upper belt 5 times in a row but still feel like you "had a chance" lol
     
  11. jr jr

    jr jr Purple Belt

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    The thing is there is so much to know. The deeper I get the more I see giant holes in my game.
     
  12. sakfjgadsyukgf

    sakfjgadsyukgf Yellow Belt

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    To give you a more specific answer, after I'd been training for 18 months I'd say at 80-90% of the gym would still beat me in both gi and no gi, which was pretty discouraging. I definitely felt like I wasn't really getting any better for long stretches of time. On the other hand, I'm training at a pretty accomplished competition gym in a major US metro area. Guys here regularly place in well-known competitions.

    Somewhere after the 18 month mark, I got considerably better, probably because I upped my training volume (from averaging once or twice a week to three plus times, at least). I also somehow got my blue belt at around the 2 year mark, which I'm not sure I deserve but I somehow have. I feel like I have a small subset of things I'm really a blue belt at, and a much larger list of positions/skills I'm more of a middling white belt at. Obviously I just try to steer to the things I do well. For example I still really have no guard and couldn't submit a 6 month white belt from there, but I have crushing side control and some OK subs from there. You can guess where I try to steer the roll when sparring
     
  13. Balto

    Balto Silver Belt

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    There are always going to be some guys you can beat and some guys that can beat you, at least on certain days. That part really never changes.

    The sooner you can get rid of the feeling that you suck the better though. And that feeling is just mostly in your head.

    This is a hard activity. You're out there training on the mat when most people are back home on the couch. That's a win right there. Even a white belt should have some pride in that fact.

    And the more you train, the better you will get. You will achieve small goals along the way. Be proud of those too. Focus on the wins, not the losses.

    Just believing in yourself is not enough to win all the time. Sometimes you get smacked back to reality. We've all been there.

    Not believing in yourself is a great way to lose all the time though. Even if you are more technically skilled, have a better strategy, are in better shape, etc. -- if you roll the whole time thinking that you deserve to lose, somehow you'll find a way to lose. It just happens.

    Really just having some confidence and pride in yourself is worth a belt level minimum. It's the easiest mat performance upgrade you'll ever make. You've just got to start thinking that way.

    I'm a black belt training BJJ for about 13 years.
     
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  14. Evenflow80

    Evenflow80 Purple Belt

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    What an awesome post. Thanks man.

    And thank you to everyone who responded so far. Awesome Read!
     
  15. minimagpro

    minimagpro Purple Belt

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    Focus on gaining small victories. I've been on a big 'escapes' kick for the last few months and it's all I'm working. I get way more satisfaction nailing an escape against someone better than me than I do submitting people.

    It's all about the journey. I get destroyed regularly and I've been training on/off for 8 years.
     
  16. BJJ_Rage

    BJJ_Rage Gold Belt

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    unless you are a world class competitor, you will always suck. How bad you suck depends on the person talking about you. If you are a hobbist black belt, you will really really suck for some elite competitor. In the big scheme of things, you will suck till you turn purple or so, at that belt, you are pretty damn good and able to hold your own vs most guys, and you start to understand what jiu jitsu is all about.
     
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  17. Steve08

    Steve08 American Fedor Belt

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    Never tapped someone with an armbar or triangle in live rolling over a year or so. :(

    Or tapped someone with any submission from guard basically.

    Makes me feel like an absolute buffoon.

    I haven't really managed to consistently land any one takedown either. Also makes me feel like a buffoon.
     
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  18. ngarauru

    ngarauru nga ariki o nga kahui maunga

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    Maybe guard not your thing homie, maybe try a different guard
     
  19. ChumsGum

    ChumsGum Yellow Belt

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    If you train regularly, like 3 times a week, you should feel like you suck for the first 12-18 months. After that, you realize you still suck, just not as much as before.
     
  20. stevedaws

    stevedaws White Belt

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    I don't think that it is a matter of 'sucking'. Jiu jitsu is an art with so much to learn that nobody can ever really master it. You can become proficient. You can become so well versed in it that you become the best in the world. You can understand it well enough to teach the concepts in great detail. And it takes years just to develop the basics well enough to be able to show even a bit of style.

    I've been training for 4.5 years. It really takes a variety of good training partners to help to see where you personally are at. Rolling with brown belts who will let you 'try' and submit them while they calmly work on defense, big athletic spazzy white belts who require you to work hard to control them, or use more efficient technique to frustrate them and break them down without gassing, peers who started around the same time who push you while pushing themselves . . . etc.

    There are a bunch of ways to grow, so it really depends on your goals. I don't know that anybody ever has that 'ah ha' moment where it all just clicks.

    Sorry for the rant. To answer your question, I started when I was 31, but I was in solid shape at the time. I am/was 6' 1" 240. I'd played college football and had been lifting for a few solid years before dropping all that. I was probably deadlifting 450. So, I was pretty big and strong. I think my background in football helped with my overall balance and body awareness, but I was very average for a white belt. I always got my ass handed to me. And, as I got a bit better, I tried to apply what my instructors taught regarding using strength (which will cause you to gas). So, I would try and mentally tell myself that if I muscled out of a submission or had to use strength to gain a position/submission, that I didn't really do it right. This caused me to train differently, and I think it helped me to improve. I was also taught that I need to use my weight and that using weight to create pressure is jiu jitsu. That, I'm still struggling with.

    Good luck
     

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