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Your Top 5 Tips for the Newbie

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by RetardControl, May 18, 2008.

  1. RetardControl White Belt

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    Hey guys

    As I search the internet more and more for all things BJJ, I have come across alot of people wanting quick fixes. Every white belt in the land seems to have asked what he's doing wrong, why he's not getting better quickly and how he can quickly improve. Hell, I even seen a reputable BJJ Instructor offering a Black Belt in 3 years of training! So what I think might be a cool idea is if each person from this forum, knowledgable/experience or not, offer 5 pearls of wisdom that they know now and wish they knew when they started.

    Personally, I'm still quite new to training, but here are some things that helped me personally with my training:

    1. Practise what you're taught

    It's easy to think that because everyone at your class learnt that same technique you're never going to catch anyone with it, but your often wrong. I found one of the worst things I can do as a newbie is to look at some videos on YouTube or try and teach myself something from a book. The only time you get to practise these things are when you roll... and at thats the time it's going to be hardest. I think higher belts can probably incorporate self taught things into their game more, but as a newbie I really think you should stick with what you're taught.

    2. If it works, keep doing it!

    Speaking from a personal point of view, every guy at my gym has something that they're known for. A submission, a position, a transition anything. They found something that works for them and learnt all the ways into it, all the ways out of it and all the things to do based on how there partner reacts.

    3. As you get better, your team mates get better!

    There's nothing worse than someone who thinks that because they train, they should eventually start tapping everyone. When you're training, so are they! Everyone is getting better at a different rate and just because you're not tapping everyone doesn't mean you're not getting good.

    4. Watch as much as you can. Try not to get caught on execution of technique.

    I found that watching alot of competitions and live rolling helped me alot with my training. It helped me get a feel for the flow of a BJJ match and it helped me see how people move around and transitition. It helped me even more when I stopped focusing on "how did he set XYZ technique up" and just enjoyed watching the top competitors compete.

    5. Ask for help.

    If you roll with a higher belt and they tap you alot, ask them to help you. They will probably appreciate being asked and will only be too happy to help. Ask them to maybe vocalise what they see from the top to help you stop making mistakes. Have them talk through what they're thinking when you roll. I used to get kimura'd/americana'd alot on one side because I was trying to force my hand in for an underhook the wrong way. Alot of people pointed it out to me, I learnt the technique to force it and also to know when to be patient and my arm isn't so sore anymore :)


    Hopefully this will be a helpful insightful thread with some of the excellent guys on here sharing their wisdom. If not, well there's some tips that have helped a complete newbie go from being tapped constantly to being able to compete slightly with some higher belts :)
     
  2. lethalazn Purple Belt

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    6. When things aren't going your way, or when a technique isn't working, don't just struggle, ADJUST

    Adjusting your choke/Armbar when attempting to apply it as opposed to just cranking will yield better results, and save a TON of energy

    7. Breath, Stay Calm, "Just do the moves"

    "Just doing the moves" is actually the hardest thing to do in sparring. Anxiety/tension will make your technique sloppy, breath as you apply each step, o and it'll make you move more than the technique requires hence wasting energy. It's about about doing more, but achieving more with less.

    8. It's okay to suck (for the time being), being upset and angry about it will actually keep you that way

    That's why you're here anyways, it's totally acceptable (for the time being). I've seen people who forget to breath in sparring or get overly mad, and FORGET what mistakes they've made in rolling when asked what they did wrong, hence being unable to correct themselves.

    9. Make sure your body's comfortable with the moves

    If you memorized all the steps of a submission, but your body feels too awkward to adjust properly (i.e. you have problems moving your hips, you don't feel comfortable rolling), then stretch and drill the basic movements. You don't have to be a rubber guard/gogoplata player to benefit from leg behind head flexibility (look at Rickson and BJ Penn), flexibility will enhance your basic techniques (armbar/taking the back) even more.

    10. You probably won't be using any more than 3-5 submissions consistently/competitively during your first few years (at least with No-Gi)

    Which three? That depends on your body type, personal preference... Only three submissions? so what the heck do you learn? Well there's about 20+ setups leading to each submission (from different positions) so figure out a sub you like and learn all of their setups. O and don't you have to get a dominant position or angle yourself in the guard in some way first to get them? Yup that's right, worry about your sweeps, guard passing and takedowns first, you better know plenty of those. "Only" three submissions is a LOT more than it sounds. In fact, you can say that they're just icing on the cake compared to everything else you learn.
     
  3. Bucketbot Blue Belt

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    1) Work on technique.
    Do not focus on winning by strength along, work on and develop your technique now so that you do not fall into the trap of becoming a purple belt who is all strength and no technique...what do you do than when you run into another purple belt who is stronger...you have nothing to "fall back on"

    2)". Watch as much as you can, but don't pay attention to detail"
    I could not disagree with this more!
    PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL!
    , but only absorb as much as you are capable of! I do nothing but pay attention to detail when my instructor is demonstrating a technique, and it never fails i also come away with something each time, that i had either forgotten or missed the time before

    and that is all i have time for right now!:icon_chee
     
  4. STFUjiujitsu Blue Belt

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    Great post...The only few things I can add...

    1)If you think you have a submission and you crank it for 3-5 seconds either A)ask your partner what your doing wrong to make it tighter or B)transition to something else. If you have to force it, your doing it wrong.

    2)When you roll, always have a game plan. Sometimes when I roll I don't even go for a submission, I plan to transition my top game. Meaning go from mount to knee on belly to mount to side control to n/s. If I get put on my bottom, my only goal is to get back on top.

    3)Take things as they are. If your instructor or higher rank tells you something, don't ask why or argue, simply take it as it is and one day it will all make sense. Jiu-Jitsu is like writing a book with the chapters out of order, but once you read every chapter the book will make sense.
     
  5. 350 lbs fist Black Belt

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    1. Don't spazz

    2. Don't spazz

    3. Don't spazz

    4. Don't spazz

    5. Don't spazz too much

    :)

    Nah, seriously?

    Little guys: learn how to pass. No matter that you feel more comfortable on your back playing guard learning through failure to pass the guard is what will make you win fights vs other little guys.

    Big guys: learn how to play guard. No matter that you feel more comfortable being on top passing guard and crushing your opponent learning through failure to play guard will make you win fights vs other big guys.
     
  6. lethalazn Purple Belt

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    You're not joking, that really should be the top 5 tips for some newbies
     
  7. MonkeyNuts! Rear Naked Poker

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    1.) Start a training log. This will get your mind working to remember things, and with time you will get better and better at spotting the little details that make a technique successful. Look at the training log from time to time, and work on moves that you write down. Log how you are doing in rolling and things you feel you need work on, and refer to them later.

    2.) Positional Rolling. Don't half azz it because you'd rather roll and try to spazz tap that blue belt you've been eyeing for weeks. The age old mantra of position before submission holds true today as it did when Maeda was crossing the ocean.

    3.) Be aware of your hips. Hips are incredibly significant in any position or move you do. Get used to moving your hips around - really work on those shrimps, bridges, and other exercises your instructor probably makes you do during the warmup.

    4.) Don't go crazy on the internet or in the bookstore. The material you should be learning is what your instructor shows you on the mat. If you become so enamored with BJJ that you run off to the store and buy a library of books or spend every waking minute on youtube and then spend all your time in class trying out the Ice Pick from Chill Dog, you ignore the material your instructor has provided you, techniques that he knows works.

    5.) Check your ego at the door. Alot of things fall under this - ie "tap often" and "don't spazz". An uncontrolled ego leads to stupidity, which leads to people getting hurt. You shouldn't love losing or tapping, but channel whatever frustration you have towards WHY you got tapped, rather than at the wall or obscenities in the air. Accept that you are a student and still learning - this is actually something you will do every practice till the day you hang up your gi for good.
     
  8. Tony Manifold Brown Belt

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    I disagree. If you are passionate, stay that way. Read everything you can get you hands on, watch everything you can. But approach your training in a logical manner. If you can't hold closed guard for more than a minute, Rubber Guard is not the place to be. Practice the techniques that are appropriate for your level and save the rest for later. There is nothing wrong with come back to a book you have owned for years to learn a new technique.

    My tip, learn base, posture, and how to keep weight on your opponent. Everything is built of that.

    Edit: The reason, I say get those books is that it can keep the new guy motivated when he has spent the last two weeks learning the same technique. It shows him what is in store when he masters this set of techniques. Then he can move to the next set.
     
  9. slideyfoot Artemis BJJ Co-Founder

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    1. Training in class is about learning, not 'winning' or 'losing'. Instead of obsessing about tapping or not tapping, obsess instead about improving your technique: aim to make at least one small advance every lesson, and eventually that will all add up to some significant progress.

    2. Related to that, tap early and tap often. Your pride is not worth a broken arm and missing months of training. So, if you're caught, tap, don't wait for your partner to crank it.

    3. A good training partner will have a massive impact on your development, so if you find somebody who offers good advice during drilling and after sparring, make a point of trying to drill/roll with them as often as possible.

    4. This is basic, but: wash your body and your gi after EVERY session. As with broken arms, its not worth missing months of training due to some nasty skin infection you've picked up through having a skanky gi or not taking a shower. Not to mention nobody is going to want to train with someone who stinks.

    5. If you're having problems with something, ask. You're paying your instructor to teach you BJJ, so take advantage of that knowledge.

    Also, read this and this.
     
  10. Paedde Yellow Belt

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    Any more opinions on the internet thing? I just started and I think it helped me alot, but I'm wondering what all the seniors think.
     
  11. RetardControl White Belt

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    Thanks alot of those! I hadn't seen them before.
     
  12. lethalazn Purple Belt

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    You need a certain grappling base to get anything from a video or a book. Books are strictly for reinforcement, picking up details you may have missed from your instructor (as in...you've ALREADY learned the move in person) or maybe a detail you missed in sparring (maybe you didn't hear your instructor when he told you that u shouldn't be flat on your back when escaping and the book reminds you to do so)

    If you're working on guard passing, and the book/video shows you how to pass guard, or you learn some extra details of the RNC because you're having problems finishing it, a few extra details won't hurt you.

    On the other hand, if you're reading the book from the most famous Gracie there is, and you learn all these fancy/low percentage submissions, but you're always swept, mounted, unable to pass their guard and submitted before you know it because you didn't posture or stuck your arm out on a silver platter, what good is that going to do you?

    On the other hand, if you work on your conditioning, flexibility and movement (see bjpenn.com 's Open guard drills) and roll a LOT so you know where all the pieces (moves) fall into place, you'll absorb more from watching a video a lot more than if you didn't

    Here's another newbie tip
    Everyone hates losing, they think that not tapping to a submission=good jiu-jitsu, instead of thinking "I must never tap," think "I must never get have my guard passed/mounted/swept", if the other guy already has the sub deep in, you probably lost the fight already sometime beforehand
     
  13. Jd Hidlebaugh Amateur Fighter

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    Thanks for the tips guys.

    As a primarily stand up fighter, I just started my REAL no-gi training and am like a sponge, trying to soak up all the knowledge I can.

    As my instructors have told me... Since I'm new, work on NOT being submitted, rather than submitting people. When on top, keep the elbows in, work on keeping your hands on the opponents shoulders to keep him pinned, and RELAX!

    Same goes for when I have guard. Keep my feet locked, don't let him pass, and if possible, work for the submissions I have learned (The basics... Armbar and Triangles for me).

    By doing this, my game has progressed immensely from when I started. I have begun to work reversals into my game, most of which I picked up from watching the GI class. My favorite is when my opponent is in side mount, hook under his lead leg and bridge. I finally pulled it off Thursday and I was STOKED!

    Thanks for the tips guys! Hope I helped somewhat!
     
  14. Defy Unforgiven

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    Excellent thread. Lots of them, but always helpful.
     
  15. Jd Hidlebaugh Amateur Fighter

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    Don't be embarrassed to tap either...

    I've rolled with some stubborn, stubborn people. I had one guy in a deep kimura who would not tap. I finally just let go and told him he shouldve tapped. If I wouldve been an asshole I could have done serious damage to his shoulder.
     
  16. Chinaboxer Blue Belt

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    1. don't get comfortable flat on your back!

    2. keep your elbows in!

    3. if in doubt, shrimp it out!

    4. use your legs and thighs!

    5. breathe dammit...breathe. Stop holding your breath!
     
  17. salboski Brown Belt

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    Perfect the basics (don't try to learn every sub that you can)

    Watch your posture inside of someone's guard

    Learn during sparring and try the new things that you want to work on.

    Perfect your gameplan, and take in what compliments your game

    Don't be afraid to lose or tap during sparring.
     
  18. SFinclined Purple Belt

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    I think you should always remember "position before submission" but after you can hold position well it's fine to go look up new moves to play with. I think the problem is that alot of people want to just learn moves and not theory/concept. Ex. If you wanna learn how to do a rolling triangle from S-mount you damn sure better be able to get to and hold regular mount first.
     
  19. SilenceKit Green Belt

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    Start every roll by asking your training partner:

    "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?"

    Seriously, as a whitey myself, I appreciate the insight in this thread. You're good people.
     
  20. SilenceKit Green Belt

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    I've let go a few deep submissions because I didn't want to hurt my partner. It's a little frustrating for a whitebelt who is learning a new sub, and trying to figure out how far he needs to push something before hurting my partner. I end up having to ask "was my technique effective?"
     

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