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Dear New White Belt

Welcome to the wonderful world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). We hope you stay on your journey for years, become truly good at it, make lifelong friends, and find a fun way to stay fit. You may find that your first three to six months are the toughest period of your BJJ journey. To reap the benefits, however, you must make it past this initial stage. For this reason, we wanted to give you some advice on how to make it past your first six months.

The Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Pay Attention: Your instructor will show you a few basic techniques in each class. To observe attentively is to remember distinctly.
Drilling is better than training: While live sparring is important to learning a technique, drilling a technique with little or partial resistance is more important. You may use a bump-and-roll three times in a six-minute training session, but drilling a bump-and-roll 30 times in six minutes is better for you.
Relax: Tensing up is a fight or flight reaction, and you can’t use technique effectively when in fight or flight mode. Many students just starting BJJ need indicators that they are tense, and the best one is your ability to breathe. If you’re feeling out of breath, it’s likely because you’re tense.
Muscle is finite; BJJ is infinite: You will undoubtedly train with other white belts who are smaller and weaker than you, and you will be tempted to smash them with strength. But don’t. If you rely only on technique against smaller people - you will be able to use technique against folks your own size as well.
Use only what you’ve learned in class: Stick to techniques you’ve learned in class for at least six months, before attempting anything you’ve seen on YouTube or other media.
Prepare to be challenged: Unless you were a hardcore athlete in school, BJJ will push your body harder and take it farther than you ever thought possible. This great martial art will also challenge you mentally and emotionally. You will experience times of doubts, but life and BJJ are about breaking past the doubt.
Tap and avoid injuries: Every injury you avoid means additional weeks or months on the mat. So tap early, tap often and stretch. Call it quits when you just can’t go any further.
Be a good training partner: Practice good hygiene, trim your nails, don’t train while sick or with a skin infection. And, most importantly, don’t use illegal techniques (slams, neck cranks, and many other techniques are illegal).
Keep it clean: Shower after practice; wash your gi; wear flip flops when you walk off the mat and especially in the restroom or locker room.
Embarrassment is fickle: You won’t embarrass yourself by asking how to tie your belt; asking to see a technique again; being tapped by a woman; or asking a higher belt how she tapped you.

If you make it through your first six months, then you could be the future of BJJ. We hope you have a long and successful BJJ journey.