Keep a note book
This is a really good one. This is especially useful if you have not been in a learning environment for a while. It can take a while for you to become accustomed to taking on so much technical information. Writing up what you did in class once you get home, gives you time to think over what you did. Plus the actual process of recreating the moves in your mind helps embed them in your memory. Also if you can’t remember something you can ask at the next class.
Try and learn as much as possible
This may sound a strange thing to say, but you are trying to find what works for you. As a white belt there is a whole raft of techniques for you to learn. You will always focus on the basics to give you a solid foundation. But try and learn other techniques, it will give you an opportunity to understand how your body works. You may also learn something now that you are not sure about or doesn’t sync with the other things you like to play. But that’s good. You have experienced it and that experience is in the bank. It will then give you something to recognise if someone else try to play it on you. Or 6 months or 12 months down the line, it will come round again and the next it may work great.
Definitely ask questions and lots of them
Don’t be at all embarrassed about asking questions. Sometimes as adults we don’t want to appear dumb in front of others. But be the brave one and ask the question, I’m sure there will be 3 or 4 others who will be really pleased you did. Jiu jitsu is all about learning and the best way to learn is to ask. Look at kids they never stop asking questions, because they are keen to learn about everything. This is the same mindset you should adopt. If you get caught ask the person how they did it. If you defence didn’t work ask how they got around it. All of this will help you understand and improve.
Don’t be afraid to compete
Obviously if you have never any competitive combat sports before this thought may be daunting. But as a white belt it is the best time to dip your toe in. Everyone you will face will be a beginner like you. If you feel in danger or you are still able to tap and if you tap early so what? You have to look after yourself. You must always remember you will not be letting anyone down if you lose. Everyone will respect the courage it took to step up. The other good side to competing is it will give you something to focus on. Anything that you your opponent does that you don’t have an answer for, will give you something to ask about and work on back at the gym.
If you are going to compete learn the rules
This may seem like common sense, but that are some some little things in the rules that you need to know so you don’t give away easy points. The IBJJF is the main ruleset that most people work to and their rule book is on line, but it is also worth asking your coach or the competitors in your gym if they have any advice. Also be aware that different promotions, may have variations on the standard IBJJF rules so always check before competition day.
Be consistent with your training
Twice a week is way better than training 6 days straight and then not showing up for a month. We all have other commitments, but staying consistent will allow you to notice your improvements. This then motivates you even more. Having big gaps between classes buts you behind all the other guys that have been showing up regularly. This can take away your enthusiasm for training, especially if you started before these guys and they are now taking you over.
After reading through this I feel like number 6 is the most important. With what I have learned thus far, BJJ takes commitment and being constant with yourself. If you train on and off, you are more than likely never to advance and I think this is why so many people give up on BJJ.