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3 Pieces of Advice for the Jiu Jitsu Beginner

Every now and then I check in with someone new to see how they’re getting on, and also, to check how I can help other new people settle in and get the most out of training.

We’ve got a pretty clear beginner pathway through our Basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, but it’s funny how quickly you forget how things were when you were a beginner. It’s all very well being a black belt in Jiu Jitsu and giving advice, but if you can’t relate to what it’s like to start today, you are going to be pretty useless at dispensing advice.

So here’s three pieces of advice that are mixed with my experience as a black belt, and some of the things beginners have told me about their experience when they started in Jiu Jitsu.

1.      Embrace the Jiu Jitsu culture.

This is all about not feeling awkward. We wear a Gi (kimono, BJJ suit) and belt. So the first thing is, get one, and get used to wearing it. You don’t look ridiculous, in fact, you look like you’re here to train Jiu Jitsu. Same goes for rashguards and for any other things like lining up and bowing at the start of the class. Don’t feel awkward, you’re in Jiu Jitsu now, that’s just what we do.

Now the reason this is in the advice is because Beginners have told me that this was one of the worst things about starting. The alien nature of wearing the Gi for the first while, being worried about doing something wrong, standing out instead of fitting in.

Believe me, it won’t happen! You’ll be grand.

2.      Consistency beats intensity.

That’s a Bruce Lee quote, by the way, just in case you think I’ve come up with a great saying.

Around this time of the year we get some people throwing themselves into training. It’s great to see that enthusiasm, but the survival rate for that isn’t as good as the person who just keeps coming up regular as clockwork.

The great thing about that is that you can just be the bang average bloke or girl and just keep clocking the hours, and you’ll get good. You don’t have to do anything special, just arrange your life a bit so that you can train consistently week on week, and bingo, you get good.

Simple enough to be honest.

3.      Twice or thrice per week is good enough. (for now)

We are bombarded with inspirational quotes and motivational memes. They’re all full of crap, and they give us an unrealistic picture of what doing something like Jiu Jitsu is all about. Anyone who hits Jiu Jitsu with a David Goggins type intensity is going to crap out in the first few months.

Now do we have 7 times a week savages? Oh yeah, quite a few, but they grew into that. They started coming 2 or 3 times per week consistently, and then over time they made an informed decision that this is what they wanted to do.

I’ll never forget the guy who came up the stairs one time and declared to me he was going to be a pro fighter. I said “well first you’ve got to be an amateur fighter, and even before that, you’ve got to be a beginner”. He threw himself at it and was gone within a few weeks.  I admired his moxy and I’d never try to smash a dream, but he just didn’t enjoy training. He didn’t like the sport! How can you do anything you don’t enjoy! This isn’t punishment! This is cool!

And oh! I used the word Thrice! You don't see that much anymore. Some Mary Poppins language for you.

So there you have it- train a few times a week, settle in and enjoy, and keep it consistent.

See you on the mat,


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