- To get better you have to roll with the best guys:
A common misconception is that in order to get good at Jiu Jitsu you need to be rolling with the toughest most experienced guys. This is not necessarily the case. The best way to improve is to constantly drill a single technique over and over again! Practice makes perfect, as they say. According to Joe Rogan a BJJ black belt, the best way to improve is to “strangle blue belts”. By training with people not on your level it allows you to practice techniques better and as a consequence improve. It is however important to roll with purple and black belts as it allows you to perceive what is achievable and to let you know there’s a whole another level of jiu-jitsu.
- The GI is a waste of time for self-defense:
The GI is a sensitive topic in jiu-jitsu and thanks to the increasing popularity of MMA the GI is taking a lot of heat from new students. However in reality people are not walking around half naked, everyone in the northeast of the United States wears a jacket at least six months out of the year. What people don’t realize is that the GI is a jacket. If you end up in any type of altercation during those six months you’re more likely to be able to use the jacket against your opponent than if you didn’t train in the GI. According to Matt Serra, in order for any of his students to get a blue belt they should be able to choke someone wearing a North Face jacket out. Training in the GI is also very important because it teaches you the correct defense because you cannot rely on slipping out of stuff.
“If they wear it, we can choke them with it” – Rener Gracie.
- Wait a while before competing:
White belts often say they want to get more experience or even get their blue belt, before they compete. You should try to get as much experience as early on as possible because at white belt there really is no pressure and it is all about learning. The act of signing up for a competition alone increases your motivation and focus. The date getting closer and closer each day give you a push to train harder it gives you a tangible goal. As John Kavanagh (head coach at Straight Blast Gym Ireland) says “Win or learn”. Compete early and often and watch your technical skills improve leaps and bounds over your peers.
- You can learn Jiu Jitsu online:
No you can’t. Sure, there are some great people out there posting relevant techniques on YouTube, but nothing can take the place of drilling on the mats.
That’s not to say that YouTube videos are useless. With the aid of an instructor, video instruction and learning can be a valuable part of anyone’s education. However, without proper advice as a beginner it’s hard to distinguish good technique from terrible.
Misinformation can be one of the most detrimental things to trying to learn anything, and jiu-jitsu is certainly no exception.
- Size and Strength don’t matter:
Yes they Do. While it is true most students of Jiu-Jitsu have had the humbling experience of being repeatedly tapped by a much smaller person, “Ceteris Paribus” other things being equal, size matters. Sometimes size, strength and athleticism can overcome technique, this should not discourage you from improving your skills, it simply means in order to get the most out of your training you should incorporate a strength and conditioning workout. World class trainer Steve Maxwell suggests a simple weightlifting session a couple of times a week to maintain absolute strength and hard rolling to build conditioning. For athletes who don’t find they are being challenged enough during rolling, he suggests exhausting yourself with circuits before training.