Earning a new belt in any martial art is a proud accomplishment for most athletes. Earning that new title and getting to dawn a new color around your waist is an honorable feeling. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the belt ranking system is unique, in comparison to other martial arts. While some forms of MA take only a few months to advance in belt ranking, BJJ holds to a much stricter set of guidelines for moving up.
The White Belt is sometimes compared to an empty cup. The main goal of starting out in BJJ is to create a strong frame of reference about the sport. There is so much to learn when it comes to BJJ, but first the fundamentals must be achieved. Finding out exactly what the art entails is crucial to fully appreciating where your career may lead. Another aspect that White Belts must master is relaxation. For most of us, relaxing is something that is hard to come by with ease. If you are unable to train yourself to relax when practicing BJJ, you lose sight of what is at hand. As mentioned in my fundamentals blog last month, leaving your ego at the door is an important beginner’s step. Starting out, you will be beaten, a lot. You must accept that and be able to move on with your emotions in check.
While the White Belt is about learning the foundations of BJJ it is also about getting yourself in shape. If you are serious about your training, a good portion of the conditioning required for BJJ will come naturally during classes. While BJJ alone will greatly improve your health and fitness, if you are training for competitive purposes, supplementing with weight and cardio training is highly recommended. In addition to learning about the ins and outs of BJJ, White Belts often find themselves discovering their body and its abilities.
Setting goals for yourself as a white belt is one of the most beneficial practices you can do for yourself. Being able to see where you have progressed from your first day is something that helps to build confidence and your abilities as a athlete. Many will choose one position to master and stick with it before moving on to another technique. Learning BJJ is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and dedication to become the best practitioner you can be. Having the patience and understanding of the sport is the first things all White Belts must have before moving on to the blue belt.
Stay tuned for a breakdown of each belt in the near future!