It’s well known that the white belt is the toughest phase in anyone’s Jiu-Jitsu journey. It’s by far the stage most people drop out. As the entry level, the rule is you don’t know much and usually feel overwhelmed with hoiw much you need to work until black belt heaven.
Nevertheless, those who resist and power through the dreaded white belt will learn plenty of valuable lessons that will be worth for the rest of their journey. We decided to list five of this lessons to help you see a bit of the light at the end of the tunnel.
1. Being uncomfortable
As a white belt, you’ll be smashed on live roll. As you are still lacking most of the technical knowledge required for a good outcome in a Jiu-Jitsu match, more than often, you’ll find yourself in tough spots. Take in the experience and find a way to deal with those moments and you’ll get a huge edge on your future years on the mat.
2. Making (and correcting) mistakes
Marcelo Garcia likes to say that at first, Jiu-Jitsu didn’t make sense to him. Until one day something clicked and he started to understand how the art works. Regardless of whether you hear a click or not, the white belt is the time to make mistakes, correct them and learn as much as you can. The habit of recognizing your shortcomings and working hard to correct it is something you’ll use forever.
Someone once said: “When you speak, you are only repeating what you already know. When you listen, you might just learn something new.” This saying is specially important in the life of a white belt. Specially after a few months of training, don’t give in to the illusion of thinking you already know plenty. Listen to your coach, listen to your higher ranked teammates, listen… The white belt is the time to sink all in and process it to later on come up with your own thing.
Tap away. The white belt is the time to tap, stay healthy and train as much as you can. Tapping will also help you understand the workings of the very technique you got caught on. This will both teach how to attack and how to defend better.
5. Enjoying the moment
Every beginning is hard. You don’t know a lot and feel like everyone is looking at you and noticing your mistakes. Relax. Everyone has their own struggle and you should focus on yours. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the freedom of making mistakes and asking for help to grow faster and build stronger roots. Remember: a black belt is a white belt that didn’t quit.