It can be incredibly difficult being a beginner in BJJ, but there are several different tips that can help you stay safe and develop your skills as quickly as possible. Nothing comes easy and there’s always going to be a learning curve regardless, picking up any new skill is going to take time. Being able to bear in mind a few key tips when going through a roll in BJJ class can also help a beginner become a good training partner as you become more mindful. It’s not quite that simple of course, because knowing what to do is a whole different thing to actually doing it in training. These five tips aren’t universal either and there are certain situations when you can safely ignore them; but it’s good for a beginner to learn the rules first, and then learn when to break them in BJJ.
BJJ Beginner Tips
An Extended Arm Is Not A Useful Arm
Your arm is only strong when your elbow is close to your body and the further extended it is, the weaker it becomes. When trying to make frames, you’re only going to be successful when your arms are close to you instead of being over-extended. Not just that, but over-extending your arms also leaves the space between your armpit and hip open. With that space clear, a smart opponent will immediately occupy it and start advancing position or solidifying the position they are already in. By keeping your elbows tight, you will be able to stay strong when framing and do better at denying positional control.
The Best Time To Escape Is Immediately
Nothing worth having should ever come easy, and that applies to positions too. Your opponent should never be able to advance position and feel stable and secure from the start. Once they are secure, escaping just became ten times harder than it was before. That’s part of the reason why every point-scoring transition is required to be held for three seconds before they go up on the board. That rule encourages all competitors to fight like hell for the first few seconds that their opponent advances position, which is undeniably the best time to escape.
If You Can See The Back, You Can Take The Back
Scrambles can often be overwhelming for new starters, and it can seem like a mess of legs and arms until you eventually end up stopping. It’s hard to maintain focus in the heat of the moment and it’s something that can take years to really get good at but knowing where to go is half the battle. Even if you don’t have the bodily awareness and technical ability to perform quality transitions mid-scramble, you can always keep an eye out for a good position. The easiest one to keep in mind is that if you manage to see both of your opponent’s shoulders from behind them, then you can start to take their back.
Get On Top, Stay On Top
Playing guard can often be incredibly tempting, especially for lighter people who may find themselves on the bottom more often anyway. While it’s obviously valuable to work this part of the sport and everyone should become a good guard-player, on top is where most of the points are scored for a reason. It’s much more draining to be the person on bottom working to escape than it is to be the person on top working to submit, and more mistakes are made the more tired someone becomes. As an added bonus, if you’re working to gain top position at all times then more submission opportunities present themselves from the bottom as well.
Look At What Is Stopping You Passing And Get Rid Of It
Passing guard is one of the more complex aspects of BJJ for a beginner to understand, but this is one of several tips to keep in mind so that you can simplify the process. There’s several different guard-passing techniques and each guard requires a slightly different sequence in order to begin each pass. Given that this adds up to a hundred or more different techniques, it’s far easier to approach guard-passing conceptually instead. When you’re attempting to progress forward, look at what grip or frame is preventing you from continuing and address that first. If you’re working around frames and breaking grips as you’re progressing through their guard, you’re going to naturally start setting up your own passes and you’ll be in less danger while you’re executing them.