Ultra Newb BJJ tips
I was going to make this about a single tip that I told two different white belts yesterday. Instead I think we could stand to have a thread for BJJ newbs that is specifically targeted at the less than 3 months crowd.
Please only add tips that are appropriate for and targeted at less than 3 month newbs.
My first tip is something I see all the time. I call it grip tunnel vision. Lots of newbs will freak out and focus on my hand as soon as I grab a collar grip. This is because they have been choked that way before and think that getting the hand off is the best way to stop from getting choked. I've seen cases so bad that the only point of contact I have is a lapel grip and they are immediately using both hands to try to break the grip.
Remember POSITION BEFORE SUBMISSION.
Resist the urge to immediately grab the hand that is on your collar and instead grab my collar or the sleeve near my elbow or better yet both! Your priority should be to gain control over your opponents body. That is what they just did by grabbing your lapel and pushing you around.
So next time you roll and your opponent grabs your collar don't forget it is not the end of the world. They can't do anything with that grip until they have control over the rest of your body. So grab their collar right back and try to get control of their body first.
My second tip is especially for small guys. You may be getting blown over by other newbs and therefore always working off your back but that doesn't mean that you should give up and start ONLY working off your back. This is a problem that I had that turned out ok in the end but I think I held myself back for about a year because of it.
If you are always in the postion of often getting shoved back and only working from half guard or guard you will not develop the other parts of your game. This can actually work for quite a while and I've even seen blue belts that essentially only have a guard game. In BJJ the guard is very important but it is NOT the only position.
So how do you start working other positions? There are a couple of good ways but the first and easiest is to just ask! If you are working with a bigger or more experienced guy ask him if you can start on top. I will often give top side control to newbs so they can practice from that position and I can practice retaining and sweeping. It really is that easy. The better your partner is the more likely they will let you stay on top almost all the time.
The other option is to make sure that you are never square to your training partner. Huh? What I mean is that if you are a guard puller and you are sitting on your butt with you shoulders straight at your partner you are only going one direction. Straight back and into guard. Instead try starting in combat base and angling off so that you aren't directly in front of them. Even if this gets annoying and you just want to sit on your butt don't do it. Stay in combat base and try to get in their half guard instead.
I thought other people would contribute but I guess I need to give them more than 10 minutes.
My third tip for Ultra Newbs is the simplest. STAY OFF OF YOUTUBE!
Seriously, if you are using any 10th planet stuff or Submissions101 stuff and aren't training at a CACC place or a 10th planet gym JUST STOP!
Guard, Mount, Side control, back mount and half-guard are all the positions you should be concerned with. If your school even allows submissions at your level you should stick to stuff they taught you in class. Most likely armbar, kimura, rear naked choke and cross collar choke.
The beginning is the time to focus on your fundamentals. Even if your buddy who started at the same time as you starts tapping all the newbs with weird stuff he saw on youtube resist the urge to find stuff outside of class and focus on your basics.
Retaining guard is 1000x more important than tapping a whitebelt with a peruvian necktie. Sweeping people is so much more important that tapping people that it isn't even in the same league. Work your bump sweep and your scissor sweep until people ask you stuff like "Why don't you ever do anything but bump sweeps?" When everyone in class is annoyed that all you do is sweep them at will maybe then take a look at youtube.
CALM DOWN AND LOOSEN UP.
So many white belts approach a rolling session tense as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, with every muscle as tight as they can make them, in order to apply MAXIMUM POWAAHHH! to every change in postion or grip. This causes two problems:
1. Because you are tense, you have no sensitivity to small scale movements...and the best sweeps or subs are nothing more than a series of small scale movements.
2. Because you are tense, you are going be completely exhausted in about two minutes (imagine trying to jog a mile with every muscle tensed) and then you will get the wonderful experience of having another person sit on your face trying to break your arms while you are too tired to even throw up.
You are confused and don't know what to do when rolling? Totally normal. You will frequently be in positions that your instructor hasn't talked about and even if you do recoginze what is going on, you forget what you are supposed to do because you panic.
Just focus on doing once less thing wrong every time you roll. Got armbarred because you pushed on your opponent's chest when he mounted you? Don't do it again.
Eventually you will stop making the mistakes that get you tapped. You will survive longer and you will calm down because you know you can survive. Since you survive longer you will have time to work escapes. From there the rest of the game will start to open up.
And don't get discouraged because you keep getting tapped by even the experienced white belts. That is how you know the training works.
Something I notice a lot with new folks is that they mention their lack of submission knowledge before rolling.
Originally Posted by WhiteShark
You should be focusing almost exclusively on your movement and your positioning. Getting dominant position on someone but not knowing how to work a submission from there is a good problem to have, but not a problem you are going to have very often when you are new.
Also, and this is very important, ROLLING DURING TRAINING IS NOT A CONTEST. It is not competition or a street fight, and tapping out doesn't mean you "lost". I am not saying you shouldn't try your best, but the point of a good training environment is to take risks in order to learn new things and refine your skills. If you are afraid of losing you won't do that. Don't worry about being tapped, it is going to happen, and happen a lot. Suck it up and try again, it's all part of the game.
Do not stop while you're laying on your back in guard. Ever. Stay on your side as much as possible. In fact the only time you should be on your back in the guard is for one second when you're in the middle of shrimping from one of your sides to the other.
The reason for this is because 90% of having a successful guard comes down to hip mobility. If you're on your side, your hips are mobile. If you're on your back, they're not.
I've only been doing BJJ about a year and a half now but maybe one of the more experienced guys can throw in 2 cents on this one. Occasionally, I'll roll with a total newb like our >3 months scenario guy here. Usually I experience this more with bigger guys, occasionally he'll get a collar choke almost or some other sub, sometimes it's not even a sub but a wierd positional advantage. For my example we'll say a collar choke, the guy doesn't have the choke and despite a few efforts to work into it he can't get the choke because I'm practicing my choke defense. The guy will then crank the **** out of the choke and still won't get the sub, then it becomes a waiting game. For one reason or another I can't work an escape and the guy won't transition to another move. Sometimes I wait for his grip to burn out, other times I just tap because neither of us is really learning any technique from the crappy choke attempt. I suppose the mature thing to do would be for me to submit, but me being relatively new myself I feel some of these guys are just being dicks and I hate to give a sub to a dick who tries to use strength over technique.