Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, like any other sport, involves both beginner, intermediate, and advanced techniques and moves. Without mastering these basic moves and techniques, you won’t be able to progress to black belt status. However, the “basics” don’t exactly mean the same thing for everyone and can vary by instructor and student. But generally speaking, the things we talk about in this blog are things you should have mastered as you progress through your training. They should be second nature so that you are able to focus more of your time and resources on more difficult techniques.
One of the simplest and most basic techniques in any sport is relaxation. Although it being entirely relaxed and comfortable is by no means required or even possible in a high-pressure spar, you will need a certain degree of relaxation to pull off moves and defeat your opponent. Having a feeling of tension in your legs, back, or shoulders can lead to injury, unneeded stress, and generally stunt your progress and abilities by making you more tired, more quickly.
When it comes to finding relaxation while sparring ultimately comes down to having the right balance. You don’t want to be too relaxed, preventing you from pulling off any move at a moment’s notice. And if you’re a competitive person, you may find yourself becoming too tense to compete. Although part of this could be performance anxiety, a lot of it just comes down to the mindset you have while competing. Try to concentrate all of your energy into what you’re doing and not the nerves or the fear of losing. This takes a lot of time to develop, but once you do, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your performance.
Just like relaxation, your breathing patterns can be somewhat of a mind game. It may seem silly to do breathing exercises before you begin training, but think of it this way: your body has a built-in mechanism that causes your diaphragm to contract whenever you need oxygen. You don’t have to think about breathing during all times of the day, and each breath that you take in isn’t a gasp for air, it’s a nice even flow of air.
The breathing you do while competing needs to be just as natural and instinctive as when you’re at rest, but the amount of intake will need to be far greater due to how hard you’re working. This is why we do breathing exercises. Find a breathing exercise that works for you and stick with it. Even during the most high-stress moments in sparring, you’ll notice a huge difference in the way you breathe and eventually, it will become second nature.
Another important aspect to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is consistency. Not necessarily just with your moves and techniques, but with your training regimen as a whole. As with any sport, learning BJJ is all about repetition, especially for a beginner white belt. Although you can certainly just do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the side for fun, if you want to progress and make it a significant part of your life, you’re going to need to make a commitment and stick with it. Think about it this way: it’s better to commit some time each day to training rather than training really hard once or twice a week. As a white belt, it should be your highest priority to reinforce good form and technique as much as possible and not get yourself in a situation where you’re reinforcing bad habits.
Gripping is a fundamental component of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and there are three distinct components involved in doing it correctly. Strength is the first component, mainly in your fingers and hands. Naturally, your fingers and hands will become stronger as you train and compete, however, if you want to increase their strength even further, try doing additional strength training in your off-time. And if you’re having trouble finding something that works for you, you may want to seek help from someone in a sport like rock climbing where hand strength is everything.
The second aspect of great gripping is your efficiency. It doesn’t matter how much finger and hand strength you have, if you’re gripping too tightly, you’re not going to have the endurance to hold on the entire fight. Inefficient gripping will also lead to weakness in your forearm which will prevent you from pulling of moves correctly and generally wear you out quicker.
Third and finally is where you grip. Gripping correctly is all about leverage, so if you’re gripping in a place that doesn’t give you a tactical advantage, then you aren’t doing yourself any favors and you’re probably expending a lot of energy in the process. Consult your instructor to learn the proper way to grip and practice implementing it into your training routine.
Contact Brooklyn Martial Arts
Learning the basics of any martial art starts with a great instructor who is experienced and puts safety above all else. At Brooklyn Martial Arts, you don’t need to worry about your age or skill level, we have experience working with people of all ages and backgrounds, ensuring that we foster an environment where everyone can learn and grow. Not only is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu great as a sport, but it is a great way to improve self-confidence and allows you to learn a practical and effective self-defense technique. Contact us today to learn more.