When you're new to jiu-jitsu, your progress is full of frustration and difficulties. As someone who has been training for 18 years, I want to share some training tip. I believe will help speed up the process and save you a lot of difficulty along the way.
Training Tips for Beginners in Jiu Jitsu: Lessons from an 18-Year Veteran
First and foremost, don't focus on winning. Instead, focus on understanding. Trying to gauge your success in jiu-jitsu based on how you perform each day only leads to frustration. Everyone comes in to Jujitsu at a different level. All beginners have natural levels of talent, base strength, and flexibility.
If you measure your progress or how well you did today, you're always going to get frustrated. The best mindset to have when you're starting out is focus on understanding the why behind jujitsu.
Focus on clean technique in the beginning. There's always going to be someone is way better than you. Even other white belts sometimes have a natural instinct and ability. Forget about your progress in the day-to-day.
If you focus on understanding the art long enough, eventually, you'll get to a point where you start smashing the people who are just relying on instincts.
If you switch your focus from winning to learning, you're always going to make progress. If you define whether or not it was a good day by whether or not you beat someone, then you are in for a rollercoaster ride of emotions. You're always going to have this stress and anxiety before you go to the gym because you're expecting a good performance.
You're going to have days where you didn't sleep well or you were distracted by life. You're going to lose.
Whereas, if you switch your frame so that even if you got armbarred, you learned "Oh, I can get armbarred that way."
You're always going to have a good day because you're always going to learn. Even if you get your ass kicked the whole class, you will have learned. Making that subtle mental shift will really change your relationship with how you view Jujitsu.
It's also important to remember that in the beginning, winning and losing has very little to do with how technical you are. It's kind of just random. Some people have natural balance, and others have good natural recomposing.
Stop trying to see jiu-jitsu as a whole and try to break it down by parts. Often, people are looking for these broad ideas or rules that they think will give them the secret to jujitsu. For example "always have your elbows tight" or "always have posture".
People are looking for quick answers or quick concepts that will kind of solve all of their problems. The reality is, jiu-jitsu is very complicated.
An analogy I would give is that trying to win as a beginner is like trying to learn to conduct an orchestra without understanding how each instrument works.
Positions are like instruments, and your jiu-jitsu as a whole is like an orchestra. In the beginning, you want to focus on understanding each position. you need to know how triangle chokes, armbars, and escapes work from each position. If you focus specific training in those positions, researching videos on how those positions work, then eventually you're going to know what to do in every situation you get put in.
Eventually you'll start to develop your own game and style. You'll find positions that work well for you and techniques that you prefer. This is where the real fun begins. You get to start exploring and experimenting
Another thing, don't get discouraged by losses or setbacks. Everyone goes through slumps and has bad days. Even the best guys in the world have their bad days.
It's how you respond to those setbacks that determines your growth as a Jiu Jitsu practitioner. Instead of getting down on yourself, use those losses as opportunities to learn and grow. Analyze what went wrong, and try to figure out what you can do to improve next time.
Finally, it's important to have fun and enjoy the process. Jiu Jitsu is a challenging and rewarding sport, but it also supposed to be fun. Enjoy the camaraderie of your training partners, celebrate your victories (no matter how small). Don't take yourself too seriously. Remember, Jiu Jitsu is just a small part of your life. It's important to keep things in perspective.
Jiu Jitsu can be a frustrating and difficult sport to learn, especially in the beginning. But, with the right mindset and approach, you can speed up the learning process. You can save yourself a lot of difficulty along the way. Focus on understanding, not winning. Break down the sport into manageable parts. Find a good training partner. Utilize online instruction to supplement your training.
And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process. With time and dedication, you'll become a skilled Jiu Jitsu player.