Just about a week ago we had a seminar consisting of the heads of Combat Base UK Darren and Helen Currie, we hadn’t had the pleasure of hosting them at factory in well over a year and so it was much overdue. So coach Adam Adshead made it a priority to get them into Factory BJJ for a seminar before the year was through. I usually do a BJJ Rotherham blog based around seminars I attend but with a bit of insider knowledge about potential promotions I decided to do another BJJ Rotherham blog but with a bit of a twist.
In the last year the student base at factory has expanded massively to well over 100 guys regularly training. For a large chunk of the new guys it was the first chance to put faces to the legendary combat base names D + H Currie.
For other white belts it was a chance to display some of the things they had learned and an opportunity to try them rolling against a Black belts for the first time. Which is always a momentus occasion in a persons journey.
On the latter end of the seminar Darren and Helen decided a few promotions were in order.
Combat Base BJJ Coaching staff
Zack, Jack, Diana , Ryan , Jordan, Neil all received their blue belts and did so on fine merit.
It then got me thinking about my own journey towards blue belt and the mindset changes the more experience I got. To be perfectly honest I have changed on a daily basis the way I think about jiu jitsu as it’s a constantly evolving thing. So for me to remember the emotions and thoughts leading upto Blue belt is a tall ask.
So I decided to ask some of the guys who got their BJJ Blue belt promotions 3 simple questions based around their progression. What are some of the common mistakes and themes during white-belt
What was your biggest challenge at white belt and in getting to BJJ blue belt?
What do you think will be the toughest thing you will face now you are a BJJ blue belt?
If you could give yourself some advice on day one of starting BJJ what would it be?
Neil BJJ Bluebelt | BJJ Rotherham
1. The times when you feel you’ve taken one step forward, then five back! Some weeks are great and you smash your way though it; then others, ‘it’s just not there’ and some newbie, sweeps, passes or heaven forbid…taps you! You have to recognise that this may be down to injury, your mind wandering about work or anything else in your life, a lack of concentration or just plain luck. The key is not to dwell on it but keep persevering though the bad times as well as the good. So the biggest obstacle is your own mind!
2. My biggest challenge is to stay ahead! It’s very motivating actually; there is a little bit of having a target on your back but frankly, this is a contact sport so it’s fair enough! The beauty about BJJ is that it really is, to quote Liam Nieson’ about a ‘particular set of skills’…if you get very technical and your know your stuff, your going to succeed, but it does take time, like anything worth having in this life. So to stay ahead I need to think more about how my opponent will react, what are the trigger points to me making a move etc…and studying the technique nuances.
3. Similar to the first answer – don’t worry about getting beaten. It happens and if you roll a lot you’re never going to not get beaten at some point. I think the other piece of advice would be to ‘study’ more. Rolling at the gym is great but this is BJJ, it’s technical and it takes on average 10 years to get to black belt so you need time off the mat to look at videos, read the books and magazines and understand the details that will work for you and your body type. This may not be popular, but “Know your limits”. Not all techniques will work for you, but find your gold, drill it and become a master!
Jack BJJ Bluebelt | BJJ Rotherham
1) biggest obstacle was most probably training on a regular basis, for me this is the most important factor in improving my own game, but the hardest at the same time. when I train regularly this is when I see the real gains from training.
2) iI think choosing what new material at add into my game, trying to find a balance between my established game and new material that would improve it further.
3) train hard, stick at it!
Whitebelt blackbelt bjj sparring
1. IMO everyone biggest obstacle is wanting to quit, a lot of times particularly during the first 6 mouths I was just getting super down about just getting smeared into the mat but, but listening to everyone advice of “don’t play your opponents game, play your own” really helped, but you cant play your game till you have one, so also developing your game and understanding what you are good at and using what you are good at to exploit other peoples weaknesses although I was cynical at first.
2.My biggest challenge as a BJJ Blue Belt now will be not getting dis-heartened when bigger white belts will be tapping me, its going to happen, but when it comes to progress forget everyone else they are tools to make you better, and vice versa.
3.If i could give my self advice on my first day of training i would tell myself that Adam’s advice, once you learn to play to your strengths, your lack of weight and strength will become less of an issue,is gospel.
Everyone has the ability to become a 6th degree black belt its weather you have the resilience, motivation, patience and will power to drag yourself to your goals.
Diana BJJ Bluebelt | BJJ Rotherham
1) what was your biggest obstacle in achieving blue belt?
My biggest obstacle was to make it all the way to that point where things started to make sense, names started to say something and I didn’t feel as lost as I felt at the beginning. Also understand that there are good days and bad days, but you always learn something.
2) what do you think your biggest challenge is now you are a blue belt?
To keep the same mentality, that this is a long run and this is just the beginning, that I have lots to learn and for that I need to work hard. Need to set some goals, build up a game, keep looking forward and never give up.
3) if you could give yourself some advice on the first ever day you trained what would it be?
“Just because you can’t do it today, doesn’t mean you are not going to be able to do it one day.”
Open eyes and ears as much as you can, and don’t worry because it all makes sense at some point, just need some patience.
Ryan BJJ Blue Belt | BJJ Rotherham
1) The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome during my journey from white belt to blue belt is myself. As I travel further into my Jiu Jitsu journey its becoming clearer and clearer that the major key to improving and getting better is consistency of application. To sum up- if you’re not on the mat you’re not improving.
2) Well as Jiu Jitsu is growing and becoming more popular I think the stigma attached with coloured belts has lowered some what. Being relatively new to the sport myself I could possibly be speaking out of turn but in years gone by I’d imagine that seeing a coloured belt on the mat automatically showed fellow grapplers that the person had solid tekkers. This still holds true as blue belts are going to have a solid grasp of the basics and have probably found and established to a degree their style of game, but, I’ve heard it said that blue is the new white. I myself am not looking at the new belt with a different outlook. More so, to continue what I’ve been doing already.
3) Consistency. Avoid long lay off’s from training as its the key killer to progression and I feel I’m proof of that.
Battlegear BJJ Warrior Kimono on Display
As you can see there are solid themes coming through with each person reiterating a similar point in each answer. The thing I have found is that it is not any difficult formula you have to crack to do well at BJJ its a few simple rules you have to adhere to and eliminate common mistakes in your game that others are continually making. Stick to the rules that people tell you, It seems the most cliché thing ever to just do what your coach tells you but when do people actually consistently listen when he says ” turn up, listen, make notes, don’t have an ego, play your own game, be consistent,” etc etc. These are all things we know we need to do but somewhere along the trials and tribulations of BJJ we lose sight of what counts the most.
Hope you found this insight into the path from BJJ Whitebelt to BJJ Bluebelt helpful or interesting!!
The Yorkshire Gripper | BJJ Rotherham | Lloyd Cooper
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