3 Common Pitfalls As You Move Up the Ranks
Over the years, I have seen BJJ students run into many common problems. I am guilty of many of these myself, and now when I work with my students I try to steer them away from making this mistakes as well. My thinking is that if I can help you skip over the obstacles that slowed my own progress, you can learn more and advance faster than I did. Here are the top 3 pitfalls I talk to my students about:
Becoming a technique collector.
As a white belt, your biggest problem is usually that you simply don’t know what to do. Your instructor comes along and shows you a move for a certain situation. Now you know when you’re in a certain spot, you do that. So by that logic, you just keep learning every possible move you can do in every position, and then you will have it all figured out.
The fix here is to realize you can only be good at so many moves and to pick the main ones you want to work on. Cut out the rest (for now). You may incorporate more techniques later, but you have to start with something.
Trying to be too unique and original.
This problem usually strikes at blue or purple belt. This is when you are getting getting some skills, and nothing feels better than doing a cool move no one saw coming. Like the technique collector, you think success is having more techniques, especially strange ones that no one knows how to stop.
The fix is to cut back to basics and work on your foundational skills that will have the broadest applications. These are likely the first moves you learned. Look at the classics in greater depth instead of chasing after the next hot move.
Being afraid to try moves you are not yet good at.
The pendulum swings both ways, and instead of trying too much, you may be afraid to try anything at all. Fear of looking stupid and failing is common, but you need to overcome that if you want to keep improving. People with this problem will often become “good” at stalling and count not tapping as a measure of success.
No doubt, you need to be able to defend submissions and shouldn’t be making fundamental mistakes, but sometimes you need to try something and fail so you can figure out how to do it better next time. To get over this problem, you should set a goal of using certain techniques and go for them “win or lose.”
Each of these pitfalls relates to the techniques we choose to work on, and all can be overcome by simply changing your mindset towards how you train. If you saw yourself in any of these, take an honest look at how you are training and see if you can do better. The first step is recognizing the problem and seeing the need to change.