It’s safe to say that BJJ is not your conventional recreational sport. Although in theory it is for everyone, there are many who are unable to overcome some of the challenges they may face at white belt, especially that nerve-wrecking, but exhilarating first class. Here are four of these many obstacles that white belts have to deal with regularly. Many of the higher belts have already forgotten those days, so this can be a reminder and a way to empathize with our beginner brothers.
- The blue belts want your blood
Well, they are not out to actually hurt you, but they are going to have their fun. The memory of being a white belt is still fresh in the minds of the blue belts. They know how hard it was for them, and they have every intention of making it as hard for you – all for good reason though, since that’s what it took for them to get their blue.
White belts are also the only ones that the blue belts can beat regularly, since they still have the struggle against the purples, browns and blacks. Dominating white belts is the best way for them to practice techniques that usually would not work on the higher belts. I guess you can say that white belts are the grappling dummies of the BJJ world – not a light label to carry!
- Overcoming the full contact
This is harder for some than others. There are those who are naturally used to the scrappy nature of BJJ. They don’t care if their face is scraped by a gi or if someone’s sweat plops in their eye. But for a lot of people, this can be an issue that requires patience to resolve. There are those who realize they can’t handle it and abandon their training before it really even begins. Some others are stronger in character and develop the will to overcome these obstacles – this is when the real jiu-jitsu training begins. Either way, many of us may have forgotten how awkward it can be in the beginning of
- Soreness and mat burns
Like with any new exercise, the body will get extremely sore. Since jiu-jitsu is a full body workout, most white belts will experience soreness like never before. Although painful, this can be viewed as a positive result since this means they will be building muscle and burning fat.
However, the same thing cannot be said about mat burns. Because white belts do not know how to move properly yet, and choose to fight mainly on their knees most of the time, they tend to drag the topside of their foot across the mat. This usually burns their skin and you’ll often see beginners with tape all around their foot to avoid scraping the scabs. With experience, white belts will usually spend more time on their butts (to play guard) or on their feet (to pass guard) so the burning stops.
- You’re going to lose to guys half your size
This comes as the biggest shock for beginners. People always think size matters in almost any situation. So often you will see larger beginners destroyed by blue and purple belts half their size. At this point, the beginner either swallows their pride and continues to learn or ends up leaving because he just can’t handle the embarrassment. An action that is frowned upon in the BJJ world – you must leave your ego at the door.