Ah, I remember the days when I was a new BJJ white belt. Getting tapped left and right by everyone, trying to figure out why things we did in class didn’t work, and going home beat up, but happy. A lot has changed in decades, including the information people have on what to do when they first sign up. Like, for example, the crucial information below on what to focus on when you’re a brand new BJJ white belt. 

The New BJJ White Belt Guided Tour

BJJ is many things: submissions, sweeps, guards, takedowns, throws, grips, and so on. Day one, you’re probably not going to go around submitting or sweeping everyone. Actually, you’re not going to do much of anything except look completely lost and confused. Luckily, you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. 

While simplicity is key in general when it comes to Jiu Jitsu, a new white felt should only think about figuring out the why behind everything they’re shown. Better yet, ask why things work the way they do. Understanding is the best way of actually learning something. and the first thing to figure out is what is top and bottom position and what your goals are in each of them. simple. 

What we are looking at is a video on a couple of realistic goals that you can set for yourself to survive the first month of your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey. The black belt talking to us is Kentucky based Chewjitsu. He’s got a youtube channel that covers technique and frequently asked questions by fans and students. What is more important, he provides some amazing answers, as is the case with the subject of a new BJJ white belt. 

Key Things To Focus On As A White Belt

So what does a new BJJ white belt need to look out for first and foremost? Safety! Stepping into the crazy world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu means you will have to stay safe in order to truly get a chance to experience that sport for what it really is. However, safety reaches far beyond just taking care of not getting injured. 

As a fresh BJJ white belt, you’ll need to figure out positional safety as well. that simple means begin able to stay in a position, like the closed guard, without being immediately destroyed. You don’t have to look for offensive options (yet) but rather, figure out how to make it comfortable. And, since there’s an apparent dualism to BJJ, you should aim to do other same from the other side of the position as well. 

Actually, that is exactly where Chewey’s advice leads in the video below. top and bottom are key concepts to figure out, first and foremost. Next, you’ll need to start building a gem from there, first a solid defensive/positional one, and then adding attacks to it. Suddenly, you won’t be that new BJJ white belt anymore and things will start to become a lot more interesting. 

From Bottom

The first thing to know about the guard is that people shouldn’t be able to pass it. It is not about attacks, but rather about being able to stay there as long as you wish. The moment you can achieve safety in the position, you can start expanding towards attacks, which, from the guard, are available in the form of either sweeps or submissions. 

In order to be safe in the closed guard, you need to use your knees to control the position and always aim to have at least one, preferably two grips on the sleeves or wrists. Why? Well, without arms and hips, nobody will be able to start passing or have an option to strike you, for that matter. The main thing here would be to break the posture of your training partner and delay them passing for as long as possible. 

That actually brings us to goals you need to set up for yourself. having a goal that nobody will pass your guard as a new BJJ white belt is unrealistic at best. however, aiming to delay them from doing so, is much more obtainable. Moreover, it provides you with a way to measure progress- simply try to make them stuck longer and longer with each class. 

From Top

Your BJJ white belt tasks from the top are pretty much the same as from the bottom, just in the reverse order. First up, you need to be safe. That man being able to stay in the guard without getting swept or submitted. To be honest, this sounds much easier than it is in practice. In fact, if I had to choose, I’d say that you’ll need more time to figure things out from the top of the closed guard, than the bottom. 

The goals are to retain posture, deal with the training partner’s grips first. These two things will help you fend off submission attacks. However, sweeps will still work, so you’ll need to really develop a good base. Once again, delaying getting swept/submitted is your realistic goal rather than avoiding them completely. The moment you can hang in a blue belt’s guard for an entire round means you’re not that new anymore and can look into passing

In Conclusion

Enjoy the time you have a new BJJ white belt because that will never happen again. It can be testing and exhausting, but if you have an idea of what you’re doing, and a couple of clear cut goals like the examples in the video, you’ll have a much better time on the mats. To be honest, anytime you look to learn something new alter on, at any belt level, you’ll still use the same strategy of safety first, and offense second.