What Should I Focus On As A BJJ White Belt?

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Here is the second installment of our advice for BJJ white belts. In this write up, we’re going to answer, what should I focus on as a BJJ white belt?

Going in depth and listing all of the things that you will need to focus on as a BJJ white belt. Everything from basic movements, techniques, and how to train properly.

What should I focus on as a BJJ white belt? As a BJJ white belt, you should focus on basic movements and fundamental techniques. You should also focus on trying to be more methodical when you’re learning different techniques.

Basic Movements

When you’re a BJJ white belt, the first thing you should learn is mastering the basic movements of Jiu Jitsu. Once you grasp and understand basic BJJ movements, you can then begin to develop your own game.

Breakfall

A breakfall is how you technically fall without hurting yourself. The key details of a breakfall to your back are:

  • Tuck your chin, so your head doesn’t whiplash back.
  • Hit the mat with your entire back to disperse the impact.
  • Slap the mat with both hands.

Side Breakfall 

The side breakfall is where you technically fall onto your side without getting hurt. Key details for how to properly execute a side breakfall include:

  • Kicking your leg up along with your arm to begin the side breakfall.
  • Hit the mat with your entire side to properly disperse the impact.
  • Slap the mat with your hand outstretched.

Front Breakfall 

The front breakfall is where you technically fall on your stomach without hurting your face. The key details of a front breakfall include:

  • Turning your head to the side, so you don’t fall flat on your face.
  • Stretch your arms out and do a controlled fall to your stomach.
  • Slap the mat with both hands.

Technical Stand Up

A technical stand up is how you properly get to your feet without getting hit as you stand up. Some of the key details that you will need to remember include:

  • Plant your base hand behind your back.
  • Keep your front hand in front of your face for self defense purposes to defend against strikes.
  • Put your front foot on the mat and lay your other leg flat.
  • Lift the leg on the mat and shoot it behind you as you stand straight up.

Front Roll 

Front rolling is another basic movement that BJJ white belts will need to learn how to properly execute. Here are the details for how to properly execute a front roll.

  • Start on your knees and come up to one foot and keep your other knee on the mat.
  • Tuck your shoulder and head between the space between your legs.
  • Just go with the motion of your body and follow through with the roll.

Back Roll 

Along with a front roll, you’re also going to need to know how to execute a back roll as a BJJ white belt. Read these details for how to properly execute a back roll.

  • Starting from your butt, you’re going to pick a shoulder.
  • You’re then going to tuck your chin and throw your legs to that side as you go to your back.
  • Just keep your momentum going to finish the roll and finish in the position that you started in.

Side Roll/Granby Roll 

As a BJJ white belt, you’re even going to need to know how to do side rolls of granbys. Here are the details you must remember for executing a perfect granby roll.

  • Starting from your butt, you’re going to put one arm behind your back and tuck your chin.
  • You’re then going to roll over that shoulder.(Do not roll on your head or neck.)
  • Keep the momentum of your roll going and end it where you started on your butt.

Elbow Escape/Shrimp

Elbow escapes or shrimps may be the most important basic movement that you learn as a BJJ white belt. Here are the details that you must know for executing elbow escapes/shrimps.

  • Start with your back flat on the mat and turn to your side.
  • Keep your opposite foot on the mat, lay your leg on the mat to the side.
  • Crunch your body towards your knee and push off the mat with your foot and hands.

Basic Techniques

After a BJJ white belt gets down the basic movements of Jiu Jitsu, they will then move to basic techniques. Everything from basic submissions, submission defenses, positional escapes, sweeps, takedowns, and guard passes.

Positional Escapes

The most important thing that you’ll first learn as a BJJ white belt is how to defend yourself on the ground. This means knowing how to escape from dominant positions. You will need to focus on:

  • Side-Control Escapes
  • Mount Escapes
  • Back Mount Escapes

Controlling Positions

As a BJJ white belt, you should try to focus on staying on top and how to keep control in dominant positions. Some of the concepts that you need to learn are.

  • Chest On Chest Or Chest On Back
  • Heavy Pressure
  • Closing Space
  • Weight Placement
  • Having Good Balance

Submission Defense 

Along with knowing how to escape from dominant positions, you will also need to know defense against basic submissions. Some of the basic submission that you will need to drill include:

  • RNC Defenses
  • Guillotine Choke Defenses
  • Armbar Defenses
  • Kimura Defenses
  • Triangle Choke Defenses
  • Omoplata Defenses
  • Basic Gi Choke Defenses
  • Ankle Lock Defenses

Basic Submissions 

Once you learn how to defend against attacks as a BJJ white belt, you can learn to start attacking. Here are some of the basic submissions that you should be constantly drilling.

  • RNC
  • Guillotine Choke
  • Armbar
  • Kimura
  • Triangle Choke
  • Omoplata
  • Basic Gi Chokes

Basic Sweeps

Learning the basic concepts of the guard are critical for BJJ white belts. This includes knowing how to execute basic sweeps from your guard.

Some of the basic sweep that you should drill include:

  • Scissor Sweep
  • Hip Bump Sweep
  • Basic Butterfly Sweep
  • Knee Push Sweep
  • Feet On Hips Sweep 

Basic Takedowns 

You will also have to learn to get your opponent to the ground as a BJJ white belt. This includes knowing how to execute basic takedowns and throws.

Some of those basic takedowns include:

  • Single Leg Takedown Variations
  • Double Leg Takedown Variations
  • Seoi Nage/Drop Seoi Nage
  • O Soto Gari
  • Ouchi Gari

Basic Guard Passes

BJJ white belts will also need to focus on how to perform basic guard passes. Keeping proper posture and grips as they execute must know guard passes.

A BJJ white belt will need to know:

  • How To Open Opponent’s Closed Guard
  • Double Under Pass
  • Over/Under Pass
  • Standing Pass
  • Half Guard Passes
  • Butterfly Guard Pass
  • De La Riva Pass
  • Spider Guard Pass

Try to be methodical

Probably the best piece of advice that you can give a BJJ white belt is to be methodical with their training. You need to go through every detail of a technique and drill it until it is perfect. As Bruce Lee said, “I do not fear the man that trained 10,000 kicks once. But the man that trained one kick 10,000 times.”

Show up and train

At the end of the day, the best thing that a BJJ white belt can do is show up and train. You have to put your time in on the mat and learn through experience. If you’re at a good BJJ school, they will be there to help you and guide you through the ranks.

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Let's Roll BJJ aims to be the leading source of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling information and news on the web. Dorian, the owner and editor of Let's Roll BJJ is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and has been training and competing for over 6 years. Apart from being a BJJ geek, Dorian is a software developer by trade, a husband, and a father of two wonderful kids who he's recently began teaching Jiu Jitsu. When he's not training, coding, or writing, you can find him hiking, camping or occasionally binging on video games.

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