The Road to BJJ Black Belt: A Beginner’s Guide

Two BJJ practitioners training at a gym with mats and bags

Earning a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no easy feat. It takes years of consistent training, dedication to the craft, and an unrelenting drive to improve. While the belt itself holds reverence in the BJJ community, it’s the journey that truly matters.
If you’re just starting out on the long road to black belt, this guide will help you begin your BJJ journey right. Follow these tips from day one to build a solid foundation and stay motivated through the ups and downs of being a white belt. 

Find the Right Gym

Choosing the right gym is paramount to your growth and enjoyment as a BJJ practitioner. Look for the following:

  • Knowledgeable, patient instructors who focus on technique over intensity
  • A variety of belt levels to train with
  • Clean, spacious, well-equipped training area
  • Positive culture that is supportive of beginners

Attend Class Consistently

Unlike other sports or martial arts, jiu jitsu requires constant repetition and muscle memory development. Attend classes at least 3 times per week to ingrain proper technique. Missing extended periods will noticeably set you back.

Learn the Basic Positions

As a beginner, focus on the core positions like closed guard, mount, side control, and back control. Master the posture, grips, and movements from each position through focused drilling.

Tap Often 

Your ego will take some hard blows as a white belt, but it’s critical to “tap early, tap often” to avoid injuries. Tapping in training allows you to live to fight another day.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor questions frequently. It’s better to clarify details than to reinforce poor technique by guessing. Take notes after class to retain key concepts.

Focus on Surviving

Submissions and sweeps will come in time. For now, concentrate on surviving each roll without getting submitted or dominated. Defense wins matches.

Compete Early On

Sign up for a local tournament as a white belt to experience the intensity and pressure of competition BJJ. The experience will push your development exponentially.

Document Your Journey 

Track your progress through a BJJ journal. Note lessons learned, concepts that clicked, and areas needing work. Seeing your growth on paper will keep you motivated.

Earning a black belt in BJJ takes consistent hard work over many years. But the journey itself will shape you mentally and physically in profound, rewarding ways. Stick with it, focus on daily improvement, and enjoy every small victory along the way. Oss!