Are you “just a white belt”?

Kroyler’s pro tip about being a beginner in Jiu Jitsu: 

White Belts…...

The single most importantbelt...

So,I was asked to give a little advice for the people starting off or early on their jiu-jitsu journey, meaning the people that are “just” white belts…

So first andforemost,we must identify who is a white belt. Well a white belt is literally anyone with no training. Don’t believe me? If “Mr. I-sell-hotdogs-at-a-baseball-game-and-have-never-trained-anything” walks into anyschool,they are a white belt.White belt is simply the lowest measurable unit of knowledge. A layman therefore is a white belt.

But you see this is where things get tricky…

What happens to white belts that have trained for 5 months? Do they still know nothing? Because once they know something they no longer fit the description of the layman. Enter the stripes in the white belt. This solves that issue. We can now striate them into a hierarchy of laypeople that range from not knowing anything, to knowing something, to knowing enough to no longer fit the white belt measure of unit.

But this striation doesn’t cover all scenarios and fixes all issues surrounding the white belt. It simply creates a hierarchy and nothing else.

We, ashigher-rankingmembers of the team (and some overly confident white belts) often expect white belts to be able to learn and apply a new technique at the same rate we (higher belts) can. That thought is silly and inane. Learning Jiu-Jitsu is essentially like learning to speak a different language with your body. Meaning as white belts you’re simply learning how you can use your body and understanding that it can do things you didn’t think were humanly possible. Doesn’t mean you can do those things yet, butyou’rebeing liberated from the constraints of what you thought your body was limited to. So why do higher belts think you can perform full blown newtechniqueswhen you have just learned to move your body. It would be like expecting a toddler to be able to run hurdles.

So,when a white belt struggles and they ask why a technique doesn’t work for them the simple answer is “you’rejust a white belt”.

That statement is a gigantic statement, both good and both horrible.

“You’rejust a white belt” could mean on a positive note something like the following:

You don’t understand whyyou’relosing so often and you get told“you’rejust a white belt” so its okay to struggle, asyou’renew to thisand that is the expectation.

Oron a negative note it could be something like:

You don’t understand whyyou’relosing so often and you get told “you’rejust a white belt” meaning you suck so why are you complaining?

You see it’s the same message but the connotation behind it and the intent is far different, one diminishes the other builds.

Now these are 2 short systematic issues with the white belt conundrum, of the layman that know very little but is expected to know a lot. There are plenty more issues that white belts will encounter but I don’t want to continue taking over this episode. As I am sure Paul is butchering this as hereads,and kip got lost somewhere during the path of this pro tip.

So,what I will say isthis...

As a white belt I have 3 key concepts I think if incorporated will help you throughout your Jiu-Jitsu journey:

1.Embrace failure, don’t enjoy failure, but embrace it. Meaning acknowledge a loss andwhatevershortcoming led you to it.Analyzeit and train/grow/learn how to improve and prevent that same mistake from ever happening again. Don’t fight the loss or excuse it. Own it and grow from it.

2.Understand that anyone ranked higher than you even if they aren’t as abled as you are should have more knowledge than you. Learn from them. For anyone to be a black belt theyhave to havefailed a lot. More than you as a white belt. Their job is to teach you how to avoid those pitfalls and how thus inherently help you improve faster than they did.So,ask questions to those further ahead than you on this journey, and don’t close yourself off to the advice of higher belts that you may feel you don’t need to listen to. Want to learn jiu-jitsu? Shut up and listen or ask questions and listen.

3.Understand thatif you focus on improving, not on how many times you tapped someone or how many times you were tapped, will lead to success. Improvement is the biggest win, not the number of times you tapped someone. If you aren’t improving but you are tapping everyone in your rank, then you are losing.

Kip Dice