Is BJJ Hard for Beginners? The BGWG Answer
Is BJJ hard for beginners? You might be surprised about what's hard and what's not hard.
As I write this in the beginning of the new year, I think about the many people who are deciding to try something new and choose to try Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). If you are one of these people, congratulations! You have chosen a path where it will challenge you physically, mentally, and emotionally (at least most people feel this way. Maybe you’re a prodigy in BJJ and you don’t know it yet).
Regardless of what your BJJ journey will entail, here are some of the things that I have found the hardest when I started training Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Hardest Parts of BJJ
1. Remembering stuff
You are going to get a butt load of information in every class. Some stuff you might pick up easily and there are some things that will be hard to remember. There are certain times where you’ll see some technique, you’ll visually understand how the move is done, but your body has no idea what it’s doing, and you don’t get the move. Or you do get it but then your BJJ coach comes back to it a few weeks later and you can’t remember how you did it in the first place. As someone who has been training as long as I have, I still go through this.
There are ways to help you remember such as drilling it so many times, you consciously know how to do it, writing notes, taking video, etc. Find the best method for you to remember and recall your notes.
2. Getting to Practice
Getting to your BJJ gym might seem like an easy thing to do. Think about the base steps: 1) leave house 2) hop into transportation to get to gym 3) arrive at gym 4) go train
But in between those steps, things happen that you may or may not have control over. You might have to stay overtime at work or that Netflix series keeps sucking you back into the couch. Your gi might be still wet or you ran out of fresh underwear. Sometimes these things add up and you decide that you can never get there.
Just keep in mind that as long as you try to make it, even if you come later than the class started, go there just to see what is being taught during the night, or come like once a week for 30 minutes, you made it there and your inching towards jiu-jitsu being a little less hard.
3. Physical Constraints
If you’re just starting out, chances are your body won’t be used to moving in the way that jiu-jitsu requires you to move. Because of having more bodyweight, injury, inflexibility, or being small or tall will make certain things about jiu-jitsu really hard. For me, I always want to blast through everyone and out power them because I “feel” like I’m strong.
BJJ has multiple paths of getting to a goal be it a submission, a sweep, a takedown, etc. But the main thing is that you find ways to get over the physical constraints by figuring out which positions work best for you, how to prevent certain things from happening, or how to get where you need to be in terms of positioning. This comes with time. Plus, if it’s a weight, flexibility, or mobility thing, you’ll lose weight, become more flexible, and be more mobile. Especially if you’re doing things to improve whatever is limiting you (i.e., working out, eating better, stretching, injury prevention, etc.)
4. Mental & emotional challenges
One of the hardest things to do in life is getting over your mind. We tell ourselves we’re not able to do certain things or that something is too hard to be able to do. Our brains are big fat liars and if you listen to it, then it will make you more and more inclined to quit. It’s up to you to create strategies in your mind in order to keep pushing to get to your BJJ classes, stay engaged, and focus on the reason why you started doing jiu-jitsu in the first place.
After talking about all the hard stuff, I couldn’t complete this article without talking about what makes jiu-jitsu easy too. So here are some things about BJJ that makes things a little less hard.
Easy Parts of BJJ
1. Having a support system
Whatever you’re going through that makes jiu-jitsu hard, most likely many people in your gym are going through or have been through the same things as you. They can share with you how they dealt with the hard parts of their training and give you tips to help you get over the humps.
Also being around many people who share the same interest as you make it easier for you to build a community of friends that you can do stuff with outside of the gym.
2. Many resources
As jiu-jitsu has grown in popularity, there are so many resources and communities out there to help you find the right gear, learn certain techniques, and even discuss if the buggy choke is a real submission (answer: it’s not…well at least not to me). These resources can be found throughout Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, and more. My whole reason for making Black Girl, White Gi was to be a resource, share my experience and direct beginners to the places that will help get them on the right path.
3. Being at the gym
As I mentioned before, life happens and sometimes it’s hard to get to the gym. But, once you’re there, being there is the easiest thing because of everything I mentioned before. You have your friends and your community; you have a multitude of resources brought to you by people who care. You don’t even have to physically train while you’re at your BJJ gym. Going there just to see what your coach is teaching and understanding what the technique is for that week is a great help to your overall growth in jiu-jitsu.
Making the Hard Parts of BJJ Easier
You’re on this journey and what you determine is hard is up to you. There are things that will try you but it’s up to you to determine how you will face the hard. Just remember why you started and what you aim to achieve once you get over the hard humps.
What has been some of the hardest things for you in jiu-jitsu. Comment on this post or share with me on Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj.