I have always been a fan of Stephan Kesting, and just lately I have been able to catch up and read some of the article on his website, grapplearts.com.
He has this really good one called “What do White Belts Need to Learn in Their 1st Year of BJJ”, by contributor Mark Mullen.
Here is an excerpt from that article:
“I’m currently in Rio de Janeiro doing a little training in BJJ. While here I have met a number of white belts at the Connection Rio BJJ hostel. Sitting around the pool or over acai after training, inevitably the topic of conversation turns to BJJ and the struggles of the white belts trying to find their way in the art suave.
Many say the same things:
“There is SO much to learn it is overwhelming
“I am always getting caught in (fill in the blank) and I don’t know what to do.”
“How do I direct my training to improve the fastest? There is SO MUCH information out there on Youtube!”
So, where does a white belt start with their training in BJJ?
To answer this I explain my approach to white belts learning BJJ in terms of 4 Main Factors
1) The BJJ Positional Hierarchy
Most people starting jiu-jitsu can identify the basic positions: guard, side control, full mount.
I ask the white belt “What is the worst position that you can be in during a bjj match?” The guesses can vary widely. “Mount? Guard?”
The answer I give is “When your opponent is rear mounted on you with hooks and you are face down on the ground. All of your weapons and defence are pointed away from him, you can not see what he is doing and his weight is on you.”
They nod in understanding.
My next question: “Now, what is the 2nd worst position that you can find yourself in during a match?”
Some head scratching and a guess at mount?
“No, it is rear mount with your OPPONENT’S back on the ground (aka rear mount – belly to the sky). Most of the same problems of the WORST position are there – all of your weapons and defence are pointed away from him, you can not see what he is doing…. BUT at least his weight is not on top of you and you have more freedom to move and possibly escape.”
The positional hierarchy is a top to bottom order of the best to worst positions in a jiu-jitsu match. The middle of this continuum would be neutral positions and then inversion for the worst. ex. BEST rear mount with hooks in, face down / WORST rear mounted with opponent on your back and face down
Knee on Belly
Guard TopGuard Bottom
Turtle Top / Turtle Bottom
Half Guard Bottom
Side control Bottom
Knee on Belly Bottom
Rear mount Bottom
Now, the white belt has seen an example of the positional hierarchy where during the course of a match a combatant may not only identify where they are positionally at any point during a match – creating order out of a chaotic fight – but glimpsing the idea that one might improve ones position in the match by moving upwards to the next more favourable position in the hierarchy.
At any point during a match we should be able to freeze the action and you (the white belt) identify which position the combatants are currently in AND see where each must move in order to attain a more favourable position respectively.
Now, you have a strategy to not only survive but also to escape, advance your position and attempt to gain a dominant position over your opponent step by step.”
And there is a lot more good stuff here. For the complete article, please go HERE.
If you know anyone who can benefit from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, make sure to have them come in for a FREE WEEK TRIAL.