5 White Belt Predicaments and How to Deal with Them

Feel claustrophobic when the big guy puts you in side control? Or that there are too many techniques to learn but not enough time? Don’t worry: help is at hand. Second-degree black belt and all-round man of wisdom Nick ‘Chewy’ Albin has some great advice to give that’ll help you navigate the early days of learning BJJ.

Help! I Feel Claustrophobic and Want to Tap!

This happens to everyone one time or another. Some guy twice your size puts you in side control and the pressure makes your chest and lungs deflate like a birthday balloon hitting a drawing pin. So you decide you need to tap. Right. This. Second. But wait. Don’t tap yet. Chewy tells you what to do when the panic sets in.

Help! I’m Drowning in Technique!

Are you overwhelmed by how many techniques you’re being taught and need to master? The message here is, don’t be. Without your knowing it, your body is actually getting on with the job of selecting the right techniques for you. In other words, you’re learning what you need without even realising.

Help! I’m Knackered After Sparring for Thirty Seconds!

People just starting out doing BJJ tend to go a little crazy in sparring and expend a lot of energy inefficiently, making matters worse by holding their breath, meaning they’re quickly exhausted. Also, there’s a tendency to think you have to do every move as quickly as possible. Let Chewy set you straight in the following video.

Help! I’ve Been Training a Few Months and I’m Getting Worse! 

Feel like your BJJ is already going downhill? That could be because you’re actually getting more technical, says Chewy, and starting to apply the techniques you’ve been taught rather than doing random stuff on instinct — ‘button mashing’, as he calls it.

Help! I’m Not Sure If I’m Ready to Compete!

Just tick off the items on the checklist Chewy gives and you’re good to go. And, he says, don’t build competing up into something it’s not. It’s not the end of the world if you lose.


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