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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu White Belt: The Survival Stage

white belt bjj

Table of Contents

Some people that train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu have this negative outlook on the BJJ white belt but we are here to say f*** what they think. We applaud those that take the leap into the unknown and decide to push themselves and that is what you have decided to do. In this article we talk about the first stage you will find yourself in when you decide to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu White Belt

The white belt in BJJ symbolizes the beginning of a long but very fruitful journey within the martial art of jiu-jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that will humble you, build you up, and teach you hundreds of lifelong lessons as you progress and spend more time on the mats.

You are a beginner and it is time to put your student hat on. This martial art is chalked full of things to learn so if you enjoy learning new things you made the right choice for exercises.

how often should you trainWhy Did You Start in The First Place?

When starting this journey it is super important to remember why you started. Most people start doing jiu-jitsu because their life is not so good and heard on some podcast that it is an excellent self-improvement tool. Our reason for starting was due to a physical altercation that broke out that we were not able to stand up to because we froze at the moment. What your reason for starting is to remember it and hold tight to it.

Training jiu-jitsu requires repetition, consistency, and commitment. No professor worth their sale is going to water down or make this easy. You have to love it enough to let it shape you. 

No compromise and no excuses.

The Survival Stage

The name of the game at white belt, especially in your first 6 months, is to survive. You will get humbled a lot in those first couple of months but you have to get back up and keep moving forward. Do not let your ego get in the way of something beautiful that is changing within.

jiu jitsu white beltWhat Does Your White Belt Mean?

If you are a beginner at something brand new to you, embrace this. Be in the moment and put your student cap on. 

You are actively changing the story of who you are and how you will perceive yourself. When you do hard things great change is right around the corner.

Who Will You Become?

Are you ready to become a new human being?

Training jiu-jitsu allows every one of us to crush our limiting beliefs and change the story of how we view ourselves. When you train jiu-jitsu you are not just learning how to protect yourself, you are constantly putting your body in flight-or-flight mode teaching you how to stay calm under intense situations.

No matter the field, life tests us. Learning how to make decisions when our backs are against the wall or when we inevitably find ourselves in a dark/bad spot is unmatched. No other sport will prepare you for facing situations like jiu-jitsu. You will get comfortable being uncomfortable. You will get into the best physical shape of your life and create a whole new you.

Who do you want to become? 

What do you want to accomplish? Nothing is impossible if you apply the lessons you learn on the mats to your daily life.



When starting out in jiu-jitsu there are several things that you should be laser-focused on, especially in your first year of training. But before we jump into those things that you should focus on, let’s quickly mention something you should not be focused on: belts and ranking up



The quickest way to discourage yourself along the way is to get so wrapped up in the external validation that you receive from winning competitions or ranking up fast. Those things are cool but they come with time, focus on these things first.




You need to get honest with yourself about how much time you are willing to put into the sport. Iron out your goals early so it is easier to come up with an answer. How often you train has an impact on how good you can and will get. If you are training about three times a week we believe you are getting the best bang for your buck and will progress relatively quickly. Whatever you decide, stay consistent!

belt rank - blue belts are consistent


In your first year of training, you should try to learn everything under the sun. Now, you probably won’t remember everything you absorb but getting at least introduced to it should be enough. We post daily content on our Instagram showing moves that will make you better so be sure to check that out!

You can find techniques all over the internet. Youtube and Instagram are great sources for you to find new things or solidify things that you are currently learning.

Building Good Relationships

One of the best things about jiu-jitsu is the brotherhood that you find yourself a part of. The stronger the bonds you build within the gym the harder it will be for you to “let them down”. Remember people’s names, make new friends, and build good relationships. After all, these are the people you will be promoted with along your journey to becoming a black belt!

Less Memorization

Touching back on the technique topic – try not to memorize everything. It won’t help you will probably forget about 95% of whatever you try to cram in your head. This is not a school exam, you will not be tested on telling me exactly how a kimura works.

progression in the belt ranking system

Progress Over External Validation

After just a short six months of training the progress, you will make in your game will be jaw-dropping. Always be sure to focus on this. Getting better just by 1% a day is a huge difference over time.

Becoming The Greatest Version of Yourself

You are actively taking responsibility for becoming a better version of yourself when you decide to sign that contract and join a jiu-jitsu gym. You committed to yourself and we want to help you along the way. This journey is a long one and we want you to get everything out of it that you possibly want. If you continue to show up, over time your game will form and you will rank up. You’ll have to overcome many obstacles along the way but we want to empower you to just keep grinding!

white belt level to blue belt level


The only expectation that anyone should have on you as a white belt is that you put your best foot forward to progress at the speed you are willing to move at. What this means is that if you are wanting to move onto the next stage just show up and be the student that goes above and beyond to understand the techniques you are trying to learn.


We are so excited for you to start this journey of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It will be a life-changing experience for a lot of you reading this, we know it was for us. We saw a pretty awesome video today on Instagram saying the biggest leap someone can take is this one. This journey is going to be one that you will cherish for the rest of your life. White belts are all here for the same thing, to learn a new skill and have fun while doing so.

The facts say that only 10% of white belts will stick around long enough to make it to their blue belt. The numbers only get smaller as you move farther up the later to the colored belts (purple belt, brown belt, black belt).


Setting early, obtainable, and controllable goals in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a must if you want to keep yourself motivated and moving up. The best way to stay motivated is to truly focus on those controllable items and not things like stripes and belts because at the end of the day, someone else is going to decide if you move up or not.

What can you control in 99% of situations?

    • Your attitude
    • You showing up and working hard
    • The time you spend understanding moves
  • Nutrition and what goes into your body

Build good habits at this stage in your training. You may want to start taking health and wellness a bit more seriously as you start to get into your grove of training. More experienced training partners will tell you that if you just show up, learn, and apply your knowledge on the mats your blue belt is well on its way.

Jiu-jitsu does not care about who you were. It cares about who you want to become. You should be proud of yourself for taking the responsibility to start this journey. It will not be an easy one but nothing easy is rewarding. You have stepped into a new chapter of your life. This chapter will humble, inspire, and reward you beyond your belief. Trust your professor, respect everyone, and work hard.

1 thought on “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu White Belt: The Survival Stage”

  1. Pingback: How Long Does it Take to Get a Black Belt: Playing the Long Game in Jiu Jitsu - Grapplers Graveyard

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