BJJ tryout, does it gets better?

April 26, 2016

Following one of the tenets of self improvement in MRP/TRP, I enrolled in a local BJJ school, great reviews and apparently respected instructors and legit. Everybody is friendly and welcoming, so far so good after warm ups and stretches, the instructors proceeds to explain one or two moves that I awkwardly practice with another fellow that had to guide me every simple step even how to guard and squat.

Then is when it gets good; Grappling/sparring time Only armed with the knowledge of how to tap, my backside was whoop in more ways that I care to remember, I resisted the best I could but only to delay the tap for a mere seconds more, I believe the lower belt I faced was a blue. I am no wimp, every time they asked me if I wanted to go at it again I merrily complied with similar results oblivious to what I was doing other than wriggling my way out of chokes and grabs.

Is this it? How being meat to the grinder of guys obviously skilled in this helps me other than teaching me to be humble Is there any structure or is just random ?

I am willing to stick around but I need some hope that it gets better.

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Post Information
Title BJJ tryout, does it gets better?
Author rojapildora
Upvotes 6
Comments 30
Date April 26, 2016 5:41 PM UTC (5 years ago)
Subreddit /r/askMRP
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[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (7 children) | Copy Link

How do you think practice works?

[–]rojapildora[S] 1 point2 points  (6 children) | Copy Link

That is the point, I do not know how BJJ practice is suppose to work. I realize I will have my ass kick for the longest and not hoping to submit anyone anytime soon. I can take the beating like Rocky if it means that I am getting better and learning; Just wondering if this is the M.O. and how classes usually are.

Practice in my understanding is rehearsing a skill that has been demonstrated to you and proving the point that some one with a skill (BJJ high belt) can easily outskill some one without is not (noob fresh out the door ) is not conducive of the second person learning via osmosis.

I just want to make the experience the safest and more enjoyable for both myself and sparring partner, instead of my just wriggling like a mad man trying to get out of his grip.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

I did a few years when I was posted on the west coast. I was around 200lbs at the time, so was put with everyone above 190, including some very, very big dudes.

Problem with big guys, they can be clumbsy. Until I learned how better to work with the speed difference I had, I used to get crushed... a lot. I remember one time I had to spend a few days on the couch, breathing shallow, because it hurt my ribs like shit, breathing normal sized breaths for a few days.

when you/others are new, you/they are awkward as fuck, and you will get hurt. Nothing permanent, but you will get hurt. When you are better, it lessens, but if you do any tournaments etc, you will probably get hurt as well.

If they are having you do matches before you know basic technique, the different guards and escapes, then your instructor might not be the best for you. And if the more experienced are going to the mat with you, and not helping you learn, but instead just using you for quick ego boosts, then that's something your instructor should be addressing as well.

[–]ImprovingMan1 point2 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

As a big guy myself, I can second this one. The guys that were smaller than me definitely had an advantage in the coordination department. A smaller guy can make a movement faster than a bigger guy, all other things being equal. I played football my entire life and the smaller guys were almost always much better athletes. It is just an agility thing. With a hand-to-hand combat sport, it will just take some time to learn how to utilize what you have.

Also, I couldn't agree more about the importance of a mindful instructor. If you are an ego boost for experienced guys, you will learn nothing. I played football for a major college program and every year there would be a bunch of enthusiastic guys that tried to walk-on and earn a spot on the team. It was essentially a slaughter. The ones that managed to make it through the workouts and into contact position drills were basically tackling dummies. Some of the guys on the team took pride in destroying them and making them quit, which was a huge ego boost. And all of the coaches absolutely loved it, so it was kind of encouraged to not help those guys and take advantage.

Just to add, trying new things is important, at least to me. I will never forget one of those walk-ons that made the team. He took a crazy amount of punishment but never quit. He red shirted his freshman year and wasn't treated with much respect from a lot of the guys. By the end of his first year playing, he was our starting longsnapper, where he stayed for 3 more years. He had some skill though. That guy was an absolute bulldog.

[–]RPAlternate42Red Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

a simpler dynamic: big guys make big spaces. small guys fill small spaces.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link


[–]ImprovingMan1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Ha kind of. Except I don't know if Rudy actually made the team. I thought he just ended up on a practice squad. I remember seeing an interview with Joe Montana and he said most of that stuff never really happened. I guess I should have added that this guy was well-coached in high school and was a very good long snapper. I believe his high school coach called and put in a word for him. So there was probably some help from outside sources. And I imagine that long snappers are usually walk-ons on most teams. But still a cool story I like to tell

[–]ReddJiveRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I just want to make the experience the safest and more enjoyable for both myself and sparring partner, instead of my just wriggling like a mad man trying to get out of his grip.


It's not gay if you don't look him in the eyes.

Seriously that's how BJJ goes. BPP was right as the new guy your going to loose, get your ass kicked, wonder WTF Sensei is talking about, then one day it'll make sense.

Despite what people say learning to fight is not natural. Survival is.

There's a difference.

Take your lumps. Man up. Put your pants back on and get back to the dojo.

[–]RPAlternate42Red Beret2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I've been grappling for over 5 years, over 2 of which are years spent in the gi doing BJJ. I also wrestled in the past and coached wrestling in the past.

I'm a blue belt now.

Yes, you will be meat in a grinder for a bit... then one day you are paired with a newer guy and you then know what you know.

You're new so you don't really know what you don't know. Right now your mind sees winning and losing. Soon you will learn the gray areas between winning and losing and then you will learn how to capitalize on those gray areas.

As a white belt, your focus needs to be on positional defensive fundamentals:

In Opponent's Closed Guard

  • Winning: Passing his guard
  • Gray Area: Not getting swept
  • Losing: Getting swept (or getting submitted from inside the guard)

In Opponent's Mount

  • Winning: Escaping mount completely
  • Gray Area: Sweeping his mount into his closed guard
  • Gray Area: Escaping his mount into half-guard
  • Losing: Being submitted from mount

Opponent in Your Closed Guard

  • Winning: Not being passed
  • Losing: Being passed
  • SuperWinning: Sweeping opponent

Opponent Mounted by You

  • Winning: Maintaining Position
  • Losing: Opponent escapes
  • SuperWinning: Submit opponent from mount

Additionally, you want to know your positional continuums:

  • Closed Guard
  • Sweep
  • Mount
  • Submit


  • In Guard
  • Pass
  • Knee on Belly
  • Mount
  • Submit

There are other variations on this, but it basically boils down to these and thats what you need: basically.

Take your beatings, focus on the fundamentals, get better.

go to /r/bjj

[–]rojapildora[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

appreciate your extended answer, quite helpful indeed changes the frame of winning- losing to just absorb the fundamentals

[–]ParadoxThatDrivesUs1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Weird, I also just attended y first BJJ class yesterday, and it unfolded exactly how you describe, except that every time I tapped out I asked my sparring partner what I did wrong, and got some helpful information that way.

I agree it's a bit unstructured - no learn this first, then learn this second, and practice this at home. That actually fits pretty well with what I'm looking for, though. I'm not looking to master the fine points of a sport so much as just getting in there and mixing it up.

[–]rojapildora[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Good Idea, next time I will ask the partners to give me some tips before in basics and then after finishing to give me tips in the post mortem of how I failed, thanks for response !

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

The drills can help with muscle memory. You don't want to be the guy who kicks a dude in the face everytime he let's you practice getting around his guard

[–]Chump_No_More1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yes, this is how it works. Just suck it up.

Believe me, you want to be working with the higher belts... they have 'control'. The lower belts don't and will just hurt you... a lot.

[–]PersaeusRed Beret1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

I have been doing BJJ for four months now, and your class appears to run in the same method as mine. We learn technique for 30 minutes, and then we roll for 90 minutes or as long as you can take it. Our gym has a timer that reset/alarms every 1/5 minutes. One minute rest, 5 minutes roll. Pick a different partner and repeat.

I have studied both Karate and Tae Kwon Do, and BJJ training is nothing like these two. I would estimate both were 50-75% training and 25% sparring; and the sparring is much less intense.

I have been BJJ training 2-3 nights a week. I am sore and in moderate pain after every session; but I also go pretty hard in the rolling. I have been injured twice in the last four months to a degree I had to lay off for a week or two. The veterans have said "stick with it for 6 months and your injury rate will drop and stick with it for a year and you won't be in pain all the time". Now most of these guys are less than 40 or 30 years old, so my mileage will vary. All that being said, I love BJJ so far. The suck/pain makes me feel alive.... I submitted three guys last night which is my personnel record now...and got submitted by six others.

If your a pussy or cannot tolerate/enjoy physical pain, BJJ is not for you.

[–]rojapildora[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

Nice, this indeed answers the questions. There was a method in the madness, what I gather from your post is that eventually months down the road I start to get it and making progress. Now to let go of the outcome and to enjoy the process and the suck.

[–]PersaeusRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yes you got it. As other have mentioned, studying books and youtube videos is useful. When you get your head handed to, make sure to ask the better man how to escape the hold and/or what you did wrong to get into that particular predicament. Obviously, strength and endurance (cardio....egads) is a big plus. Since I don't know shit, most of the guys I end up beating it ends up happening in the final minute when they run out of gas (I don't in 5m).

[–]Griever1140 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

You will be in the suck for a while. Embrace the suck.

[–]TheThirdT0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

A good starting point would be to learn the basic positions and good posture in each position. Start with that and practice framing, shrimping, and bridging which will help your defense a lot. Stephan Kesting has a free app and ebook called BJJ Roadmap that lays out the basics.

[–]rojapildora[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Nice, downloading as I type, thanks for the tip.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

congratulations - you fucking suck.

why are you surprised?

all you're doing is showing how fragile your ego is. don't worry. lots of guys like you. lots of them are just as or more pathetic than you.

[–]Nodeal_reddit0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I got my ass handed to me by a 16 year old girl during my demo class.

[–]cj_aubreyRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

One of the reasons being good at martial arts is an accomplishment is that you physically made it through the learning process. Learning toughness, humility and how to keep going when you're getting beaten are as important as learning how to pass guard and set up a triangle properly. That's the difference between a warrior and a weapons expert.

[–]UEMcGillI am become McGill, Destroyer of Blue Pill0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

How do you get better at push ups? More fucking push ups.

All tasks begin with a learning phase, and you are at that. Take that confusion, the lack of knowledge and ask yourself, how can I get better? How can I last one more second without tapping? How can I get stronger to move one more second?

Mastery has to start somewhere. Go look up Anthony Bordain for inspiration. He's a former heroin/smoking 50 something who just discovered BJJ.

[–]spexer0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

why the hell is this posted here, and not in a BJJ subreddit?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

It will get better. Every time you get tapped, stop and ask them what the submission was, and how to get out of it. Your partner will help you out.

The fact that you got rolled around like a ball is a good sign - the gym teaches people the skills they need to become certifiable badasses.

I've been doing BJJ for 6 years. I'm still bad. I will probably never be a purple belt. I still love it. You don't have to be good at something for it to be worth doing.

[–]rojapildora[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Appreciate your answer, I went to second day, asked questions, relaxed and breathed just trying to go with the flow, learned a lot and looking forward to road ahead

[–]BluepillProfessorMod / Red Beret0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

being meat to the grinder of guys obviously skilled in this helps me other than teaching me to be humble Is there any structure

Let me guess. You have never participated in organized athletics and are completely clueless? Pretty sure BJJ is no different than Karate. You start out with a White Belt and get your ass kicked. You get thrown on the ground. You get the shit beat out of you. Over years of practice that white belt becomes soiled with blood, dirt, and sweat until, is a black belt.

[–]RPAlternate42Red Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Pretty sure BJJ is no different than Karate.

I guess... from an apples-to-bags of shit comparison standards.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Find a Gracie certified school that teaches combatives. Its instructor led and you go through each class -(26- of them) 3 - 4 times. THEN you test for blue belt. THEN if they think you're ready they turn you loose in master cycle where you free roll.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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