5 things you should know before starting BJJ 

1. You’re not a “blue belt level”

This is a sure fire way to get on your professors bad side very very early and assure your belt stays white longer than Tiger Woods’ teeth. A lot of people add Gi Training to their regimen after many years of training No-Gi or MMA. If a guy has a decent amount of submission wins he will probably try to save his ego by saying something like “I’m like a blue belt level”. With a white belt On his waist. listen, if you haven’t dedicated a year or more to training in the Gi, and you don’t know X amount of lapel chokes, different guards and takedowns that utilize kimono grips , if you have a white belt around your waist – you’re a white belt level.

2. BJJ is nothing like karate. 

This is another way new guys like to give their ego a little bump. 

Well I’m a black belt in karate. I trained ____ years in taekwondo

And I have a lizard named Lenny. Karate is nothing like BJJ. Karate has nothing to do with BJJ. Karate has no pertinence to this conversation what so ever. 

3. You’re gonna be a white belt for awhile 

So how do stripes work?

How many days do I have to come to get a stripe? 

How many stripes until blue belt?

When’s belt testing?

So 150 classes? Ok that’s 3 days a week, 52 weeks in a year , one day a week is no Gi , that’s 2 weeks 26 times, so that’s one stripe every 37 classes 


STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT. Once you stop worrying about it , the belt will change colors by itself. Some people get theirs relatively quick and some get theirs relatively slow. There are exceptions on both sides. I’ve seen 6 month white belts and 6 year blue belts, if you plan for the latter you’ll never be disappointed. 

4. TapouT is frowned upon 

Now- I like tapout. Charles ‘mask’ Lewis (RIP) is one of my heroes and his Message to all of mma fighters and fans to never give up on their dreams is something that gives me goose bumps to this day if I watch one of his speeches. I own tapout shirts and book bags and everything in between. But like me, you have to understand that TapouT unintentionally made a mockery of ground fighting and MMA by attracting meat headed know-nothing fans who buy it up to look tough and act out In bars. I’m not saying not to wear it, but understand that you might be the subject of some ridicule at first. Because if your team mates don’t know you yet, when they look at that shirt they see the typical tapout tool. Show them that you aren’t that guy. But be ready for some heckling. 

5. Technique costs money 

150$ a month? That’s insane!

Says the guy with the 300$ shoes and the newest iPhone who’s at the bar every night. How dare this guy who spent a decade earning the right to teach others demand that you fork over 37 dollars and 50 cents of your hard earned GWOLLAH. that’s like 6 packs of cigarettes !  

If you find a gym where a black belt is teaching, who spent a decade or more training under a legitimate association , attending seminars , taking privates , etc. and that gym has produced champions at the highest levels – and it costs less than 100$ a month, please get in touch with me via the contact form because obviously me and everyone else on earth is getting robbed. Achieving a high level in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is like achieving anything else in life worth while, it’s gonna take some sacrifice. If this means you have to cut back on the drinking or or sport a pair of shaq’s , then do what you have to do. When you’re a black belt you’ll understand. 


  1. John Barrera

    I’m a BJJ Brown Belt, a second degree Karate Black Belt and a Green Belt in judo…this is my experience regarding the statement that “karate is not BJJ”… This statement is superficially true in the direction that they are different in strategies…however, I must say that I have used many aspects of my Karate training to help me excel in BJJ… The type of Karate that I studied was very comprehensive in that takedowns, Gi/opponent control and various submissions were utilized… Both from standing and on the ground…even when I was a white belt my training partners knew and could feel the martial arts awareness that comes with studying and training in karate prior to BJJ… So, even though “on paper”, Karate is not BJJ, there are many aspects that can/may cross over to BJJ and really enhance it… So let’s please recognize both Karate and Tae Kwon Do as beneficial to the learning of BJJ… If not for the techniques then at least the discipline and respect that they bring to the mat…:)

    1. JoeTheGuardian

      Point recognized 🙂 very true. best of luck in the rest of your martial arts journey.


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