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How can you prepare for your first sparring session with a BJJ Black Belt?

Quick answer: you can’t.

As a white belt, you are fairly clueless. Sure, you may have watched some youtube videos and tried to memorise some basic moves. Perhaps you have some childhood experience in Judo or another throwing martial art. Can you count on your fitness, your age or anything to give you even a glimpse of advantage? Ultimately all that is going to disappear as soon as you hit the mat.

“Everybody has a plan until they get hit” – Mike Tyson

The truth is, as a black belt your instructor would have committed to hundreds of hours on the mat and to qualify for a black belt they must have sparred with their peers and higher belts repeatedly. So, they have seen and done it all. No matter what simple submission you aim for, they are two or more steps ahead of you and can change the play of the game in an instant. My advice is to enjoy it. Smile and ask for feedback. Your instructor will not injure you and will give you enough time to tap without applying any pressure. Let’s face it, if you end up in an arm bar, you are not getting out of it.

If there is one thing to take away from this, it is that the experience counts more than defeat. Thinks of it as a springboard, reflect on how your instructor moved, could you have done some things differently. You may never defeat him or her but you will defeat others as you learn and grow as a practitioner.


This post is based on my 4th Lesson at Mathouse BJJ Reading.


Published inBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)Lifestyle

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