6 BJJ Beginner Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Mistake: Give the back to escape mount or bottom side control.
    This is an easy mistake to make – you want to run away from the danger, so you turn away from the choke. However, you have not actually made yourself safe, so you are still in danger. In fact, you have made it worse by giving up your back. Now your opponent is behind you, and you can’t see where the danger is coming from!
  2. Fix: Knee to elbow escape. Everyone must know this. If you don’t, you need to come to Basics class.
  3. Mistake: Trying to submit from inside the closed guard. It’s tempting to think you can win fights from inside the guard because you are physically on top. However, the guard exists as an attacking position for the person on bottom. You cannot attack from inside the guard.
    Fix: Pass the guard instead. Start with the basics like the esgrima pass. You’ll definitely see this in Basics class.
  4. Mistake: Pushing to escape mount. You’re stuck in mount, the guy on top of you is heavy, you can’t breathe. It makes sense, in a certain way, to try to push him off you. However, in BJJ, it’s quite dangerous because it exposes your arms to all sorts of attacks, and lets your opponent move into the high mount.
    Fix: Start with the Upa escape and go from there. We teach this in Basics class.
  5. Mistake: Attacking from the bottom of mount (or side control, really). When in doubt or danger, counterattack, right? Not always! Sometimes counterattacking will actually make it worse. And counter-attacking from a position in which you simply cannot win will just make you tired.
    Fix: Understand the positions and their dangers. I’d recommend some homework reading. And come to Basics class.
  6. Mistake: “Freaking Out” to defend chokes or other submissions (especially grabbing wildly). This makes you tired, it annoys your partners (and sometimes damages them) and keeps you from learning anything useful.
    Fix: Build defensive posture and escape correctly. This is not a quick fix, because you need to understand how to build defensive posture in all the positions. Reading the book mentioned above is good, and coming to Basics class will help. But freaking out and real defense are pretty much never the same thing, and freaking out will hold back your progress worse than anything else in BJJ.
  7. Mistake: Not tapping when the submission is on. No one loves to admit defeat. But it happens. It is an essential part of the learning process. Refusing to tap will eventually get you hurt. No one will want to train with you because you are unsafe, and ultimately you will be asked to find another place to train.
    Fix: Tap, figure out what went wrong, (ask questions after class! come to Basics class!) and live to fight another day.
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