Listed here are some of the most common newbie white belts do when sparring in BJJ. I think most of the jiu jitsu community has been guilty of some of these.

1. Crossing your feet when you have the back mount.

Classic rookie move. Crossing your feet from the back may feel safe. It seems to have more control too right? After all, that’s what you’re supposed to do in closed guard. The problem is that you can get submitted and your ankles broken from this position. All your partner has to do is figure four their legs over your ankles, tighten it up, and thrust their hips forward. Keep your feet uncrossed from the back mount.

2. Guys and armbars.

If a dude that’s new to jiu jitsu doesn’t wear a cup, and tries to perform an armbar, chances are he will smash his family jewels. It’s not entirely intuitive at first how you should make this move work without crushing your balls. I know. I’ve been there. Instead, you need to get closer to your partner so that their elbow is above your crotch area. It helps to squeeze your thighs together as well. You can also move the arm slightly off center to your hip flexors to avoid the sensitive area.

3. Poor energy management.

White belts usually go 100% when rolling. It’s not surprising. In order to achieve an advantageous position, brute strength is something that is necessary when your technique is not there. This makes you tire much faster and, in turn, makes your technique even worse. A vicious cycle. Learn what positions allow you to rest and identify what positions you should explode from. Usually, the best time to explode is when your opponent makes a move.

4. Too much space.

Good BJJ practitioners roll without giving up space. They are always tight against the body of their opponent and every point of contact serves a purpose. As for white belts, this, like all things, will come with hours and hours on the mat. There’s really no way around it. When people start escaping your side mount or replacing their guard on you or successfully defending your pass, part of the problem is that there’s too much space between you and them. The idea is to remove all these voids so that they cannot slide their knee in or swim under for an underhook. The more you recognize the space you leave out there, the better off you will be to remove that space from your opponent.

5. Not grip fighting.

Grips on the gi are essential to successfully hitting most techniques. White belts fail to defend from their opponent’s grips and end up at a disadvantage. Whoever can get their grips first, will be the one to start attacking. This forces the other person to defend. Don’t just accept that the other person has grips on your grip. Fight to strip them of their control and work for your own.

Do you guys agree? What mistakes do you guys make. Let us know in the comments below.

5 Common Mistakes White Belts Make

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