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There are a lot of moves banned in many tournaments for white belt competitors.
The process of making a technique illegal often arises when the governing body or organization identifies a position with the potential to cause injury.
Often, the move or position won’t start off being illegal. It’s only after injuries keep recurring that the move or positions legality comes up for discussion.
Especially, for newer competitors that are often unfamiliar with competing, rules, and controlling themselves.
If you’ve ever watched a white belt match. It looks a lot like a blood sport fight.
When you get two brand new white belts going at it. The match can be very unpredictable.
In fact, there’s almost no technique at this point. Instead, natural instincts take over and it’s essentially a mini mixed martial arts match.
So now we will go over the most common illegal movements specific to white belts in many major gi competitions.
//Jumping closed guard and flying submissions
I’ve done a few videos on this one but pretty much if the guard jumper messes up their pull. They will very often injure their opponents legs. Seriously damaging the knees if they jump the wrong way.
I mentioned above that new white belts don’t have a lot of body awareness/control. So this is a very dangerous move.
Not to say that jumping guard is bad.
It’s just that you can only jump guard in specific situations. Meaning that you can’t force it or spam it.
So definitely practice this move with a compliant partner before even dreaming of using this in sparring or in a match.
This is a move that you wouldn’t think would be illegal.
But it’s often those moves that seem simple that are easy to get wrong like jumping to closed guard.
The wrist lock is dangerous because it goes from 0 to 100 real quick.
It goes from no pain or maybe a little bit of discomfort to snap-crackle-pop.
Again, if a student doesn’t have control. It’s just a recipe for disaster.
To properly perform a wrist lock from say the side mount. It’s an exercise in escalating force.
That means that once you secure the wrist lock. With control, we have to continually apply force until our opponents taps with out injuring them to the best of our ability.
Also a lot of white belts don’t have the awareness of when they’re in a submission. So they might get caught in a tight wrist lock, but not know that is a wrist lock and be able to act accordingly.
//Leg locks other than ankle locks
Same as with wrist locks.
Leg locks have to be practiced with a lot control. Because they can deal a lot of damage.
I actually don’t mind teaching white belts leg submissions. Especially in no gi.
But I also understand that also comes with having to watch them more closely and sometimes stopping training sessions in which I feel they may get injured.
//So why are all of these moves illegal in most tournaments for white belts?
The white belt is a person with a novice level of experience and ability in Jiu Jitsu.
If you allowed them the full rule set. I believe that a lot of white belt students would do well.
However, due to the nature of competition.
The anxiety of competing for the very first time or couple of times.
Along with so little experience.
The more moves at their disposal. The more likely they are to try something crazy and potentially injure themselves and their opponent.
It’s not to unusual to see a white belt student just “wing it” and do something super crazy and something they never practiced before in a roll or competition.
In that case, I think it’s okay to have a few limitations for everyone’s safety.
When I first began training I wasn’t quite old enough to drive. So I had to rely on my local public transportation (my city was not very commuter friendly) and rides from family and friends to get to training.
At most, I was able to train up to two times during the week and maybe a Saturday class on weekends if I was lucky.
I maintained this schedule up until I reached blue belt. Which happened to coincide with getting a car. Now, I could train once everyday as well as a weekend class.
And when I started competing more nationally as a purple belt. I began adding more classes to my schedule on certain days. Maybe Tuesday or Thursday I would attend two classes back to back. Or maybe one morning session and one night session.
As a brown belt I began training Jiu Jitsu professionally. I worked my way up to training every day, twice a day, Monday through Thursday. Taking Friday completely off. Training on Saturday and maybe a Sunday open mat.
I’m writing about this not to brag about my own training schedule. Which continues to evolve. But more as a guide. Many new students will want to dive head first into Jiu Jitsu because it’s so addictive. But many times, these same students will burn out or worse over strain themselves and get injured.
I believe it’s best to work yourself up in your training. Let your body become accustomed to the training. Being careful to learn all the proper movement skills and basic techniques.
Most importantly of all. Try not to compare yourself to anyone else.
There are some students that can make tremendous gains training two times a week.
While another student might have to attend every class and take private lessons in order to keep up with the class.
Everyone is different. Everyone learns at different rates. And everyone has different life circumstances that will affect how much they can invest in their training.
As a beginner
Just training 1 to 2 times a week will be a good starting point depending on your physical condition and age.
For new students who haven’t participated in sports before. Starting slowly will be important. You want to give your body time to adjust to the training. You will use muscles that you’ve never used before and move your body in ways that you haven’t since you were a child. Resist the urge to go all in and injure yourself. Focus on developing your coordination and basic movement skills like shrimping, break falling, forward roll, and backwards roll, etc.
For new students with more athletic experience. I typically suggest between 2 or 3 training sessions to begin with. The conditioning from Jiu Jitsu shouldn’t be a problem. But your major focus should be on learning the technique and learning how to properly utilize that technique while rolling.
Intermediate level students can definitely up the number of training sessions. At this level, 4 to 5 training sessions is completely doable. Once you begin to utilize more technique than just physical ability. You will be able to train more. If you use all of your strength or speed everytime you roll. You won’t be able to maintain this training schedule for very long without burning your body out.
Allow yourself as much time as possible to build a solid foundation on all the basics of Jiu Jitsu. Including guard, guard passing, defense, and attacks.
Don’t worry if you haven’t quite figured out your game right now.
Advanced level students will find that they can maximize their training by adding multiple classes to their schedule.
Multiple sessions will allow you even more time to gain experience working different positions as well as pushing your conditioning to a higher level.
Training multiple times in a day is not just about rolling. Even the most elite competitors will rarely trains over two hours total rolling.
Instead, use multiple training sessions to get more work done.
You can make one session lighter and focus on solving problems in your game.
While the other session(s) can be geared towards rolling and getting in those tough rounds.
Whatever the case, be smart and listen to your body.
The professional level is not to different than the advance level. At this point you should have an idea of how much you need to train as well as what intensity to maintain.
I’ve seen some athletes train everyday.
Some train hard during the week, but then take the weekend off.
At the professional level you really have to listen to your body.
Especially, if you compete very frequently.
For example, I have a normal training schedule that I like to maintain. However, when there is a tournament I have to change my training around in order to allow for strength training, rest days, and breaks after the tournament.
I can’t tell you how many times after a tournament when I will see competitors trying to train hard the very next day.
Sometimes more training isn’t the solution. Especially, as you begin to reach higher levels. You’re going to reach plateaus that training alone will not help you overcome.
Also, at this point your technique should be at a high enough level where you can begin adding strength training, flexibility work, and cardio into your training to help you not only stay healthy but to help you better utilize your technique.