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My First Stripe

Jun 25, 2018 | Blog, Chronicles of a White Belt | 0 comments

Last summer and just for curiosity I joined a BJJ school and since then … oh well, I still suck, but that’s out of topic today. Honestly, at the beginning I didn’t care too much about Jiujitsu per se, all I wanted was to lose some weight, but now it’s the opposite, I want to lose weight and get flexible to be able to perform the Jiujitsu techniques. This year I’m putting extra efforts and fortunately my wife has been patient and is supporting me a lot in this new therapy/hobby.

  1. Cardio from HELL!. Your real physical conditioning will be put on test, the first week was horrible for me, I wasn’t even capable of finishing the warm up without gassing out on the first 10 minutes. Yeah, they say that Jiujitsu is about technique, leverage, even old people in terminal phase can do it and blah-blah-blah; may be, but I don’t think that’s completely true, I think you need some level of fitness, elasticity and two or three drops of evil. Even if you pay attention during class, take notes, read books and understand the theory of the technique, if you can’t use your body properly then it won’t work or your potential will be very very limited, simple as that. So the more you do Jiujitsu the faster you will get in shape, I’m not there yet, but eventually I will (or I will die trying).
  2. You may get skin rash at some point. I always take a shower before and after class, but may be your sparring partner won’t, or the mats are not clean, it is almost impossible to control it 100%, specially in the showers, just be aware.
  3. Invasion of personal space. If you are introvert like me, you will suffer, but at some point you will be more comfortable of having your sparring partner rubbing his/her face or butt against your face, chest or back, at the end that will be the very last of your priorities, believe me, you will be busy trying to escape from that goddamn choke.
  4. Ego breaker. If you think you are a tough man because you are strong or are black belt in other martial arts, wait until a small skinny pal/gal half your weight make you his/her bitch. Also, be aware that you may drill or spar with people with different personalities, from the patient nice guys to the hyper-competitive monsters that won’t care if it’s your first day, they will try to “murder” you no matter what, however you can learn a lot from them so don’t avoid them and embrace the whole BJJ experience.
  5. Panic. If you are claustrophobic like me, you will have to face your worst nightmare, but you will learn to defeat your fears, the key is being relaxed at all times, after some months this has helped me a lot in life (for example at work), my stress level is way lower than before starting Jiujitsu, it is odd, but it seems that Jiujitsu is 80% strategical thinking and 20% body maneuver.
  6. You will fart (or get farted in the face). That magical moment when you regret ordering tacos for lunch with mucha salsa picante and a Mexican Coca Cola in a glass bottle instead a chicken salad and simple water. Farting during sparring in front of your classmates is embarrassing specially in front of the ladies, but I bet it has happened to more than one, don’t worry, there are worst things like the guy who vomited in the mouth of his sparring pal. TIP: If your fart is silent just blame the other guy … “Ewww.. shame on you Ronaldinho”, make sure people hear you.
  7. Frustration. You may finish the class feeling frustration, you may ask yourself “What the hell I’m doing here? I don’t belong here….. ‘cause I’m a creep, I’m a weirdoooo ” , don’t quit, honestly nowadays I’m still fighting the frustration monster in my head but I know that it takes mat time (10,000 hours), sweat and blood to level up.

With that said I would like to share some thoughts about my very short experience in Brazilian Jiujitsu so far.


Jafet Sánchez

Jafet Sánchez

Software Engineer

Software Engineer with +20 years of experience. Specialist in getting s**t done. Web Developer currently focus in the e-Commerce world with SAP Hybris and Magento (and soon Salesforce).

Happy Husband and Father of two, Jujitsu practicioner, Carnivorous, Catholic and currently living in this beautiful and cold place called Chicago