Essential Tips for Beginners in Jiu Jitsu

By John Parke

During my journey into grappling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I have come across several principles and pieces of advice which have greatly accelerated my progress. I often find myself wondering just how much further ahead I would be today if I had known of them at the start of my training. It is for this reason that I try to ensure that the beginners I teach and my private clients are aware of them at the start of their grappling careers. The tips below are the ones I feel are most significant for the beginner.

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First Degree Blackbelt - Expert or Novice?

One of the greatest misconceptions within the martial arts is the notion that all black belts are experts.

It is understandable that those unacquainted with the martial arts might make this equation; however, students should certainly recognise this is always not the case. Too often, novice black belts advertise themselves as experts and eventually even convince themselves that they are one.

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Basic Principles Underlying Karate Techniques

Tsuki (punching), uchi (striking), keri (kicking), and uke (blocking), are the fundamental karate techniques. They are at once the beginning and the final goal of karate. Students can easily learn to perform these basic movements in little more than two months, but perfection in their performance may be impossible. Therefore, students must practice regularly and employ maximum concentration and effort in the performance of each movement. However, practice will not achieve its object if it is undertaken incorrectly. Unless students learn techniques on a scientific basis, under an instructor employing a systematic and properly scheduled training system, their efforts will be in vain. Karate training can be considered scientific only when it is conducted on the basis of correct physical and physiological principles.

Surprisingly, an examination of the karate techniques which our predecessors created and refined through continuous study and practice reveals that these techniques accord with modern scientific principles. However, further refinement is always possible. We must try to analyze our techniques in an unceasing effort to improve.

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Tenets of Taekwon-Do

The Taekwon-Do oath

I shall observe the tenets of Taekwon-Do
All students must swear to carefully observe, acknowledge and live by each one of the taekwon-do tenets. Here is a brief and basic explanation of each:

I shall respect the instructor and seniors
A student vows to respect their instructors and those senior to them (both in age and rank). An instructor must also act respectfully to all students and persons in order to be respected and therefore not misusing Taekwon-Do.

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Relaxing - The Key to Sharp Karate

When most people envisage karate, they see powerful snappy punches or kicks. They also envisage a myriad of muscles all contracting simultaneously to generate that power. Perhaps this is why most karate-ka are too tense and stiff throughout their training.

While tension is required at the end of a technique to give it the final bite, during any other part of the technique, the body SHOULD be relaxed.

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