White Belt BJJ mistakes: Failure to Relax

Martial Arts Over 50

One common mistake that white belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioners often make is failing to relax during training and sparring. This mistake can hinder their progress and effectiveness on the mats.

Importance of Relaxation in BJJ


Energy Conservation

Tensing up and being overly rigid expends a lot of unnecessary energy. BJJ is a sport that requires endurance, and unnecessary tension can lead to fatigue quickly.

Fluidity of Movement

Being relaxed allows for smoother transitions between positions and techniques. Fluid movements are essential for effective BJJ, and tension can hinder your ability to flow.

Sensitivity and Timing

A relaxed state enhances your sensitivity to your opponent’s movements and intentions. It also improves your timing in executing techniques, as you can feel subtle shifts in weight and balance more accurately.

Prevention of Injury

Tension increases the risk of injury. When you’re too stiff, you’re more susceptible to joint injuries and muscle strains. Being relaxed helps your body absorb and distribute force more efficiently.

How to Address the Issue


Conscious Breathing

Focus on your breathing to stay calm and relaxed. Deep, controlled breaths can help regulate your nervous system and keep you composed during training or sparring.


Be aware of your body and any unnecessary tension. Regularly check in with yourself during training to identify areas where you might be holding tension, and consciously release it.

Progressive Resistance

Start with light resistance during drills and gradually increase it as you become more comfortable. This approach allows you to develop techniques and muscle memory without unnecessary tension.

Visualization Techniques

Imagine yourself executing techniques smoothly and effortlessly. Visualization can help create a mental blueprint for your movements, promoting relaxation during actual training.

Relaxation Drills

Incorporate specific relaxation drills into your training routine. These can include partner drills where the goal is to move and flow without using excessive strength.

Focus on Learning, Not Winning

Shift your mindset from winning to learning. BJJ is a complex martial art, and the learning curve is steep. Embrace the journey of improvement rather than focusing solely on the outcome of sparring sessions.

Feedback from Higher Belts

Seek feedback from higher belts and instructors. They can provide valuable insights into areas where you may be holding unnecessary tension and offer guidance on how to relax during training.

Final Thoughts

Remember that becoming proficient in BJJ takes time, and learning to relax is a gradual process. By addressing this common white belt mistake early on, practitioners can lay a solid foundation for their journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Contact Professor Jodey Ingalls if you have any questions or would like to know more.

Pure Martial Arts & Fitness - Professor Jodey Ingalls

Pure Martial Arts & Fitness – Professor Jodey Ingalls