In jiu jitsu, I believe that there is a hierarchy of concerns. When rolling, if you find yourself missing one of the more basic concerns, then it will probably overshadow Here’s my hierarchy of jiu jitsu sparring, in order from most basic to most complex, and what a white belt should know. Others may differ.
- Protect your opponent and yourself from physical harm – be mindful of your surroundings, do not do techniques which have a high risk of causing injury unless you are very sure of yourself, always tap before your joint snaps or you black out, and release pressure the instant your opponent taps.
- Prevent your opponent from submitting you – learn how to defend against basic submissions.
- Hold your position – understand the basic principles of holding an opponent in guard, or of maintaining top control, and be able to prevent your opponent from passing guard, sweeping, or recomposing guard.
- Advance to a better position – be able to sweep, recompose guard, or pass your opponent’s guard.
- Submit your opponent – understand the basic submissions and the body mechanics that allow them to work.
- Try new things – work on assimilating techniques from class into your game.
Why do I present this as a hierarchy? Well, many white belts (myself included, not that long ago) try to skip steps 1–4 and go straight to steps 5 and 6. You’ll get more out of your rolling if you really work hard at steps 1–3 initially.
I don’t think there’s a definitive list of techniques that you absolutely need to know as a white belt. But here’s what I was asked to demonstrate during my blue belt test.
- 10 submissions from top (full mount or side control)
- 10 escapes (sweeps or guard pulls) from bottom (opponent in full mount or side control)
- 10 attacks from guard (sweeps or submissions)
- 10 takedowns from standing position
- 10 guard passes (open or closed guard)
- 5 submissions from the back