So you’re improving in BJJ! But not as much as you’d like, eh…? No problem, we’ve got your back! Here are 10 easy to follow through tips that will help you improve in Jiu Jitsu by heaps and bounds!
DON’T JUST DRILL TO DRILL
When you’re drilling a technique, don’t just go through the motions – but be actively involved in what you’re doing! This you can do by:
a) focusing on as much of the technique’s details while you’re drilling it, trying to hit them better on each and every rep and;
b) setting a number of repetitions that you want to hit for a technique in a given drill.
By combining these two sub-tips, your techniques will become sharper than ever and better ingrained in your muscle memory.
DON’T BE A PASSIVE TRAINING PARTNER
If your training partner is drilling something, a guard pass for example, don’t just lay there and think about chocolate cakes. Instead, try and find the details that your training partner may be missing on. Think about how he could do it better. Come up with ways you’d counter that pass with in a live roll.
Be active and stay present at all times!
A lot of professional athletes swear by the power of visualization in increasing their skill levels. Practice visualization by trying to remember a technique, a principle or a sequence of moves as vividly as possible, in as much detail as possible, whenever you can outside your BJJ class.
This will make it easier for you to hit those same techniques, principles and sequences when you’re rolling and drilling – for you have „seen them“ so many times in your mind that you can act in an instant when the need to do so arises!
STAY A BIT LONGER
When the training is done, stay for a few minutes longer. Maybe drill a certain technique with your training partner, so that you make sure you’ve gotten it down. Or ask your professor about the details that weren’t clear to you in that day’s class, or about something you’ve been unable to do successfully when rolling.
Staying a bit longer is like adding another dollar or two to your savings account each day. It adds up.
PRACTICE NEW TECHNIQUES ON NEW STUDENTS FIRST
If you want to learn a new technique, one of the best ways to get it down is to start by practicing it on new or least advanced students in your class. As you successfully hit that technique repeatedly on them, go and try on a bit more seasoned white belts. Then try it on blue, then on purple belts… And keep on climbing through the ranks until your technique is refined as much as possible.
GET YOURSELF INTO BAD POSITIONS
Yes – put yourself into bad positions intentionally! Let someone Mount you, take your back… So you can practice escaping it more!
This is particularly useful when done with training partners who are on a lower skill level than you are. Giving up your back to them, for example, is a win-win situation; since you get to practice your defense and your partners get to practice their submission skills at the same time!
DO MORE POSITIONAL SPARRING
Similarly to the previous tip, put in more time into positional sparring rather than just going full-out each and every time you roll. Have your training partner try and pass your Guard, while you try to retain it. When they pass you, change places and repeat. Have them take your back. When they finish you or you escape, restart by switching positions – and benefit from intentional practice, one that is improving your skill set much more than you may think.
DON’T ALWAYS ROLL TO WIN, ROLL TO IMPROVE
Competitions should be reserved for your full-blown, 110% effort and desire to win. On the other side, your training rolls should – for the most part, if progress is that what you’re after – be focused on trying new things, experimenting, figuring out what works and what doesn’t… On growing.
Sure, having an occasional sub-only match with your favorite training partner is great! But don’t do it each and every time you roll.
HAVE A GOAL IN MIND
Before coming to training, set a goal so as to what you want to accomplish during that day’s rolling session. Do you want to do a specific submission for a specific number of times? Do you want to pass in a certain way? Whatever it is, come with a plan – this will keep you even more concentrated on training at hand.
Similarly, before you slap and fist bump with someone, think of what you want to accomplish. Don’t just let things go as they unfold; but get into a habit of telling yourself that: „I’m going for this pass and this submission.“ And then go get it – by seeking out opportunities before they even arise, you’ll stay one step ahead of your training partners and future opponents!
Finally, remember that consistency breeds success in all walks of life, Jiu Jitsu included. Set a number of training sessions you want to hit during the week, and then don’t settle for less than that.
It’s often just by chipping away bit by bit that large chunks are taken care of. So make sure that you are in the gym as much as possible, as consistently as possible.