Five Underused Ways to Improve Your Jiu Jitsu

Five Underused Ways to Improve Your Jiu Jitsu


Jiu Jitsu provides an amazing outlet to those of us who have made it a part of our lives. It is well documented how Jiu Jitsu applies both inside and outside of the training academy. In this article, I would like to share five tips that will help you improve your Jiu Jitsu in a positive and meaningful way.

Learn from Both Angles

Too many new students don’t completely value the role of the “bad guy” when drilling in the technical portion of class. There is an entire perspective of Jiu Jitsu that is often missed when students just “go through the motions” when having a technique applied to them. The truth is, every class has the ability to be viewed from both angles. Every control course is also a lesson in escaping. Furthermore, every attack or submission class, is also a lesson in counters and defense. Bottom line, study Jiu Jitsu from both angles and you will improve twice as quickly!

Go Back to the Fundamentals

A common occurrence is a new blue belt, who waited so long to finally be invited to the advanced class, never attending a fundamental class again. This is a critical error in terms of overall Jiu Jitsu mastery. Every belt level should go back to fundamental courses throughout their journey, and even teach fundamental courses if possible. Advanced Jiu Jitsu boils down to mastery of the basics.

Play Nothing but Defense

In sparring class, it is too easy to “develop a game” that works well, especially with your regular training partners. This often leads to similar rolls taking place without many opportunities to experience different positions. Every once in a while, say once a month, decide to only play defense during your rolls. Your only goal is to defend submissions at all costs. This will force you to develop experience and confidence in positions you may not normally be in, especially against less skilled training partners. It does take a bit of an ego check, but you will be amazed at what this type of training does for your overall Jiu Jitsu.

Ask Higher Belts About the Tap

Many times, when a lower belt taps out to a higher belt during a roll, the lower belt gets mad at themselves and then continues to roll. Often times the roll ends with the lower belt having been submitted two or three times but never fully comprehending why they got submitted. Most higher belts are more than happy to explain what they were thinking and doing that led to the submission. This information can often lead to critical breakthroughs and insights in improving your Jiu Jitsu game.

If You Want it, DON’T Go For it

This piece of advice can be slightly confusing. But one common mistake that beginner Jiu Jitsu students often make when rolling is to stubbornly try for a submission even though their opponent is doing everything correctly to defend it. This leads to several minutes of a stagnant roll during which very little is actually accomplished. The truth is, if your opponent is effectively defending a specific choke, they are probably more susceptible to an arm lock. Conversely, if they are correctly defending an arm lock they are usually more vulnerable to a choke. Sometimes the harder and more stubbornly you go for a specific submission, the less likely you are to achieve it. But, when you detach yourself from having to get that submission and instead take the path of least resistance, the more likely you are to get all sorts of submissions!

Jiu Jitsu is an amazing sport, lifestyle, hobby, and system of self-defense. Certainly it is designed to be a lifelong journey which is bound to have ups, downs, plateaus, and everything in between. I hope that some of these tips will help you along the way.