Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter Cascao Vital. He runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.
The amount of people that stick with BJJ from white belt to black belt is staggeringly low. The percentage is in the low single digits. Now there are a lot of reasons for that which include injuries, work schedule, hurt ego and even having a growing family, but one reason that we are going to tackle right now is burn out.
Burning out is a big reason that many stop practicing our art, but the good news is that it is in our complete control.
To prevent burn out though we need to understand what behavior routines are most likely to cause it.
The first indicator is usually when your going 5 – 6 days a week with a two a day here and there. That’s a lot of time on the mat. Now going that much can do a lot for your game and progression, but there are very few guys who are able to dedicate their lives completely to BJJ training at that level. The ones that can usually don’t have another job, wife, kids or even an academic school load. At that pace and that life load, something usually gives and that something far too often is BJJ. We need to think long term and that means pacing yourself. Running a 400 meter sprint is a lot different pace then running a marathon. Training high volume like a professional with a large life load usually results in you burning out in a year or less. It’s far more effective to hit the mats 2 – 3 times per week for decades then everyday for a year.
Another factor that plays into BJJ burnout is overtraining.
Overtraining effects sleep, motivation, injury rates, immune system and overall well being. If you are training hard on the mats, hard in the gym, running miles on the road and warrior posing on the yoga mats, well it all can help our game, but if you do not balance it all out with the proper overall work load, you get injured, chronically tired and eventually burn out. Instead you need to decide which training is your top priority and create an overall week game plan that has the proper amount of volume for you. If you are doing an extra BJJ class this week, maybe cutting out a weight session or a long run would be a good idea. Every person and lifestyle has a different weekly load they can handle, find yours and keep the total hours of training in check.
Treating every roll likes its ADCC is another sure way to burn yourself out as well.
I had a talk with Tristar’s head coach Firas Zahab on the subject and he says the best way to train is to have 80-90% of your grappling rolls be in a smooth flow state where you can truly work your technical game without the athleticism playing a large roll. This tactic cuts down on injury rates while at the same time allows the practionor to have fun and progress at a nice pace. Not everybody wants to grind every roll, everyday. Some do, most don’t. There are times where it is needed and that should fall into the 20% rule.
For most of us the goal is to have BJJ become a lifestyle.
Eating healthy, training hard, improving our fighting skills, being a part of a team, getting healthy and fit, but also having fun. Look more at the long term picture and pace yourself out. Hit the mats at least 2-3 times a week, cross train with the proper total load for the week, flow more with your training partners and get more technical and turn it up hard 20% of the time. BJJ ideally should be a life long pursuit, not just a 2018 goal.