When you’re just starting out on your BJJ journey, it’s easy to get confused by the excess of information at your disposal; techniques, positions, drills, diet… It can be a bit overwhelming. Especially when you want to improve as much as you can; there’s so many options to choose from! For that reason, it’s very important to take a moment and listen to the advice of jiujiteiros who have been training for a long time, as well as those who are top competitors.
Mahamed Aly, one of the most formidable competitors of today, as well as an IBJJF Gi and No Gi World Champion, shares his great advice in regards to what every beginner should focus on.
JIU JITSU IS NOT JUST ABOUT TECHNIQUES
„If I learn this technique, or this set of techniques, then I will be successful!“ That is a common way of thinking for Jiu Jitsu beginners, Mahamed points out. And no wonder! Knowing how to do a certain amount of techniques is nothing short of being very important; as it will be the techniques which will get you out of a bad spot, which you will use to tap your opponents out.
However, knowing how to do the techniques is not the most important thing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For, in order to perform a technique, Mahamed emphasizes that you need to understand the concepts which make it work, that you need to have the required physique and strength for it… But you also need to have the right mental approach about it.
In other words, Mahamed explains that BJJ is not just about technique, nor just about strength, nor „just“ about anything else… It is about „all of it“; learning techniques, becoming faster, becoming stronger – about taking everything together in order to fulfill your goals.
„BUT I DID IT LIKE A HUNDRED TIMES!“
Mahamed then points towards a complaint mentioned commonly not just by white belts, but even by more seasoned practitioners themselves; that they’ve done a certain move, a certain drill, a certain thing so many times that they don’t want to do it anymore!
The examples are many, but perhaps the most notable ones, as Mahamed emphasizes them, are warm ups and doing movements like a Hip Escape during them. It may seem to a jiujiteiro that, just because he’s done a certain thing for so long and because he has „learned“ it, that there’s no need in doing it again; especially not in such a large number of repetitions.
However, Mahamed debunks this approach. He points out that all martial arts have specific techniques which are required to be done as much as possible. For example, somebody who has been training boxing for a while will surely know how to jab… But that doesn’t mean they will stop practicing it! They’ll continue doing so through shadow boxing, for example. So, it doesn’t matter if you think that you have a specific technique down – continue drilling it.
And don’t do it just because you have to, Mahamed exclaims! Do it with intention, so that you become better.
LISTEN TO MAHAMED – IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY AND MOBILITY
Finally, Mahamed emphasizes that every jiujiteiro should stretch in order to preserve and improve their flexibility and mobility. The primary reason behind doing so, he explains, is because being flexible and being mobile will allow you to do the required techniques in a better, more complete way. In other words – it will put you in a better position to learn every technique you want to learn.
Listen to Mahamed Aly’s invaluable advice for beginners on his video below: