Talent is important, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Often, it will make the difference between winning and losing, as well as making more versus making less progress in training. So, if you’re totally anti-talented, you’re probably better off without having huge dreams in BJJ – such as becoming a world champion.
However, just because you can’t become a world champion, doesn’t mean that you can’t become really good at Jiu Jitsu… Despite your lack of talent.
Just make sure to adhere to the following 7 pieces of advice.
A TALENT-RICH WORK ETHIC
Here’s the thing: long-term, it’s way better to be talented in regards to your work ethic, than to just be talented in terms of skill acquisition. That is, it’s better to be able to work hard than to have things come easily to you.
In other words, if you relish hard work, then more power to you! And even if you don’t, realize that you need to build this habit. It will pay off dividends, as you’ll see in the following tips.
INCREASE YOUR MAT TIME
The single best way to improve at BJJ, talented or not, is to spend more time training. If you’ve been training „only“ three times per week, now make it six. Maybe even try to go twice per day on weekends.
As you increase your mat time, so will you refine your overall sense of what to do – and how to do it. Therefore, if you don’t take up anything else from this list, make sure to drill and roll more!
TAKE PRIVATE CLASSES
If you’re looking to contribute additional quality to your extra hours on the mat, then let several of them be in the form of private training sessions. During these sessions, your instructor (or maybe even just higher belts) can show you more of the details that shall make your skill level stand out, despite your lack of talent.
PAY ATTENTION AND INVEST YOURSELF
The next time you’re on the mats, take a look around yourself for a bit. How many of your training partners are really paying attention to what the instructor is showing? How many of them are trying to make each drill repetition better? And how many of them are fully invested during rolling?
The biggest culprit to BJJ failure, despite mat hours, is the lack of attention and intent during training. You know what you have to do – the opposite of what these training partners are.
Before training, make it a habit to visualize your levels of focus and aggressiveness, that will allow you to be fully present; as well as to think about what you want to accomplish (especially during rolls).
Don’t come as a blank slate to every training session. Be prepared, with your mind fully invested into the task at hand.
WRITE NOTES AFTER TRAINING
Get a pen and paper ready. After you come back from training, you’ll use it to write down notes about it – what you did, how you did it, the details to techniques, and how you could perform them better.
This way, your technique retention will improve… As well as your understanding of details that make it truly work!
WATCH BJJ INSTRUCTIONALS
And finally, whenever you have time from other obligations and training, for one reason or another, isn’t a viable possibility – get your hands on a BJJ instructional or two and watch them.
Then, write down important aspects of techniques and setups, and make sure to practice them in training.
No use in just watching an instructional; use the knowledge you have learned from it to improve!