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Do you keep a BJJ journal? It could be your key to better retention.
When we start our voyage into BJJ, we are exposed to an endless amount of techniques and ideas. Not to mention all the advice, philosophy, and those special quotes about the art that we never forget. There is much to remember. We try to retain all this information and put it to use, but it can be difficult, especially for a novice student.
One of the most common concerns that beginners seem to convey is that they can’t remember the things they’re being taught. Of course with any new learning endeavor there is an early period of being inundated with new information. It will take time for you to process these new ideas and put them into practice. But is there a way to maximize your retention and better process all these amazing things you’re being shown?
I’ve kept BJJ journals since the start of my training. I have about one for roughly every year I’ve been practicing. I keep a stack of them at my fingertips at all times. They contain information from every seminar I’ve ever attended, notes on videos, amazing quotes and philosophy. I’ll often refer to them when I have trouble remembering a favorite technique or particular way I learned something.
When you keep a journal, you can write these things in a way that is descriptive and familiar to YOU. That armbar you learned from the seminar that you loved? It’s right there, broken down step by step in your handwriting, clarified in a way that makes sense to you.
Besides being able to refer to this journal to jog your memory. I’ve found that sitting down after training or a seminar and taking notes on what I’ve learned can actually be really enjoyable. You’ve also now added another layer to your practice by calling up the information you were just given and putting it to paper, forcing your mind to once more go over the material, which will lead to better retention. You really can’t lose!
A small journal can be found at almost any bookstore, department store, just about anywhere really. Pick one up that has a sturdy cover, so you can take it with you anywhere and not worry about it getting a little beat up. After you’ve filled up that first one, you’ll get a sense of pride similar to that new fade or fray you see on your belt from all your training!
To complement your BJJ Journal, it would be helpful to have a complete resource that covers all of the most important fundamental techniques. Bernardo Faria has just released his "Foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Series". It is filled with over 5 hours of his favorite and most used techniques from his entire BJJ career. Check it out here.