How to get better at BJJ: 12 Steps

How to get better at BJJ: 12 Steps

Whether you are new to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or if you have been around awhile, we all want to maximize our time and get the best results possible as quickly as possible. There really is no secret, show up and train and time will do the rest, but there are certain steps you can take to help the process.

Ask Questions:

Sometimes it is hard to ask questions, you think you may sound dumb. Well I can assure you you do not sound dumb, if you have a question, chances are, other people are wondering the same thing. Everybody was a beginner at some point, no one was born knowing Jiu Jitsu, somebody helped them along the way and answered their questions.

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Train with Higher Ranks:

If you are a white belt, do not be afraid to call out a higher rank to drill with or to roll with after class. Now, if you go after this higher rank with 100% of your energy they are more than likely going to be forced to defend themselves and kick your butt. Go at them at a slow enough pace that you can learn from their movements and after the match go back to step #1 and ask them a question! Ask how they swept you, or why your pass or submission attempt failed and what steps you can take to work on it.

Show up on Time:

As an instructor we understand that life can get in the way, we get that maybe your job does not let you out early enough to make it right on time but if you can help it, do not miss warm ups. There are many reasons for this, first reason is that the workout before class helps you get in shape which in return only makes fighting easier. Second, is that typically the warm ups and drills you do at the beginning of class has something to do with the techniques you will be learning that day, not only will this help build muscle memory about the position but also help you feel the position in a more live manner than just the static form of drilling a technique.

Roll Positionally:

If your school does not train live from the position you worked on at the end of class, do not be afraid to ask your sparring partner to start in that position when you train live. Getting as much time in those positions will help you recognize and execute the techniques you train in class, giving you more opportunities to work the proper timing of the skills you just learned

Train from Standing:

Unless you are older or injured, there really is no reason to avoid standing (unless you are following step #4 and trying to get more time training from a specific position). All tournaments start on the feet, all MMA fights start on the feet, and typically, most self defense situations start on the feet too. Get comfortable with takedowns early on, it will only benefit you.

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Drillers make Killers:

If you are rolling live 90% of your time chances are that you are building some bad habits and ignoring some key small details of certain techniques. It is alright to drill extra before or after some live rolling, an extra 7 minutes drilling some of your favorite techniques and transitions can really help improve your game.

Flow:

One of my favorite aspects of BJJ is the fact that we can train close to 100% intensity and not injure each other, but if you are only rolling as hard as you can, you are more likely than not only playing your game. Only doing what you feel comfortable doing and not exactly growing your style. With a trusted training partner, try flow rolling. Flow rolling is where you are only going at 30-50% intensity, with an emphasis on transitions, new positions, and trying out new techniques that you are interested in. This is a low stress way to help expand your game.

Start in bad spots:

The worst time to experience the bottom positions against someone larger, stronger, or just technically dominant is in a tournament or real fight. Allow smaller or less skilled practitioners to start in top mount, in back control, or side control, make it a goal to escape, reverse, or survive. The next level to this way of training is to allow someone bigger and more skilled to start at a good position. You will learn real quick where your deficiencies are.

Keep a Notebook:

Write out what you did in that training session. It is not easy putting physical movements into words, but if you can write it out in your own words what you did that night you will gain an even deeper understanding of the techniques.

Youtube and Instructionals:

The internet is a rabbit hole, keep on track with your goals. Do not just watch random videos, isolate a certain position, transition or technique and research it.  Check out BJJ Fanatics!!!

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Take a Private Lesson:

Most schools offer private training, this allows you to get some one-on-one time with your coach to analyze your technique and to even work on what you want to work on in a private setting where you can have your instructors full undivided attention.

Compete:

  • I’ll be honest with you, I really do not compete a whole lot nor is it something I particularly enjoy doing. Still, I try to do it every once and awhile because the benefits from it are undoubtedly significant. It allows you to truly test yourself against someone else at 100% intensity with the goal of winning. Win or lose you come out on top because if you win you gain the satisfaction of winning and can see all your hard work is paying off, losing (learning) allows you to see exactly where the holes are in your game and what you should put your attention on.
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