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The Importance of Training Aggressively
For many years, I enjoyed the lax style of Jiu Jitsu that me and many of my companions partook in. Not to say that we did not start to train aggressively in preparation for competition, but outside of that, our Jiu Jitsu was much less tense. This is something I noticed in almost all of the gyms I visited and thought it to be the norm.
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My whole view of Jiu Jitsu changed after a trip I took overseas to the country of Palestine, where I trained with the only gym in the nation. Immediately what I noticed when we sparred was the hard level of rolling everyone, including new white belts, partook in. This was a level of intensity I did not even experience in competition.
In rolling with these fierce grapplers, I noticed that I was having a difficult time even with white belts. I naively approached the situation thinking that being from a nation where the best grapplers in the world are, that I would be able to dismantle everyone there. I was so wrong. When I picked up the intensity to match theirs, I noticed that I was out of breath in only a few minutes. This was a huge eye opener for me.
In contemplating the matches I had at that academy, I realized that I have been half-assing my Jiu Jitsu for too long. I made the decision to increase the intensity of my training dramatically and immediately incorporated it when I got home. This new approach to training increased the rate at which I get better a lot. Although it was exhausting, my ability to maintain a high level of aggressiveness for periods of time got a lot better.
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Another thing I noticed was that other people were following in my footsteps and also started to train very hard. The first thing I saw was people not pulling guard and actually trying to take each other down relentlessly. It was awesome seeing everyone get so much better and succeeding in competition.
Training aggressively does not mean overwhelming one’s opponents with strength or smashing them in ways that will hurt them. Training aggressively in Jiu Jitsu means moving quick, using solid pressure when appropriate, being relentless with continuous attacks, not being overly cautious, and most importantly is not conceding to your opponent’s attacks. Also, one does not have to train extremely hard all the time. You can slow down if you are injured or at risk of injury or a day here or there. It is important, to elevate the intensity of your baseline so that when the time comes, it is easier than the training in the gym.