Two Ways to Get Good at Jiu Jitsu
There are probably as many opinions about how to get good at jiu jitsu as there are current practitioners out there on the mats. So why do so many people who put on a gi or step on the mat for the first time, never make it to the sought after black belt? While it can be debated endlessly that there are legitimate reasons to stop jiu jitsu, I think the majority of people stop because of frustration. Modern society is currently built on the notion of instant gratification. We lead such arguably busy lives that unless something pays off almost immediately, many don't have the discipline or fortitude to stick with it. In addition, beyond the neediness and lack of perseverance of the modern consumer, human beings have a long history of over complicating things. The devil is truly in the details as we try to come up with the perfect plan to improve our jiu jitsu. But maybe General George Patton was right when he said:
"...an imperfect plan implemented immediately and violently will always succeed better than a perfect plan."
For General Patton, the perfect plan could be worked out ad nauseum, but that would be nowhere as effective as an immediate and decision call to action. This lesson can be applied to all of our training. One can research, study and conduct interviews for months, but at the end of the day, more mat time is the key to improvement in jiu jitsu.
In the great Stuart Cooper Films video below, Joe Rogan, comedian, podcaster, UFC analyst and jiu jitsu black belt shares his thoughts on two very simple ways that he feels one can become good at jiu jitsu the most efficiently we can. Check it out.
Before we take a look at the key ideas from Joe Rogan's commentary in the video above, you can also take a look at one of BJJ Fanatics' previous articles chock full of ideas on how to improve in jiu jitsu here.
So how should we take General Patton's and Joe Rogan's advice and put it into practice? Simply, whenever we spend more time talking about and planning our training, then actually training, we need to ask ourselves what is happening? The human mind is always looking for a way to tweak our experience and become more efficient, but sometimes this can prevent us from actually putting in the work that needs to be done. There is very little substitute for time on the mats, sparring and drilling. Which brings us to Joe's advice.
For Joe Rogan, he argues that many people feel that the key to getting good at jiu jitsu is to find the toughest, most talented people in the room and endlessly spar with them. He says this will actually not be as effective to our development as tons of practice with "blue belts". For Joe, the archetypal blue belt is the person who has some practical knowledge, but is simply not as good as executing that you. By putting in more and more time looking for new ways to submit these students, we will sharpen our skills. Conversely for the blue belt, it is important for them to recognize that there is a a distinct skill difference between themselves and higher color belts or black belts. They will begin to learn that the more experienced student is able to capitalize quicker and more efficiently on smaller openings. This will teach them that with the same dedication and mat time, they will be able to develop that skill. So sparring with relatively experienced lower belts for Joe Rogan is one of the best ways to improve your game.
The second way Rogan discusses which will help your game is through drilling. For him, drilling is most effective when it is with people of your belt level and experience. This ensures that the partner is giving the best and most realistic responses to your techniques, the best defenses and the best reactions.
In conclusion, two of the best ways to improve at jiu jitsu include lots of sparring with less experienced students which will allow you to open up your game and experiment and develop a more broad arsenal. If we only spar with the toughest, highest level members of our team, we may spend a disproportionate time defending and not enough time attempting submissions. In addition, drilling should be a large component of your time and for Rogan is best developed with the help of peers at similar belt levels.
Another way to get good at jiu jitsu is to immerse yourself in oceans of material available for study and one of the best sources is instructional videos by your favorite BJJ practitioner and instructor. For less than the cost of a typical seminar, you can secure an entire series of DVDs that you can use and review over and over. If you want to learn everything there is not know about Leandro Lo's "Lo Guard and Matrix Passing System" you can check out his 4 DVD series here at BJJ Fanatics for only $77!