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What is Your Jiu Jitsu Gameplan?
First and foremost, congratulations for training and sticking with one of the most challenging and rewarding martial arts on the planet. The road to black belt and beyond is a long one, but with consistent training, you can look forward to earning your black belt, barring anything unforeseen happening, in about 10 years. You will be investing thousands of hours on and off the mats during this journey and it's important to take a moment and reflect on what your goals are and what you are trying to accomplish during each stage of the journey. So matter what your belt level, there is no time like the present to take a look at where you're at, where you've been and how you can make the most of the road to black belt. Here are some tips to help you map out your gameplan to achieve your jiu jitsu dreams.
Reflect on your journey so far
Whether you are on your eighth month or eighth year of jiu jitsu training, it is important to take some time and look back on your journey so far. Think back to those first few BJJ classes and take a moment to appreciate how far you've come since then. It's easy to forget that first day and how nervous you may have been or how you held your breath every time you attempted a technique. Some key things to look at during this reflection is how much you are training versus how much you could be training, depending on your schedule. Also, looking at the impact you have on your school or academy is important from time to time. Are you helping your Coaches and Instructors whenever you can by being a positive, helpful training partner? Are there other things you can do to help out around the gym? Are you present and using your time wisely when you are on the mats? Time is a crucial resource that none of us have enough of. Whether you are a top level competitor or a casual practitioner, it is always important to use the time you have wisely to maximize the benefits of your training.
Talk to your instructor and coaches to help your gameplan
It's important to establish an open line of communication between yourself and your instructors. And this extends far beyond simply taking a look at your technique and offering you a few pointers. Your team leaders have dedicated their time and energy to learning and sharing jiu jitsu with you. Most likely they have a few or even many more years on the mats. They are a great resource for gauging your progress and giving you insight into challenges and mistakes they've faced over the years.
Plan your next year and beyond
What do you want to accomplish in the next year? Maybe there is a new belt in your sights. Maybe you want to try your first competition, or even increase the number of competitions you do this year. Perhaps there are techniques or positions you want to explore and improve upon. Maybe you've never worked leg attacks specifically, so you seek out resources like DVD instructionals to help increase your knowledge. DVDs can be a great supplement to your training within your academy. Or perhaps you want to begin researching articles and blogs on leg locks.Whatever your goals are, make sure they are clear and the things you do on the mat and outside of the academy help support them.
It's also important to seek out inspiration wherever you can. The BJJ world is filled with practitioners who have overcome great hardships in their lives to achieve their goals on the mats and in life. In the video below, World Champ Caio Terra talks about his journey. By putting all of these things together, you will create a personalized game plan that is guaranteed to succeed.