I’ll first start by saying that every person has their own BJJ journey. For some of us; it may have taken years to get coloured belts and for others; months. For years I felt like most of my BJJ training was really insignificant; that I could have utilized my time on the mats, online, reading or watching DVD’s on BJJ in a much more efficient way. BUT I wasn’t sure how to. This might sound like I am contradicting what I say to my students daily when I emphasize that if you want to improve, you need to show up and spend time on the mats. Let me reinforce that this is still sound advice.
See we all have a finite amount of time in our day and on this planet. We have limited time to spend on tasks, hobbies, work etc. Given the ever-increasing number of things and tasks we are supposed to devote our most precious time to; we are having to manage and prioritize.
The question is how can you learn faster? The answer is OWNERSHIP!
BJJ is high on our list and when we take ownership of our training we are able to maximize our time on the mats as well as the time we spend watching YouTube tutorials. I’ll explain further by listing a number of ways you can take ownership of your BJJ training.
- Be Present
When you first walk on the mats and start warming up; this is your transition time. This moment is where you leave any thoughts of paying bills behind and start priming your mind and body for the session. You’ve made the decision to get off the couch and come in, so be here.
- Asking Questions
When you’re listening to the instructor, actually listen and try to visualise or imagine how the techniques would look, feel and fit into your current game. If there are any gaps, ask why? Remember the old rule on questions and the person beside you is probably thinking the same thing.
- Drilling/ Practice time
This is more around practicality; using the technique you’ve just learnt as part of your game. Feel the flow of each step in the sequence and practice it as many times as possible with your training partner. If you’re nailing the move – add your own flair to it! If you’re feeling stuck; there’s a reason, so ask your training partner or your Coach why and how you can implement it within your game.
This is where you set mini goals for yourself. A great example is using the technique you just learnt as part of your game. Another example would be not using the same submission twice. My favourite mini goal when I’m rolling is to make my game as fun as possible while I impersonate one of favourite BJJ practitioners. The best part about setting these kinds of goals for yourself is that they are expressly for YOU.
- After training
Buy a notebook or use notes on your phone – jot down a few of the things that you like and remember from the class. This could be a detail from the technique or something you noticed whilst rolling. It may be one sentence or a whole page – the point is that by recording what you’ve experienced, it reinforces what you’ve learnt and makes you take ownership of your BJJ development. Also, write the date down so in the future you can see how far you’ve come.
Ok, ok so we all want to watch some YouTube videos and it can be a fantastic tool when it’s done right. My recommendation is to watch tutorials of the same technique you’ve just learnt, or competition matches of competitors around your weight division.
The reason following these steps and taking ownership of your training increases your BJJ progression is because it internalises the process, it helps you understand BJJ and makes the journey YOURS! In years to come you will proudly make statements like – “back when I was a white belt my favourite submission was…” or “I won my first comp as a blue belt by…”
This is your history, your story in the making – own it!