The Simple Formula To Get Better in BJJ
Recently I have come across some BJJ practitioners that expressed their concern about their improvement in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. What I noticed in all my years teaching BJJ (and based on my experience as a student) is that this frustration occurs more often in the first six months of training, as a blue belt, and later on in cycles; that’s what I call our BJJ BioRhythm.
Learn, Drill, Roll. The Obvious Recipe
I promise I will elaborate more in my next post about why repetition when drilling technique is so important (scientifically speaking), but let’s focus on the simplicity of this formula I am proposing.
1) Attendance. The First Step is To Show Up!
It all starts with my number one rule: ATTENDANCE! I honestly believe that if I had to dare to throw some number for days that people should train, that number would be three. You need to commit going to at least three days of BJJ classes per week (not considering open mat). And three days a week would be my minimum, my “at least”!
2) Turn Your Learning “Auto-Pilot” On And Trust Your Instructor
If you train in a good school, you will notice that your Instructor or Professor will have a class plan always in mind. He or She will know what the group or what an individual need to work. Sometimes, if I notice that one single student require more work in a defined area, I put together a training where everyone will be involved practicing the same drill.
Trusting your Instructor will help your learning experience. Sometimes what I see is some guys looking for the next cool technique without mastering that fundamental technique that your Professor prepared for that day. There is never enough of one technique, believe me, up to today I still find room for improvement when I am drilling a move.
3) Drill, Drill, Drill, & Repeat Like There Is No Tomorrow!
If your Instructor asked you to practice that move ten times, then do it twenty! Remember the four stages of competence:
|Unconscious Incompetence||Conscious Incompetence||Conscious Competence||Unconscious Competence|
|Your teacher show a move, you think you understood, but you have no idea how bad you don’t know how to apply it.||
You try for the first time and think to yourself: “Wow, I had no idea how hard this would be.”
Now you know how hard that is, or how many steps you can not skip.
| You practice the move, counting the steps, taking your time at each point, making sure that you are doing it correctly.
Every single time you repeat that technique you become slightly better.
| You got it! You can perform that technique without “thinking.”
Some would say that you “memorized” that position. In reality, you trained more than your “memory.”
A lot went on, and now you have the muscle skills!
All we are looking for is to become “Unconscious Competent”!
4) Roll, Grapple, Practice
Well, you need to test your knowledge and your ability to put what you know to work. Only with practice, you will be able to “fit” one defined technique in the situation that you find yourself.
It is a constant try and error! Ultimately it will all come down to knowledge and intuition. Letting your Unconscious Competence kick in, leading you to the right path.
- We all have our picks and valleys. Be patient!
- Before moving to the “what if” kind of question, make an effort to master what was taught to you.
- Empty your mind before class, be open learning something new, or to only polish what you already know
- Repeat what was shown until time is up.
- Roll, grapple, brainstorm with others and troubleshoot your techniques after rolling.
At Last But Not Least
Never compare your evolution to others. Everyone has a different learning curve, experience in other arts or sports, preoccupations, physical attributes, etc.
As my good friend, Steve Olivier always says: “Your BJJ experience is only yours and particular to your journey”!
Now let’s LEARN, DRILL, ROLL!