Top 10 ways to train Jiu Jitsu for years and NEVER improve.

When someone first starts Jiu Jitsu it can be confusing to even separate the names of various submission- kimura, omaplata, americana, let alone know how to get the most out of your training. Here are my top ten ways I have seen people hinder their own trainingunintentionally or not. Luckily, we have never seen anyone do ALL of these at once!

10.Do not tap out.

This is perhaps the easiest and quickest lesson to learn to NOT do though at times it can still get the better of us. Tapping out keeps you on the mats and it the quickest way to reduce your injuries. Each time you tap you acknowledge that somewhere in the progression of the roll your partner made a better decision than you. What was it? Answer that and you won’t have to tap out in the same way again. At its very worst this mentality of not tapping out leads to both parties being injured. When you would rather do anything to avoid tapping out, including hurting your training partner, it is time to re-examine your motives and ego. Tap and you start again in a few seconds, don’t tap and start again in a few months.

9.Do not be a fan of the sport.

Tournaments, seminars, books, private lessons, videos, magazines, open mats, training camps, conditioning classes, and visiting other schools are all things in addition to regular classes that are available to you IF you are a fan of the sport. For reasons to compete see our last article on this blog, for the other activities and mediawe mentioned they all serve in different ways to broaden and deepen your experience by exposure. There are things you will not see in class if you only look. The world of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is vast, just take a peek and see!

8. Ignore any technique you do not at first like or you find difficult.

This is the best way to miss something fundamental when you first start. Don’t like that escape from bottom side control? Ignore it long enough and it may become a huge hole in your game that always gets exploited. It may also be that you are missing a basic movement or principal that applies to many other moves.

7.Always miss warmups.

Do the warmups right and they will not only make you warm and minimizing possible injuries but it will help you commit these movements to muscle memory to utilize with little effort whenever you need. Warm ups add to your overall conditioning and conditioning helps keeps you rolling for longer lengths of time.

6. Never ask questions or advice.

In class an instructor’s eyes cannot be everywhere at once. They might not at first see what it is you or your partner are missing. This is where asking questions comes in- of your partners, the upper belts around you, and your instructors. Often times a student’s question answers questions that others have but either don’t voice or don’t know how to express. Maybe you are injured and aren’t sure if the next activity is one you should participate in. Only you know what is going on in your body even if you do not know what to do about it. Communicating is one of the best way to help you help yourself.

5. Never roll with a variety of partners. Always stick to the same ones.

There are techniques that you may think work perfectly well until applied to a partner you are not use to. Is there a better way to roll with this type of person or against this person’s game? Find out and find a whole new world of possibilities.

4. Always be a poor practice partner.

Whether you are a rag doll that falls over easily or are too heavy handed even when drilling, not only will this mean people will not want to practice with you but you will never learn the possible and realistic responses in the situations you are drilling.

3. Try to ‘win’ every roll you have.

There is plenty of competition out there if you want it. Within a school however, the goal should be to help each other develop. We are not talking about training where partners are pushing each other in preparation for competition, we am talking about the need to win every roll regardless of circumstance. Saving the attitude of winning for tournaments also saves yourself and your training partner from unnecessary roughness. Instead, try using the attitude of trying your hardest consistently in training.

2. Always use strength.

There is a reason this is the ‘Gentle Art’. True, any technique can be applied with force but is it effective without it is truly the question the Gracies have sought to answer with Jiu Jitsu. Strength fades, technique does not. If you always use strength to accomplish things you won’t be able to see the true power of our art.

1.And whatever you do, do NOT practice regularly.

Studies have proven that simple regular repetition of any activity can and will eventually surpass what we like to call ‘talent’ or ‘natural ability’.  It isn’t anything more or less than this that makes a master. “A black belt is a white belt who never quit.”