As martial artists on the path of continuous self-improvement, we are always trying to find ways to achieve our goals. We may get tapped out in the process, but it’s all part of the journey. This is why it takes years to get to the next level in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) – not everyone is cut out to deal with ego and trying to master hundreds of techniques.
Unfortunately, not all of us have the luxury of being able to train BJJ as often as we’d like to. Many things get in the way: work, travel, and family – leaving very little time for anything else. Thus, making the most of every BJJ class we can attend becomes paramount. Curious to know how you can still improve at a steady rate despite your hectic schedule?
Today, we share 6 Ways To Make The Most Out Of Every BJJ Class:
1) Train both gi and no-gi!
Clark Gracie demonstrates his skills at Westside MMA with Dustin Brown.
The legendary Marcelo Garcia, known for being extremely talented in both gi and no-gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, says: “I train everyday in the gi, and once a week with no-gi. An athlete who wants to be good in no-gi, must also train in the gi.” To become a complete grappler, one must train both disciplines instead of favoring one over the other.
Many BJJ practitioners refuse to train no-gi for one reason or another, and many no-gi aficionados feel the same way about training with the gi. Training both has more benefits than you’d think! To find out more, check out our article on why you should train both gi and no-gi.
2) Train both sides!
BJJ is also known as the “gentle art”.
Often times, when our instructors tell us to practice our specific techniques, we tend to get lazy and do repetitions on our preferred side. Unfortunately, having a preferred side prevents you from being well-rounded. What happens when your opponent catches you on your weaker side?
Instead of practicing with our preferred side, we should practice our weaker sides as well. This will help us improve at a faster rate and give us more options when we spar. Although it may seem difficult at first, we guarrantee that all your hard work will pay off in the end, especially when you surprise your opponent by doing a De La Riva sweep on your wrong side!
3) Don’t waste a single minute!
You should always have a variety of sparring partners.
Although we agree that it’s important to socialize and make friends with your teammates, you should allocate any extra time you have before and after class to BJJ. Imagine, those 5 minutes before class and 10 minutes after class you spend chit chatting with your teammates could have been used for drilling! And if you want to get technical, that’s at least a few hundred repetitions of two or three techniques per side!
Whether it’s fixing techniques you already know or revising the techniques you’ve just learned in class, drilling before and after class could make a huge difference in your game. When you’re strapped for time, making every second count should definitely be your top priority!
4) Start a spar with your weakest position!
Coach Dustin Brown always rolls with his students.
Just like any martial art, the moment you become complacent is the moment you stop progressing. When you stop feeling challenged during specific training or sparring, it probably means you aren’t learning. Sure, it feels great to win all the time, but in the long run, doing so will be detrimental to your learning.
Instead of starting with your favorite guard pass or pulling your favorite guard, why not try a position where you’re at a disadvantage. It might be a huge blow to your ego, and you might get tapped out, but it’s OK. The more you practice this position, the better you’ll get and eventually you can add it to your arsenal of techniques. You may not realize it, but it’s one of the easiest ways to improve in a short amount of time.
It is important to be fully engaged while your instructor is explaining techniques.
When you’re in class, it’s easy to zone out, especially if you have a lot of things on your mind. Before you know it, it’s time to drill specifics and you’ve completely forgotten what your instructor just taught you. Make the the most of your time in training and focus on what your instructor is teaching you. Take note of the little details he shares because we can guarantee you that they have the ability to change your game completely.
If you aren’t great at memorizing techniques, grab a notebook and write down what you’ve learned after class. If you’re not the type to take notes, grab a partner and drill the techniques together before the next class or after. Giving your instructor your undivided attention undoubtedly ensures that you’re making the most of your class!
6) Make your spars count!
Sparring is a great way to assess your technical knowledge.
The people you pick to spar with could make all the difference in your training. Choosing easy spars definitely won’t challenge you and as a result, make you complacent. This will definitely waste whatever precious time you have for training, and won’t help you progress in your BJJ journey.
Pick a partner who will most likely defeat you (a higher belt or an instructor, if he is willing to spar), who is at par with you (someone of the same belt rank and weight), and someone who isn’t as challenging (a lower belt or someone who weighs less than you). Choosing these three partners allows you to work on your defense, offense, and new techniques respectively.
By implementing these training tips in your BJJ journey, you’d still be able to reach your goals despite your limitations. Stay as consistent as you can possibly be and always remember to challenge yourself. Doing so will help you reap the rewards of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu without having to completely alter your lifestyle.
7 Reasons Why Jiu-Jitsu Really Helps Kids Deal With Bullying
March 13, 2016
7 Reasons Why Everyone Should Train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu