Ryron Gracie spoke at his seminar about improving your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at faster rate while the general populace improves at a slower constant rate. Imagine a graph with a one grappler improving at a steady rate while another grappler may improve 2 or 3 times that amount. Now just imagine if that same grappler starts compounding his knowledge into an exponential curve. Those guys are often called the prodigies and earn their black belt in as little as 4 years.
But is it really something unique with them? Or are there principles that you could apply to improve your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu just as fast. These are 5 principles, that looking back on it, could have helped me progress faster in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
1) Show up to class
It may seem a little over simplified to start off with this, but the fact is this: to get better, show up to class. Too many guys I see WANTING to get better are not actually training. Watching videos, and participating forums are great. And sure there are even times you need to take a day off, but the bottom line is: if you want to get better, show up to class. One way I do this is to set a schedule and stick to it. If I’m going to train 5 days this week, I train all 5 days. If I’m sore, I’ll go to class to drill and then roll lightly. It’s ok to have a light day, just make sure you stick to your schedule. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter give up after getting his blue belt. If you want to get better, you have to stick with it. Train because you love to train and you plan to train for life. Be in it for the long haul and don’t be chasing a specific belt. If you train with this attitude, before you know it, you’ll be a high ranking belt. It doesn’t matter what age you begin, be in it for life.
2) Understand the Principle
Understanding the principle was something I discovered and improved my Jiu Jitsu. “There are a million different methods, but only a few principles.” If you understand the concept, you won’t have the worry about the new specific technique. There will always be a new popular technique. Focusing on the concept will also allow you to adapt the move to your body and ultimately create your own Jiu Jitsu. Understanding why the move works and the principles behind the technique will expand your understanding of grappling. If you don’t understand this yet, you will later. Just keep focusing on the principles.
3) Drill, Drill, Drill & Drill Some More
If an instructor gives you a move to practice, don’t just do 3 each and sit on the side. The best grapplers are always those who put in the most work. Maximize your time at the gym and drill some more. Better yet, stay after class or show up early to drill. I like to tell myself to drill until you are bored and then drill some more. If the move hasn’t become boring, you haven’t drilled it enough. The rule of 10,000 applies here with the basic principle being, "Repetition is the mother of all learning."
4) Set Small Goals
Like anything in life, setting a small short term goal is very important. When it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I tell myself to improve ONE thing each day. If I improve just one thing, over time, the accumulated gains will be enormous. I’ll go to training and say to myself, today I want to work on [INSERT WEAKPOINT OF MY GAME]. Then I’ll spend some time drilling certain moves to fix it and force myself into that situation in sparring. At the end of the day, I have improved and accomplished a small goal. Don’t make the mistake of coming to class with a blank slate. Come to class with a purpose and I guarantee you’ll leave 10% better.
5) No-Gi / Gi Grips
When training in the Gi, I try to minimize my use of the kimono as much as possible. That way, when I take off the Gi I am not lost. Sure there are great moves with the Gi that maximize your efficiency, but if you train that way entirely, once you take off the Gi you will be at a huge disadvantage. One benefit from this principle is that you will also save your fingers. A general rule I use with myself is to always know what grip translates to No-Gi and, if possible, don’t use the Kimono. If I must use the Kimono, I don’t hang onto it longer than 10 seconds. This way I have a style that translates to both Gi and No-Gi.
Hope you enjoyed this.
If you have your own ways that help you improve faster, leave a note in the comments below telling us what works and doesn't.