The 3 things you need to stop doing NOW for your jiu jitsu to improve
and the 3 things you should focus on instead
If you enjoy reading, then let's waste no time and get started with the first thing you should stop doing.
Before we start... Are you more of a listener?
The whole article is recorded professionally:
Warming up the body is crucial. But I'm telling you right now, once you've done about 50 hip escapes you're not going to get much more out of him escaping up and down the mat or doing front rolls.
#1 Remove pointless warmups
#2 Stop watching technique videos
I don’t care who it's from or how good they are… watching them tell you how to do the techniques is not going to help you very much.
#3 Stop drilling
I’m especially thinking about drilling chained techniques when I say this.
Now this is real talk… If you're training more than five times a week and it's taking or has taken you longer than five years to get to a good black belt level… Then there's something fundamentally wrong with the training that you are getting. I know that’s a strong statement to hit you with, but let me explain... in detail.
I want to give you three things that you could remove from your training, immediately. If you replace that with something healthier for your progression you would excel much faster in jiu jitsu or you would enjoy jiu jitsu much more. Perhaps most importantly, you'd be training much smarter - for your body especially.
If you took those things out and replaced them with:
#1 Warmups that actually warm up the body correctly and that require some sort of problem solving.
#2 Instead of watching technique videos watch the guys rolling.
#3 Specific training!
Specific training is probably one of the most important things for your progression. Let's look at WHY:
Look at their live grappling matches or their sparring matches at training. Or, just observe the best guys you have at training while they’re rolling.
You see, it's really easy to get stuck in one of your games and never progress anymore.
It's really easy to get attached to certain things and outcomes. Let's say you get a really good kimura and then suddenly you just want to kimura everybody. That's understandable. But with specific training you can make sure that you practice every single part of jiu jitsu.
Especially the parts that you need to work on. For example, maybe you are really good at half guard but your open guard sucks. Then you can do specific training in an exercise where you are playing guard and your partner has to pass or submit you and you have to sweep or submit them. BUT, you have to use open guard or anything that you need to work on. It could be wrestling, it could be anything.
My well-known problem with mindless drilling
You see, the reason why you're drilling a technique is to try to embed it into your muscle memory. But that is the by far the slowest and most useless way of remembering technique. Now I say the most useless, I'm not saying it is completely useless because it obviously works for some. But it's really not that good for Jiu-Jitsu. I'll tell you why:
We remember all we absorb information by association - more than any other way.
The most important part is how you associate that information.
If I teach you something new and I use terminology that you're not at all familiar with… It's going to be really difficult for you to absorb that information. You're gonna have nothing to stick that new information to you.
I remember talking to an expert on memory...
I remember speaking to an expert on memory. I forget what he said. Lol, jk.
He described the memory as a scaffolding system and that the more information you have on anything the bigger your scaffold and the easier it is to apply new information.
So if you didn't have any information on what I'm teaching you or anything to associate with, that information is going to go through one ear and out the other. As a coach and as a student you always want to make sure that you can associate with that information or you can get your students to associate with the information.
If you can do that, you're halfway there as a coach. That's so important with the specific training, since we really encode (remember) information far more efficiently when we are rolling live because of how we associate with that information.
Specific training is great because it eliminates the fear of making a mistake or losing
Because a lot of the time, especially with free rolling you could make a mistake and sit under the mount for 6 minutes. And you’ve really taken away good time and good resources for you to learn.
So what I would do is I would set up specific training on all the areas that you one either want to work or need to work. Be very disciplined and be very conscious of where you're at and what you need to work on.
If you do that every single session, if you warm up with something that involves some type of problem solving… If you watch competition videos of people rolling, or watch more advanced people in your class rolling… And if you do specific training instead of drilling you will get so much better jiu jitsu.
Suddenly that information that we're learning through trial and error happens through your own experience. And you start firing certain things in your brain.
Let's say for example you're passing guard and your opponents is using his guard well. You’re just trying things and nothing's working for you… then suddenly you throw his legs out of the way and it works. You passed! Maybe you don't even pass, maybe you just get close to passing it if it’s someone much better. Regardless, it feels good.
You get that certain feeling in your brain. A dopamine hit, because you're finally successful and you remember that. It stays with you. I'm sure that you can associate with this beyond the mats as well. Some people say they have lives beyond jiu jitsu where things happen, I’m skeptical. But let’s continue:
Imagine how often a breakthrough happens during specific training. It could be the opposite. It could be something that you tried to do and it worked really badly for you. And you remember why, you encode so much more information because it happened through trial and error.
You tried A, then you tried B, and you tried C, then you tried D and then suddenly E works and then you know why not to try ABC and D. If I just told you to do A, it wouldn't resonate with you so well, but if you discovered that through live training that's going to stick and it's going to stick for a long time.
Learning what NOT to do is just as important
You've made a heroic effort, you've read this far!
Before I leave you, as a little reward, I want to share my 3 most important components of jiu jitsu with you
#1 - Problem solving ability
I have an article written on those traits & how to develop them. Leave your email below and I'll send them your way.
- xOxO, Kit
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