Contributed to BJJEE by Bill Jones, BJJ black belt under Pedro Sauer, owner and head instructor at Top Level Martial Arts in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. If you would like to learn more about Bill or Top Level Martial Arts, visit http://toplevelmartialarts.com
As a black belt and academy owner, I’m always fielding questions about how to get better at jiu-jitsu. The answers, in my mind, are very much about common sense. But here’s 11 things you can do that will make you better TODAY!
1. Go to class. I recommend 3 times per week. Make this a priority in your life. Use class time as your time to decompress and just enjoy yourself. You will never be sorry you went!
2. No Junk Training. It’s easy to show up at class and just socialize through most of it, then talk to your buddies while everyone rolls. Try not to do this. If you want to get better, use your limited training time effectively. Be sure you’re drilling every single step of the moves. Be sure you’re trying moves while rolling. Don’t settle for the junk.
3. Tap early, Tap often. This is such a difficult thing to do. As we get training, we tend to want to be on the attack all the time. Don’t do that. It will screw you up 20 years from now. Let others attack you. Learn to defend everything. Survive every submission attempt, then learn to survive every positional transition, then learn to survive every sweep. Next thing you know…you’ll be winning without even trying. It’s difficult to not care about winning, but it’s the fastest way to learn how to win.
The author Bill Jones with his instructor Pedro Sauer
4. Find partners you can crush. Find people that are newer than you to the point that you can easily try new moves. This will help you build confidence and timing with the moves.
5. Find partners who are your equal. Be sure to train with partners that are on equal footing with you. This will ensure you don’t get too lazy about your techniques. If you mess up, they’ll be able to take advantage. This keeps you honest.
6.Find partners that can crush you. This will ensure you’re working that defense. It will also let you know where the weaknesses in your game are. Then you take those weaknesses and work them on the people you can crush. Seeing how this works now?
7.Find your niche. Everyone has a move or position they like or gravitate toward more than any other. Find that move. Then discover every thing you can about it. Learn all the positions that lead to that move. Learn all the moves that connect to that move. Then work those connections over and over again. This is the best way to ensure success.
8.Eat right. This is hard advise to follow, for sure. But the better you eat, the healthier your body will be. A healthy body is a lot less likely to break down. This means you’ll be injured less and able to make the most of your training.
9.Do mobility drills at home. I’m not saying you need to become a world class exerciser here. But when you’re watching TV, work your squat position or some lunges and penetration steps or upas and shrimps etc. Teach your body to use efficient movement Imageeverywhere, not just in jiu-jitsu class. Anyone training more than a year will tell you they post their leg to roll over in bed. This is your body learning to be more efficient. A more efficient body is a healthier body.
10.Tell everyone about jiu-jitsu. Some people try to hide the fact they train. I really don’t understand this. The only way to get better at jiu-jitsu is to roll against more people. If you don’t tell people about it, they aren’t going to come. Tell your friends and co-workers to come try it out. You will get better in the long run because they’re there.
11.Ask questions! If you don’t have questions, it means you’re doing junk training and aren’t paying attention. Otherwise, you would be running into problems and be able to identify what they are. “Bill, I’m trying this…and this keeps happening, what do I do?” It’s that easy. If you can’t tell why a move isn’t working, keep trying it until you figure out what your opponent keeps doing. Or…….ASK YOUR OPPONENT WHAT HE’S DOING!!
There’s so much more to this. But follow these 11 Black Belt tips, and you’ll be increasing in skill in no time!