This article is about how you can improve your Jiu Jitsu game in 5 simple steps. The article is especially suitable for people who cannot attend classes every day of the week. It has been created in cooperation with the Choke&Chill athlete Konstantin from Leg Lock The World.
#1 SHOW UP
This might seem fairly obvious but this is actually the most important basis for improving your Jiu Jitsu. Whenever you possibly can, show up. Go to class and train. It does not matter whether that’s 5 times or two times a week. What matters is that you’re there. Kurt Osiander’s most famous quote expresses that very well:
#2 BE FOCUSSED
People often say that Jiu Jitsu really makes you live in the moment. And that’s true. But still, I sometimes see people not paying attention when the coach shows a technique. Even worse, I keep seeing people who our coach just showed a vital detail to, simply not applying the told detail. And that shows me that the person is not really there, is not focussed and/or thinks about something else. When you’re in class, make the most out of your time! Be focussed, pay attention and apply what you’re told. I think, Josh Hinger put it best by stating:
Show up and do your best.
#3 DON’T ALWAYS PLAY YOUR A-GAME
Sure, it’s nice to win matches using your a-game, but rolling in class is not about winning. If you really want to improve, you need to be good at every area of the game. By only using your a-game, it might get even better, but the rest of your game doesn’t. Furthermore, at some point the people in your gym will have figured your game out and when your a-game doesn’t work, you’re done because you didn’t train the rest of the areas of Jiu Jitsu. If you want to be good at every area of Jiu Jitsu, simply try to use the techniques you learn in class. Of course, it takes time and you will lose a lot of positions but over time, you will improve drastrically.
#4 DON’T HAVE AN EGO
This step goes hand-in-hand with step #3. Having an ego will take you nowhere in Jiu Jitsu. Period. When you’re rolling and you’re trying a new move and you don’t get it and subsequently a white belt submits you, just tap. When rolling (or in general, really) you don’t have to prove anything. No one, especially not your coach, will be impressed when you keep using the game everyone knows you’re good at to beat your training partners. Garry Tonon once famously said the following:
In an average 5 round training session I will get submitted 15 times. Take that information and ask yourself if you really have no ego.
#5 BABY STEPS / REALISTIC GOAL SETTING
When I moved for university and started training under a fairly achieved Gracie Barra black belt, I got absolutely murdered. I had been a fairly succesful blue belt for quite some time and even though he is a feather weight just as I am, he made me feel like a white belt again. And that made me set small goals. My first goal was to sweep my coach in a way that would give me points in competition (with control afterwards). After roughly two months, I managed to do that! During these months I worked extensively on a variety of sweeps and through that learnt many new techniques. I am currently working on passing my coach’s guard… If you keep setting yourself small and realistic goals and keep in mind the previous steps, you will very quickly see results.
I hope you find these steps helpful and you’re able to use them to improve your Jiu Jitsu. It’s important to keep in mind that these steps all go together and only bring the best results when applied together. Oss!