Where to Start? Jiu Jitsu from a newbies perspective. Part 4
March 27, 2010
10 Things That Will Improve Your Jiu Jitsu
1. Be a fan of the sport.
In the beginning people get hooked on jiu jitsu because it’s fun to do. Unfortunately it does have the potential to be one of the worst spectator sports ever particularly if it’s too early for you to spot the more technical stuff.
I’d also recommend subscribing to Grapplers Quest’s you tube channel where the do a great job of uploading the best fights from their events.
Watching fights has a weird osmotic effect with me, if I am doing it a lot my game gets better. You get to see what the best guys are doing on a regular basis more so than by just checking out an instructional video, which is often full of filler.
2. Check out the instructionals
Initially I would look for products that emphasize basic fundamental techniques. Splashing out on a DVD entitled “Inverted Tornado Guard of the Damned” might not be a good investment for the time being.
3. Buy the books.
There are some great books on jiu jitsu on the Market right now. There is something about reading about a technique or a principle that really sticks with me in a way that simply watching doesn’t.
4. Think about Jiu Jitsu
I can’t even recall how many times I’ve had a jiu jitsu break through while crimping of a length on the crapper.
If you can’t train, visualizing yourself practicing and applying technique is an undervalued tool for development. Everyone who is successful does this to a certain degree, but by allocating 15mins a day to visualisation your jiu jitsu will be so much better.
5. Avoid becoming a technique junkie
Despite having recommended a vast array of educational material I must warn against trying to learn everything. In part one we mentioned how vast jiu jitsu is, in the beginning find the stuff that works for you and work on it until you own the technique.
Knowing tonnes of stuff without being able to apply it as as much use as shank made from faecal matter (actually in a previous blog post we discussed the practicality of such a weapon).
Concentrate on a certain number of interrelated techniques for a certain amount of time. I usually go with one tech for 3 weeks but that’s just me.
6. Put the time in.
If you have read Malcolm Gladwells excellent book Outliers you will know that generally talent is overrated.
The guys who put the most time in are the guys who tend to be the best. The more time you train the better you become. Provided that time and training has structure. It’s easy to come in and throw down with one of your friends but how much better have you gotten.
Of course sparring is the proving ground but there should also be time to work on new positions and try to improve weak areas. If you aren’t getting better your getting worse.
7. Set goals
Start out with an outcome goal like “I will get a Blue belt within 6 months” then implement an action plan to achieve this goal.
Include some process Goals like
- I will train Jiu Jitsu 5 days a week.
- I will drill technique mechanics 3 times a week
- I will drill technique in isolation 3 times a week
- I will watch Saulo Ribierios DVD’s till my eyes bleed
Review your goals regularly and change them up. Having an action plan like this will help ensure you don’t stagnate and continue to improve.
8. Look After Your Body
Everyone has had those days when there body feels like crap and there movement and jiu jitsu suffers as a result.
Foam rolling stretching and pre training dynamic mobility warm ups can help ensure that the quality of your movement is never an issue.
After Purple belt the number one reason why guys leave the sport is injury. The modalities above can reduce the occurence of injury and prolong your career in jiu jitsu. Look after your body and your Jiu Jitsu will improve, you will feel better as well.
9. Ask Questions.
Jiu Jitsu is a combat sport not a Martial Art. The traditional hierarchy is not an issue here. Your coach should encourage you to ask questions and think for yourself. The knowledge you gain for yourself is always retained better than the knowledge you have pushed on you.
As a coach it is way more fun to work with guys who are engaged and inquisitive.
10. Check out other gyms
At the Griphouse we have systems in place to help our athletes develop. Your gym may have a completely different way of doing things. Chances are both places are producing decent guys.
Visiting other gyms gives you the opportunity to see different systems, techniques and train with guys who have different games. All of this is very positive and you might pick up something that will help you improve.