Whether you're new to BJJ or a veteran for 10 years; here are some steps we've devised to help you in your journey to a better Brazilian Jiujitsu game.
1. Keep going to class
Make time in your calendar and commit to it. Remember black belts are white belts that never quit!
2.Drill Drill Drill; repetition is everything!
In order to turn things into muscle memory and limit the time it takes for you to think about and action and then act on it - the only way around this is to become comfortable in the space. Practice the same situations over and over again so when you find yourself there again. BAM! You know what to do!
3. Be creative; try submissions out of position.
The element of surprise is a huge factor when it comes to warfare and having your own unorthodox approach to submissions might catch your opponent off guard. Drill these; then try to pull them off on lower belts
4. Try new submissions on lower belts
This is the easiest way to test the concept. Does this work on a resisting opponent? As you perfect the move - try it on harder opponents until it becomes a part of your arsenal.
5. Challenge Yourself!
Put yourself in positions you know you’re struggling in. If your half guard game isn't quite there then put yourself in half guard during live drills and perfect it. Embrace the uncomfortable! Do this for a week or two and then move onto another position; escaping triangles and rinse and repeat. BJJ is a living sport and you’ll constantly need to revisit certain positions and transitions.
6. Lift weights
I know this is contentious as some say technique is everything and every now and then you witness a big guy come in to the gym and get wrapped up by one of the lighter guys at the gym who knows what they’re doing. But once the strong guy learns technique you have strength and technique. There are moments of explosion in BJJ and the stronger you are the better your odds will be in these moments. We’d suggest strong movements, squats deadlifts etc not so much the aesthetic exercises.
7. Stretch, Do Yoga even.
Flexibility will keep you from injury and also allow you to manoeuvre into positions that much more easily. Especially if you take us up on step 6, it’s an important step to stretch. The amount of BJJ players that have spinal issues is quite large - so protect your back, stretch and strengthen!
8. Go to open Mats
This is a good way to test yourself and help ramp yourself into competition mode. You might come from a large academy but theres nothing like rolling with someone you’ve never rolled before. If your academy allows it - you should always consider open mats - most gyms are friendly and if you go in respectful they’ll give you the same respect back. Try to dojo storm, and I’m sure you’ll be in a world of pain.
9. Enrol in competitions
This is easily the best way to challenge yourself and test your skills against opponents that don’t know your patterns. It’s also a great way for you to keep thinking on your toes; trying to figure out their movement before they know it, staying 2 to 3 steps ahead is that much harder in competition compared to when you roll with your friends from your local academy.
10. Once you’re comfortable with these steps - buy yourself some new gear to celebrate!
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