By starting to train jiu jitsu, you’ve already taken a huge step towards self progression and enrolled on a journey that is full of rewards and benefits. First and foremost, your training MUST be fun; whenever you step on the mat, remember why you took up BJJ in the first place. Here are a few pointers that will help you develop as a grappler and enjoy your training as much as possible.
Train With Everyone
Now we’re not saying 50kg practitioners should be regularly rolling with 130kg equivalents, but diversifying your training is very important to help keep you progressing. By only rolling with your friends, or a select group of people at your academy, you are limiting yourself to the number of people you can test your techniques against and also the styles of opponent you face. The more diverse your pool of training partners is, the more styles, skill sets and levels of ability you will face and learn to overcome.
Tap Quick, Tap Often
The simple fact is: if you’re injured, you’re not training. If someone catches you in a submission, you must learn to tap – and tap quickly. What’s the point of bullying your way out of a locked-in submission, only to come away with an injury and a lesser understanding of how to escape a position properly? Don’t be scared to tap at your academy. If tapping becomes a difficult idea to understand, you’re going to struggle in the long term, as we all have to tap in order to develop. In order to develop, we must learn to put ourselves in new situations and test ourselves in unknown territory. Learn to enjoy taking risks in training and try new things. If this means you end up tapping more regularly – so what? You will develop much quick by leaving your comfort zone.
Compete When You Can
Not everyone aspires to be the next black belt world champion, but we can all agree that competition is an extremely constructive experience for jiu jitsu practitioners. Win or lose, you will always learn something valuable on the competition mat, as it gives you a great opportunity to test your skills and find holes in your game. Competition also serves as perfect motivation to keep your training regular, as you won’t want to miss that late night Friday session, or feel like sitting out the last round of sparring when you’re too tired to move.
This is, without, one of the most valuable lessons you will learn on the mat, and it will also transfer into your everyday life. Whenever you feel like you’re having lots of success in sparring, remember there is always someone better than you ready to bring you down a notch or two. Frank Shamrock was quoted as saying: “you need people in training that you can try new stuff with, people of your level you can have a war with and people who will keep you completely humble.”
As with anything, there will be times when you feel like you’re not progressing, or you are struggling to make it to training. Whatever happens, keep going! Even if you can only make it to the academy once a week, make sure you keep jiu jitsu in your life, as the rewards and benefits you will gain will become clear the more mat time you accrue.