When you initially begin training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), you might really feel overloaded with all that it seems you are expected to understand. But it is not simply method that you need to learn to progress. There is a high learning curb to class structure, and also social characteristics of each individual school. Not every little thing is discussed and spelled out in class, and also in some cases you cross a line you really did not also understand existed. Such “trial-by-fire” lessons can be agonizing, however with any luck, these Top 10 Training Tips for Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ) will certainly inform you and also conserve you the shed of discovering by hand.
1. Train With Partners a Minimum of 2-3 Times Per Week
You should train however much you can fit into your schedule. If you can only train once a week, and your schedule allows zero wiggle room–then do that. However, it will be difficult to make steady progress unless you are getting at least two or three weekly training sessions in.
Still, there are other ways to get in more training: stay after class to get in extra rolls, work on solo drills at home, attend open mats, or coordinate with teammates to roll even when the gym isn’t open.
2. Keep Finger Nails Cut Short
This may be the most simple and yet under-emphasized of the Top 10 Training Tips for Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ). If you have long nails, you run the risk of cutting your training partners while drilling or sparring. You may think that this is a gross exaggeration, but you might be surprised at how much damage you can do with just a fingernail or toenail. There are many people who have the scars to prove it.
In addition to that, there is a lot of bacteria under the fingernails, so these cuts can get infected. Trim your nails before class to avoid slicing open your friends. It takes very little time and is a good habit to get into.
3. Gi or No Gi, Wear Clean Uniforms
This cannot be stressed enough: always wear a clean Gi or No Gi uniform. Even if you don’t sweat during class, you should still wash your gym clothes. The human body is covered in bacteria, and so too is the mat.
Your uniform will pick up that bacteria as you roll around on it, even if you aren’t sweaty. If you don’t wash your uniform, your uniform will probably smell horrible – and even if you don’t, you greatly increase the risk of infecting yourself and your teammates with mat funk.
…plus, you don’t want to be “that guy” (or girl) who everyone avoids because you stink.
4. Take Technique Drilling as Seriously as Sparring
If you feel that drilling is just not as fun as sparring, you’re not alone. Especially when you first start training, you might find the endless drilling to be tedious, boring, and repetitive. By contrast, sparring is often fast and exciting, and you may find yourself wishing you could spend more time sparring and less time drilling.
Even though you may feel this way, understand that drilling is essential to your long-term success as a Jiu Jitsu practitioner. Don’t just drill the move-of-the-day and forget about it; see if you can hit it during sparring. You may ultimately decide that this move isn’t for you, but make sure you can execute it during sparring before making that decision.
5. Ask Questions but Don’t Overthink It
It’s okay to ask questions, and critical thinking will probably be encouraged at most BJJ gyms. Still, don’t let an overabundance of questions get in the way of drilling and learning the technique. At some point, you need to stop talking about it and just drill it.
Focus on getting in and may repetitions as you can, while still executing the technique correctly. Don’t let yourself get sucked down a rabbit hole of what-if scenarios until you have mastered the basics. That being said, make sure you ask questions about specific problems as they come up while you rep the technique.
6. Accept That You Will Not Get Things Right Away
When learning a new technique, it will probably be taught to you in an isolated environment without the context of how you got there (or what you should do with it). It is important for you to know that in these situations, you can’t understand everything, and there simply isn’t enough time to have it all explained to you during class.
As you progress, you will undoubtedly pick up the myriad of situational and contextual details that accompany each technique. Until then, focus on learning as many new techniques as you can and refine the techniques you know.
7. Spar/Roll After Class
Especially when you’re new and still figuring things out, you need to put in time on the mats. Any time you can, drill your technique and get in rolls. If you have the energy and you’re healthy enough to do so, stick around after class and get in some extra rolls.
Even if it’s a couple extra five minute rolls, that extra time on the mat can start to add up for your game. If you can stick around for an extra hour, that could be the equivalent as getting in an extra class.
8. Tap Early. Check Your Ego
Ideally, this is something that each gym is clearly explaining to each newcomer, but make sure you don’t wait too long before you tap to a submission. Don’t wait until you hear a pop. Don’t wait until you feel pain. Tap when a submission is applied.
As you progress in Jiu Jitsu, you will learn ways to stay safe and escape submissions. However, when you are first starting out, it is not necessary to fight every submission attempt to the bitter end. The goal is to learn. Leave your ego at the door, tap early, and train often.
9. Experiment With New Techniques on Lower Belt Students
As a new BJJ practitioner, you may not get an opportunity to roll with a less-experienced grappler for a long time. But at some point, you will realize that your one stripe actually does mean something when compared to someone fresh off the street.
When the time comes, don’t simply demolish those that are less skilled than you. Sure, you will enjoy crushing newbies from time-to-time, but don’t let that be the only way you roll with newer folks. Use this opportunity as a way to build up weaker parts of your game or try out new technique.
10. Refine Cultivated Methods By Challenging Yourself With Higher Ranking Students and Instructors
Remember how on #10, I suggested you try not to simply crush lower belts? Well with upper belts, do the opposite. This is the time to try to crush your opponent. Bust out your A+ game and go to town.
The more experienced the grappler, the better they should be at keeping you both safe, mitigating your attacks, and executing their own attacks. This is the perfect opportunity to sharpen your game by learning what works and what doesn’t.
Looking for more Training Tips for Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ)? Give us a call at 937-254-7035 to schedule a time for you to come in and start trying classes out! This article also appears on TAMA Martial Arts! Don’t forget to add TAMA Martial Arts and Dayton Brazilian Jiujitsu on Facebook. Check out Dayton Brazilian Jiujitsu’s OFFICIAL website and follow us on Instagram!