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So, you want to get good at jiu-jitsu? As someone who has been obsessed with questions for the past couple of years, we have been searching for methods to get better at Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Below we talk about methods of how to increase your jiu-jitsu skills that pretty much all jiu-jitsu practitioners can do either on the mats or from the comfort of their home. If you are serious about getting good at training jiu-jitsu, mat time, focused drilling, and hard work will make a huge difference.
How to Get Good At Jiu-Jitsu
The best way to get good at jiu-jitsu is to seriously just show up consistently, prioritize recovery, study material, and drill as much as possible. It is an easy answer to give you but really it is that simple.
Now, just showing up in itself will not make you better at BJJ. Showing up and being consistent with your training is 75% of the battle. The rest can be found through deliberate drilling, practicing with different intensity levels, working with all kinds of partners, and studying material online.
Unlike many other martial arts, you can get away with reacting instinctively but with BJJ that it not the case. You either understand it or you don’t.
Deciding to train BJJ is going to be one of the best decisions that you will have made in your life. You connect with like-minded people all around the world (literally no matter where you go you can find a gym), get into incredible physical condition, and have a healthy outlet to let loose some steam. How you approach training though will make or break the ability for you to really progress in the art.
Here are 5 tips to adhere to to get better at jiu-jitsu:
Use all training partners (new, old, good, and bad)
Work on cardio off the mats
Improve your flexibility by doing simple yoga poses or incorporating stretching
Training With People Better (And Worse) Than You
Iron sharpens iron, this is a known principle typically that could be found in Proverbs (the Bible) and it holds a lot of weight in the world of martial arts. Who you train with matters more than you would imagine. You need to be training and taking advantage of all the rolling opportunities that you get while you are the gym you are training at.
It may be a bit unsettling training with new partners but it is necessary for your growth as a martial artist. Some traditional gyms have issues with lower belts asking to train with higher belts but I believe that is nonsense, if you want to get better at the art you have to be willing to take a bit of risk and put yourself outside of your comfort zone.
DRILLERS ARE KILLERS
Drilling can be a great way to get better at BJJ much faster. The best in the world not only drill but also study others through video content. Lucky for us, the internet is filled with a bunch of great athletes willing to share their knowledge about the sport we have all grown to love.
Here are some Instagram Pages where you can find video tutorials on drills:
Starting in Bad Positions
Drill until it becomes automatic. These are words to live by if you’re trying to get better at jiu-jitsu faster. Start in bad positions and drill escapes into your soul. Drill until you cannot get it wrong.
The top BJJ athletes in the world drill techniques over and over because it helps build muscle memory, improve technique, increase speed, and develop a strong foundation for your game.
By focusing on repetition during drills, you’ll be able to execute moves more efficiently when rolling or competing.
Instructionals and YouTube
YouTube is honestly the best place to learn a ton of things. There are so many excellent grappling content creators that can help you improve your game is ways you did not even know were possible. By studying techniques online with a grappling dummy, you will be able to improve much quicker and see the progress in your BJJ skills increase tenfold.
Some of our favorite YouTube Channels to learn from:
“Slow Down To Speed Up”
When you are first starting out in Brazilian jiu-jitsu it is tempting to go all out and think that muscling your way through things will help. The fact is, that it most definitely does not. Going against anyone with any kind of skill will show you this very quickly.
For the very early beginners, it is more common to see this. After a while, you start to get the hang of things.
You need to slow down and really ingrain techniques into your head. When you slow down an really start to build the muscle memory necessary, the movements start to become second nature. It is only when you get to this point that you can see yourself progressing extremely quickly.
Technique is the most important aspect of BJJ/grappling performance. But want to increase your chances of landing submissions, finishing takedowns, and maintaining position? This program will have you man handling your opponents making them ready to tap.
Relax Both Body and Mind
Slowing down starts with the way you breathe and calming your mind whether you are in a good or bad spot. When you approach the game of jiu-jitsu in this way it starts to truly feel like a game of chess. Both you and your opponent will find that a lot of progress can be made in the moments where you are slowing down to build the familiarity needed to really strengthen that muscle memory.
It should go without saying but the best way to improve your game is to make jiu-jitsu a consistent part of your life. You can see serious progression in your skills even with three training sessions a week.
Record Your Rolls
Some coaches do not like this and some of your teammates may not appreciate being recorded. Always be respectful of other people’s wishes when it comes to recording your rolls and make sure you are following the guidelines we have outlined about how to be a good training partner people actually want to train with (here).
I have found it extremely helpful to record my rolls, it gives me immediate feedback on what I am doing, both good and bad. Many people shy away from this because they are afraid someone may take it as a sign that you are trying to embarrass them on camera, be sure to assure people that this is clearly not the case and that you are doing it for educational purposes.
If videos do end up getting put on the intent, please be sure to vocalize that beforehand.
BJJ Tournaments are a great way to put your skills the the test and see how you hold up against competition that you have never seen before. Even if you do not plan on competing professionally there are tournaments hosted all across the United States that give hobbyist the ability to compete against equally skilled, similar-sized BJJ fighters.
Fitness, Recovery, and Strength
All in all, nothing works here unless you are fueling your body with what it needs to keep you on the mats. I know, I know, it is super easy to run with the idea that because you train BJJ a couple times a week it is an excuse to skip the gym… but the reality is, is that it is not. Working out and getting proper strength training in a huge factor in not getting injured in the first place.
Here are some helpful articles to help you find easy and effective ways to implement strength training sessions into your already busy routine:
Sweet Science Of Fighting (Tailored Programs)
Taking things like rest and recovery seriously is a huge added bonus to being able to stay healthy enough to train BJJ in the first place. If you are not properly taking care of this we empower you to do so.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 3 days a week of Jiu-Jitsu enough?
This can be best answered when you layout your goals. Is your goal to be a world champion? If so, three days a week will not be enough to get there, you will have to train more than that. Are you just looking to get good? If so, yes, three days is an ample amount of time to spend on the mats each week.
Be sure to listen to your body and not overdue yourself. As we get into our thirties or fourties, our rest and recovery time becomes much more important.
How can a white belt get better at BJJ?
The best way a white belt can get better is to spend time training with people who will push you while also getting time training against people that you know you can beat. It is important to have three sets of partners, ones you know you can beat, ones who can beat you, and those who are pretty even.
Outside of setting up your training like this, a white belt can get better at BJJ by also spending time drilling and watching techniques from experts online.
How to recover fast from Jiu-Jitsu?
Recovery is a tricky thing, especially as you age. We all want to do our best to stay on the mats as long as possible. The best things yu can do for yourself is to take time off when needed, buy items like CBD or a massage gun, spend time in a sauna, or maybe even get a cold plunge.
How many years does it take to get good at BJJ?
You will get so many answers to this question. It is honestly hard to answer because we have to define the term “good”. If we are defining the term “good” by the belt that is around your waist is think that we are looking at it the wrong way. there are plenty of black belts who are bad black belts. BJJ really starts to click after about 6 – 8 months of consistent training.
Why can’t I get better at Jiu-Jitsu?
You can get better at BJJ, you are just setting a limiting belief on yourself. Anything and everything on this earth can be learned, you just have to do what is necessary to see the progress. Take notes of where you are, record your rolls, ask questions, and watch YouTube videos and I can all but guarantee that your jiu-jitsu will get better over time. You got this!
How do I get stronger at BJJ?
Great question! The best place that we have been going to for sport-specific training is through the guys over at Sweet Science of Fighting. If you are serious about working for the purpose of being stronger on the mats, the programs they have to offer should be top of mind.
How can I practice Jiu-Jitsu alone at home?
We bought our home roll-out mats from FUJI not too long ago and love the ability to get movement practice in the comfort of our home. You always have the option of getting a grappling dummy as well and using that as a way to drill technique right at home. If you use the code ‘GRAVEYARD’ at checkout you can save 5% on your Home Rollout mat today!
The best way to practice jiu-jitsu at home, is on a dedicated training area either with a partner (spouse or someone you roll with) or a grappling dummy.
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