The Way to Train

The Way to Train – Jiu-jitsu Idealism

An article by Tal Williams of Elite Martial Arts. 

I was put to task to write something about Brazilian jiu jitsu. I’m not going to teach you any bad ass moves that will ensure metaphoric death to your foes because I don’t know them, and it also doesn’t go with the title. I thought I’d write about some of the key aspects of training the ideal way and some of the challenges that come with it. These are some of the things that have stymied my progress and are the three key things I’d like to get closer to the ideal.

1: Consistency

You have to train more than twice a week every week to make real progress in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Sure, you will get better going 1 or 2 days a week but your progress will be similar to the evolution of man. You will be the homo habilis of jiu jitsu. The people who are there 7 days a week will be the ubermensch.

Lately I haven’t been as consistent as I used to be. We all have reasons why we aren’t training with the frequency jiu jitsu idealism demands. Sometimes the rigors of employment, traffic, and life in general leave me with a deep yearning for couches, televisions and McDonalds and jiu jitsu becomes another task or destination. I almost always find that when I am able to fight through this feeling and go to the gym I feel better about life and I’m glad that I got another training session in. Sometimes, shit happens and missing class is unavoidable. We can’t do anything about that. My goal is to try be more consistent and fight through excuses to avoid training.

2: Ego

Anyone who trains has heard the phrase “leave your ego at the door” at some point. The ego check is extremely important. Many times it’s mentioned in the context of “don’t be a douche bag,” meaning don’t hurt someone else or yourself because of your fear of losing face. Everyone has an ego flare up from time to time, if you had no ego you would just lay there like a Buddhist on fire, and get beat up. The key is to find the balance between the desire to win and the desire to improve.

When you are training don’t think about winning and losing all of the time. Sometimes it’s good to roll like it’s a competition but if you’re always trying to win it only serves a short-term goal of “winning” that next roll. It’s a much greater tool to put yourself in positions where you will likely lose. This is the most difficult thing to do and why most people don’t do it.

Try different things. If you are always using your A-Game your A-Game will start to suck. People will figure it out and you won’t have anything else for them. Don’t always pull guard or play from the top. Don’t always go for your bread and butter moves, mix it up.

The positions or submissions that you don’t call bread and butter should be drilled until you can classify them as such. This leads into the next key part of jiu jitsu idealism.

3: Drilling/Repetition

Most people don’t enjoy drilling. If you let everyone vote at your next class on whether the whole time should be spent rolling or drilling one move. It would probably be a landslide victory for rolling. That is an unfortunate fact. Drilling is what will make you better than everyone who doesn’t do it. This is one of the things I’ve been meaning to incorporate into my training for the longest time.

Learning a new technique in class and drilling it 10 times doesn’t count. What I’m talking about requires “independent study.” Find someone or a group of people who are interested in really drilling stuff and do it as often as possible

There are many different ways to drill, gross motor movements to give you a foundation can be done fast and without much regard for technique. Then focus on the details, do a bunch of reps as slow as it takes to do it right and then gradually increase the pace and/or resistance and add variations.

Drilling shouldn’t always be about that new bad ass upside down guard to triangle you saw on YouTube. It doesn’t even have to be focused on submissions. One of the coolest (I’m using the word loosely) drills I’ve seen was someone practicing all of the different control points from side control. Check out these blog posts on Aesopian.com – he agrees with me too! Drilling isn’t a four letter word, and Bridging the Gap

Article by Tal Williams

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