When Training Time is Limited

Stephan Teaching a Group

In a really good training month I might take some BJJ classes, do some submission grappling sparring, take some private classes with a wrestling coach, run and lift weights for conditioning, do some boxing drills, do some yoga, and be a sparring partner for some NHB competitors at the club. Other grapplers might include Judo, Sambo, Greco-Roman wrestling, swimming, plyometrics etc. as part of their program.

Like I said – this is a good month. At other times keeping this training intensity becomes impossible.

The difficulty arises when your training time is severely curtailed and you no longer have time to train 4, 5 or 6 times a week. Maybe you are starting a new job, or have new family obligations, or have moved far away from your club. How can the grappling enthusiast maintain his skills? The best way to maintain the conditioning required for your martial art is by doing your martial art. The more limited your time is, the more important this principle is.

Suppose your goal is to get your BJJ black belt some day, but you get really busy at work and can only train once or twice a week. These training sessions should be dedicated to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu: concentrate your efforts on what is most important, rather than diffusing them by trying to do a little bit of everything (i.e. BJJ and plyometrics and boxing and swimming). The less time you have, the more important it is to be focused!

It’s just a fact of life that there are times when the best you can do is to maintain your skills and maybe make small improvements. This is called ‘maintenance’ mode.

To make big improvements in your skill you will eventually need to put in more time, but the goal of maintenance mode is to ensure that you’re not too far behind when you finally get back to some serious training. You have worked for years to develop your timing, kinesthetic awareness, and sports-specific fitness in your sport.

The best way to maintain these sports-specific skills and attributes is by doing the sport itself. Every little bit of mat time helps.

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