One of the biggest lies in the whole of Jiu-Jitsu is that ‘just showing up’ is enough to actually learn how to grapple to a competent level. It makes some sense in comparison to the opposite, obviously nobody is going to improve if they don’t actually show up to training. But that really isn’t enough, turning up to training every day and attempting to learn just by being there is objectively the worst way to progress in the sport. Anyone who does that will eventually find themselves getting better and they may even get to a decent level, but it will take significantly longer than it would if they actually understood how to learn in the first place.
How Do You Learn Jiu-Jitsu Quicker?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of learning different guards and submissions, and in one sense it is helpful to learn some of the most common positions and terms in the sport. From there, many new grapplers get lost in the overwhelming amount of information available to them and they might feel paralyzed when faced with so much to digest. Jiu-Jitsu isn’t a special sport though, it’s just like any other activity and understanding how to learn in general is the key to progressing in the sport. When trying to understand the process, the first step is appreciating that this is not going to be a short process. Learning anything takes time and even the keenest minds with the biggest athletic advantages are still going to take several years to be any good at the sport.
Practicing Techniques The Right Way
That’s just something that everyone has to come to terms with, it’s not really anything that needs to be practiced or worked on. The next step is to understand that repetition is key to memorization, but that repetition has to actually simulate the real environment you’re practicing for. The traditional form of drilling that people do from a completely static position without any resistance or variation simply isn’t an effective way to learn Jiu-Jitsu. Grappling is a very dynamic process and even the smallest positional changes will have a huge impact on how a technique is done.
Repeating a movement without resistance in the same situation might allow you to understand the movement to begin with, but it’s not actually an effective method of practice long-term. Once a student understands the movement in it’s basic form, the best method of practice is to apply enough resistance to make it challenging without completely shutting it down. This means that the position should change dynamically and will force the student to adapt the original movement to work when presented with those differences and resistance.
Grouping Techniques Together
Techniques never work in isolation of course; as every single submission, sweep, or guard pass works best when used in connection with other attacks. That means that practicing the same technique and trying to use brute force to get it to work in every scenario simply isn’t going to work. A better approach is to pick a specific area that you want to develop and working on several options from that position, depending on what the opponent does. This means that you should have answers for most scenarios, and it becomes much easier to troubleshoot problems as they arise.
Instead of having a single technique go wrong for any one of a hundred reasons, you now have a group of techniques with a small number of gaps in your knowledge. By combining this idea with the understanding that it takes time to actually learn Jiu-Jitsu, you come out with a unified approach to adding new elements to your game. You can focus on one specific series of attacks and spend months developing that area, becoming more proficient in the core skills and also filling in any gaps in your knowledge.
Learn The Concepts Involved In Jiu-Jitsu
Jiu-Jitsu is more than just a series of techniques that athletes learn and attempt to apply to one another, each position actually requires an in-depth understanding of the concepts that underpin it. Simply learning techniques isn’t enough to be a skilled grappler and the ability to adapt in the moment only comes when you understand why those techniques work to begin with. This means that minor differences in an opponent’s position shouldn’t throw a grappler off, because they will know the principles that make the technique work and can react in the moment.
Spending time learning the concepts that make Jiu-Jitsu techniques work actually cuts out a lot of the time involved and a lot of the minor variations you would need to learn. Instead of having to research specific answers to small problems, you simply find the answer yourself when you’re presented with them. This is often shown to be a more effective method of learning in itself, because people actually retain information they ‘discover’ far better than they retain information that they are told.
Accept Frustration And Boredom
Grappling is fun and learning anything can be made fun, but that doesn’t mean that every single second of the process is going to be enjoyable. Many of the best Jiu-Jitsu competitors on the planet have experienced a plateau or have felt that they simply couldn’t learn a specific thing. Overcoming a plateau can be very difficult, and is often a source of frustration for even the most experienced grapplers. They are a natural part of the learning process though, and feeling frustrated will only hinder your ability to overcome them. It’s better to accept the plateau for what it is and look forward when you do break through that ceiling to a new level.
In a similar vein, attempting to really perfect a small element of the sport might might not be all that enjoyable or exciting. It can feel boring to spend several training sessions working on the same transition, or frustrating to repeatedly fail at the same technique or in the same position. It’s important to always remember that this is also part of the process and it’s only by experiencing those struggles can you come out the other side with a high level of skill. Accept those struggles and understand that everyone you’ve ever looked up to on the mats has felt those same feelings a thousand times before, but they all got through them too.
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