As you may know, one of the things that truly sets SBG apart when it comes to instruction in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and functional Martial Arts in general, is our world class coaching staff. People come from all over the world to attend classes with coaches like SBG black belt Cane Prevost. If you are interested in training ideas that come from someone who truly understands the art, then Cane’s blog, ‘The Gentle Art’ is a must read:
In his most recent essay he lists some tips for being a good ‘hobbyist’ grappler. The truth is, this is a great list for world champions as well:
- Be consistent.Training 2 times a week every week is going to pay off more than training very intensely for short periods followed by stretches of time off. Of course I have no scientific data to back this up but I’ve seen it play out over and over again at the gym. Enough to confidently make this claim.
- Focus on fundamentals. At it’s core fundamentals can be broken down into Posture, Pressure, and Possibilities.Building a library of techniques is not a great or efficient way to get good. You only have so much room on your bookshelf. At a certain point the shelf will be filled and you’ll have to throw some out to make room for new ones. In my personal experience I’ve rarely seen anyone who is good at more than about 5 submissions at one time. They may know way more than that but their A game is mostly limited to the top 5. Adding 50 more moves won’t help your game much.
- Focus on Posture most of all.I tell students that the posture should do about 80% of the work for you. You should always be asking yourself “Am I in posture?” If the answer is no then you know what you have to do. If posture does 80% of the work then you should be spending most of your time either working to get posture, improving the posture you have, or fighting to keep it. If you are doing this then BJJ will be way easier.Focusing on posture means getting the best possible posture you can get WHILE putting the other person in the worst possible posture you can. If you create this posture imbalance then you don’t have to be good at BJJ in order to beat the other guy. Remember, the posture does 80% of the work.
- Don’t roll above 70%.(Link to post on 70%) I you go all out all the time then you will be building a game that requires that you go all out all the time. That’s hard to do if you aren’t young and in super shape. Instead try building a posture based game that REQUIRES that you move slower and concentrate on simply building good posture along the way. A good goal is to build efficient postures that use leverage and structure instead of muscle strength. To use efficient motion that requires less intensity of movement. And to use fewer movements in your overall game. My goal is to win by moving less and less until eventually you won’t even notice that I’m moving at all.
- Focus on breathing.If you can’t devote lots of extra time to conditioning exercises you need to be very mindful of your breathing. Stop and check during a roll. Are you breathing heavier than the other guy? If the answer is yes then you need to slow down and focus on posture. Catch your breath before you exert too much energy. Breathing heavy is a sure sign that you are not attending to posture effectively.
- Simplify the game.Can I use the same posture in mount bottom that I use in cross sides bottom? How many ways can I use this triangle submission? Finding multiple uses for things that you already do well is a great way to improve your game without having to put a tremendous amount of extra time in. As you learn new things try to relate them to things you already know and look for commonalities wherever you can.
- Don’t keep score. The worst thing you can do for your game is to keep track of who you tapped and who tapped you. It’s counter productive and probably the worst way to measure progress. If you focus on the tap you miss most of the joy of BJJ. You won’t notice the beautiful guard pass, the gorgeous butterfly sweep, the perfectly timed escape… All the things that happen in a roll that show mastery of the game. A gym where nobody keeps score is a healthy gym. If you are in a gym where there are a lot of side conversations about who tapped who you’ll find the atmosphere unhealthy. A tap should only be treated as an event that happens in grappling that tells you when to stop. Nothing more. There are many better ways to measure progress.
- Enjoy the journey. In only every case those who enjoy it more are better at it. Train in a way that is healthy, smart, and most of all fun. Will power will get you a year of training at best. If you aren’t having a blast on the mat you won’t stick around or train in a way that will allow you to make much progress. This is perhaps the most important rule. It’s certainly not about “dedication” or “work ethic” as some will describe. Look around you. What looks like dedication is actually someone following their bliss. They are doing it because it’s the most enjoyable and rewarding thing they can think of to do. This is only always the case.