Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, and the growth of mixed martial arts has a lot to do with it. A derivative of Judo, the art was perfected by Helio Gracie and his brother Carlson. It was popularized by Helio’s son Royce Gracie, who showed the world BJJ was in a class of its own when tested against other martial arts.
Unlike some other martial arts that allow you to get away with reacting instinctively, you either understand BJJ or you don’t. For example, it’s virtually impossible to defend against an armbar if you don’t recognize what your opponent is doing as they set up the attack. Once it’s locked, your either tap or lose your arm.
That’s the beauty of BJJ. It gives you a significant advantage over those who don’t understand how ground fighting works. Boxers do not enjoy that level of an advantage since even an untrained person knows to cover up to block punches thrown at their head. There’s no instinctive way to defend against armbars, chokes, or joint locks. Reacting instinctively to these attacks often makes things worse.
10 Tips To Master BJJ Fast
Deciding to train BJJ is one of the best decisions you could ever make. You get to destress with a phenomenal workout, and you learn practical self-defense skills that might come in handy sometime. You also get to have lots of fun and meet cool people from all walks of life.
How you approach your training determines how fast you progress through the ranks. Here are some tips that will help you to get the most out of your training.
You can’t show up at the gym once a week, then wonder why you’re still getting tapped by new-student white belts one year into your training. The only thing worse than that is showing up sporadically.
Anyone who wants to learn BJJ quickly should be committed to their training. Aim to train at least four times each week, so you’re regularly learning new techniques and working on the ones you already know. It also shows your instructor how committed you are, which makes them more likely to keep an eye on your training and progression.
2) Use all of your training partners
You’re probably going to like some of your training partners more than others, and that can lead to you spending more time training and rolling with those closest to you. That has some benefits since you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can push each other to grow.
However, you should also get lots of training with everyone else at the gym. Training with people of varying skills, sizes, and styles helps to develop a more rounded game. Training partners with atypical body types – like the super tall guy at the gym – are the best since they give you a unique look. It helps you to develop a versatile fighting style.
3) Work on your cardio
Regularly getting winded as you train or roll will slow down your progression. Training regularly helps a lot here since it drastically improves your cardio. You can also add exercises like running, interval sprints, and swimming to your fitness routine, so fatigue is no longer a factor when you train.
4) Improve your flexibility
Watch most elite-level BJJ players closely, and you’ll notice they are incredibly flexible. Names like Eddie Bravo and BJ Penn come to mind. Techniques like triangle chokes require lots of flexibility in the legs and hips to execute.
Being flexible can also make it easier for you to escape submissions. We’ve all watched fights where one fighter escaped a tight joint lock – that many people would have tapped out to – due to their flexibility.
5) Perform BJJ specific drills
Drills like bear crawls, crocodile crawls, and triangle drills work many of the muscles you use as you train BJJ. Use these exercises to strengthen your body for BJJ and add them to your fitness routine.
6) Master the basic first
It’s easy to get carried away with trying to learn spectacular techniques like the helicopter armbar. That would be silly since such techniques are rarely used in real competitions. Avoid falling into that trap and focus on the fundamentals. It’s the basic stuff like keeping your elbows inside, never being flat on your back, and being able to reverse any position that separates the best BJJ players from everyone else.
7) Don’t worry about getting tapped out
Worrying about winning sparring matches takes away from your training. You focus more on winning, instead of learning. Sparring is about the latter, so always keep that in mind. Don’t be afraid to go for a technique even if there’s a good chance it leads to your opponent getting an advantage on you. Sparring is where you test out things you’ll use in competitions or self-defense scenarios.
8) Work on your weakness
This ties into our last point. You won’t get better if you don’t fix your weaknesses. Most sparring partners won’t have a problem accommodating you. For example, if you always find yourself trapped in the bottom half guard position. Tell your sparring partner so you can start from there when you roll. You’ll be sweeping opponents from there in no time.
9) Study the greats
Thanks to the internet, it is now easier than ever to learn from the best. Watch videos of top competitors and pay attention to the techniques that work best for them so you can add them to your arsenal.
BJJ tournaments are a great way to perfect your techniques even if you don’t plan to compete professionally. You get to compete against equally skilled, similarly-sized BJJ fighters who you have never trained with before. It’s a richer experience than sparring with the same people all the time.
Interested to learn more about BJJ?
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