Here are 3 tips on how to improve your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
1) Crosstrain with Other Grappling Systems
Nowadays there are so many various forms of grappling styles (judo, sambo, wrestling) that are accessible to the student. Most grappling systems have an arm bar,chokes, leg bars etc. However how they train it and enter into that submission can be different. They can also have a different philosophy when it comes to getting into a position and holding that particular position. Crosstraining with other practitioners from other grappling systems can help you improve your game on so many levels. You get to see how to apply your art against a different style. You see how they use their style to counter yours and you have to learn how to adapt to it. They may react differently to one of your attacks, forcing you to re-think your options. And they may share with you new ways to drill submissions and positions.
Check out this video with John Danaher, the grappling coach of UFC Welterweight Champion, George St. Pierre, as he briefly touches on the importance of crosstraining in other grappling systems.
2) Drillers Make Killers
I stole this phrase from one of my training partners Omar Kaoud who told me he stole it from his instructors. If you really want to get good, find a reliable training partner who wants to work hard and drill the technique. Over and over. Then do it again.
Most of the time when students get together to train on their own, they only do a few reps of a technique, then they jump into full rolling. Rolling is important, but your game will only improve slightly. You will play the same game, use the same techniques and use the same positions. You won’t try new things with any success, because you lack the timing, the recognition, the sensitivity to see it, and the ability to adapt when things go wrong. In other words, you will not have the confidence to pull off these techniques.
I usually say this to my students: If you have to think about it, it’s probably too late and just because you know it, doesn’t mean you own it. How many times have you had an opportunity to slap a sub on, and you find yourself thinking, is it this leg I throw over? How do I grab the collar? By then your training partner has escaped. And just because you know what an arm bar is, and can perform it in class, does not mean you can pull of that same sub under stress against a non-compliant training partner or competitor. Do yourself a favor and put some reps in.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
When you do get a chance to roll, try something new. If you like dropping to guard, try to stay up and put them on their back. Do you only go for arm bars? Or do you have a favorite sub that you do ALL the time? This is an easy one to fix. Next time you roll try playing a different game. Also try techniques that you just learned (hopefully you put in all those reps). You may lose your position, but with time, proper feedback from your training partners and corrections from your instructor, you will soon be subbing people with that sub and adding more tools to your tool box.
These tips can also be easily applied to the striking arts, like Muay Thai for example. Crosstrain with savateurs, boxers, traditional martial artists. Rep out those new techniques. And play a different game when sparring. If you put in the flight time with these tips, your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will definitely improve.
Sifu Joey de Los Reyes
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