The keys to improving in Jiu-Jitsu are not always in the hands of your instructor or in the quality of your training partners, nor do they always come from obtaining the most up-to-date techniques used in competition.
While those things are important and contribute to the overall development of your skills, what really matters is the commitment you make to the art of jiu-jitsu and your discipline and what I like to call the three Ps of training.
What are the three Ps of training?
Practice, perseverance and patience …
This article will teach you how to use the three Ps to ensure that your jiu-jitsu improves at a steady rate, avoiding the typical “lows” that come with training an art for so long.
P1 – Practice
Drilling is one of the most important keys, if not the most, in developing an overall game of jiu-jitsu.
1. When learning a new technique; Perform the move without resistance, if your partner is using resistance it will only ensure that you will have to force the move to make it work! When you force a move, you are most likely doing something wrong and that wrong move will be programmed into your muscle memory. Work hard to make sure your body is learning correct form early on and consistently throughout your workout.
2. Block the downward movement; Once you have a basic understanding of how the technique works, you can begin to have your partner use different degrees of resistance. This will help you learn timing and create different angles of the technique so that when you use it in live training you can have moderate to good success in making the technique work.
3. Connecting the pieces of the puzzle; Once you’ve practiced a move to death, done it in resistance exercises, and been successful in live training, it’s time to find out how the technique fits into your game. For example, a brabo choke is a great submission, but if you never get to the position you see it in and can use it, then it’s not worth it. All techniques have their place in a series of exchanges. Your job now is to figure out how to seamlessly connect the new movement with your style of movement. If you have problems, ask your instructor.
P2 – Persistence
Being persistent has many meanings, but for me its most important meaning is having discipline in your approach to training.
1. Introduce yourself; If you are not going to train, I am sorry, but you are not going to improve. While a short break from training is good for focusing your mind, taking a month or more off just sets you back. There is nothing better to break a depression than to get in and move on.
2. Go after him; If you want to get better at, say, an x-choke, then you will need to practice that move, and more importantly, you will need to go after that move in your live training. This has a way of making your matches a bit boring, but overall it improves your chances of making the play work.
3. Let go of the ego; Be persistent in controlling your ego. Being the best jiu-jitsu boy in your academy only ensures that someone eventually catches up with you. Don’t fall into the trap of always having to win every class game. You need to experiment, you need to take risks, and you need to put yourself in bad positions as often as possible. Here are some things you can do in your live training to ensure you keep your game in top condition.
i.) Positional Rolling only; If you are a submission hunter, then a great exercise is to start your first match without allowing any submission, as your goal is to outmaneuver your opponent to gain an advantageous position.
ii.) Bad lateral rolling; Here you are going to want to train everything on the other side. Therefore, if you like to block your opponent’s left arm, you should only block the right. If you want to pass the guard on the left, go right. If you are an expert in escaping from the transverse side when he is on your right side, then he has to be on your left. And so on ..
iii.) Egoless, unconventional swinging; In this type of training, your job is basically to perform movements that are not usually in your game and in positions that you normally do not find yourself in. You’ll want to move as quickly as possible from positions, sweeps, and deliveries while at the same time allowing your partner to do the same. This type of training really improves your ability to improvise and watch different performances while on the go.
P3 – Patience
Rome wasn’t built in a day and so is jiu-jitsu. Mastery of art, for the average person, takes many, many years, if it is possible to attain it.
1. You do not need all the answers at this time; In jiu-jitsu there are many techniques, many counters and many counters for counters and so on. Understand that your brain and body can only download a certain amount of information before it becomes overloaded with information. This often happens to beginners, so avoid the pitfalls of trying to know everything at once … you can’t. Focus on the most important thing, which at first should be to develop a great defensive game.
2. The movements come and go; Years ago, I was an ace with the Uchi Mata, which is a JUDO throwing type. Now, I can’t seem to find the moment or the opening to land that pitch. Don’t worry, my takedown arsenal has grown and matured over the years. He may at some point come back and find that move or he may not. It is not important while you are improving.
3. I’ll work on that later; You don’t need to have the best half guard to be good at jiu-jitsu. Focus on what you are good at now, as there is always time to explore later. I always remind my students that there are techniques that I learned as a white belt that I didn’t really start exploring until I was a brown belt. Ultimately, will not knowing that move or position affect your game today? Probably not, but as you progress and mature in the art, you will definitely want to go back and begin the exploration process.
4. Don’t give up; David Adiv once told me early in my career that if I wanted to be better than everyone else, just don’t quit. It sounds funny, but the truth is, if you do something for a long time, you really have no choice but to become good at it.
Jujitsu can be, if you want, a journey of a lifetime. Now, in my more than fifteen years of training, I find myself exploring and learning even more now than in all the years that I worked towards my black belt. Using the three Ps method will only help you get better. But the most important thing is not to worry about your strengths and weaknesses, but to enjoy the improvement process.