Whenever I used to hear the words ‘short cuts’, ‘fast track learning’ or even ‘guaranteed results’ I would immediate reject the advice (which almost always, one way or another involved in me handing over my hard earned money). Over the years I have grown to understand that whilst there is merit in this blanket reaction it is fair to conjecture that out of all the plethora of techniques to learning, some at least, must be better than others (and may not include taking my money). The real question is: to what degree are they useful and is it worth investing time in?

By the nature of all conjectures this is an opinion based on incomplete evidence, with assumptions to boot and even less guarantee’s.

Feedback

When you are rolling ask your partner to point out you any mistakes you make twice in the roll. That way your partner knows you are looking for feedback and it will help give you a live analysis of where you can best spend your time. When learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu we can spend months learning things that will eventually, one day, will become useful or we can accelerate our skill level in real time by having a more skilled player literally identify what best to drill specifically for our present skill set. If you find having a cooperative feedback scenario with your partner difficult look out for the coming blogs for advice.

More rolling or more drilling?

The answer is different for us all. Lets look at white belts, their ‘phase of the training’ will be easier explained in a short post. The average white belt should typically spend more training comprised of more drilling than live rolling. Why? Because of skill acquisition. We need to know several submissions from the mount, side control, the back, we need to know where our arms should be. Knowing where our opponents arms and legs are, is just as important as knowing where our own arms, hips and legs all need to be when the opponent moves. That is a very big ask of a white belt, to train and become competent and to infuse new techniques into live rolling.

 

Frequency is better than intensity

This might not make sense at first, because surely intensity matters as it’s a combat sport. Now as a sport scientist this makes sense to me. Intensity is what wins fights however, in the gym we are not in a fight scenario, in fact we are in the ‘training scenario’ that is not the same thing. To get really good at Jiu Jitsu you need many, many mat hours. If you want to train 10 hours a week you will get better than someone that trains 5 hours a week right? maybe. Here’s why it’s a maybe. Training 10 hours a week at high intensity may mean more injuries, more time off and less time on the mats. Dropping the intensity may in fact mean making all 10 hours on the mat and as such, mean better Jiu Jitsu right? makes sense. Intensity must reflect frequency, don’t kill yourself out there everyday! Train smart and train often!