Plateauing in BJJ Training (an article by Daniel Frank)

Image result for bruce lee picture“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits.  There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”  -Bruce Lee



When I began training jiu jitsu I attended two classes every week. Each class was ninety minutes in length and I felt that at the end of each week I had learned a great deal and was always excited for the next week to begin. Every week, as a white belt, I felt that excitement and each training session increased the inventory of techniques that I had memorized and then attempted to use in each roll.

                                                 Image result for plateauing graph
     After a year of training I received my blue belt and began to attend class each and every day. My mental library of techniques continued to grow, but something in my training changed. It didn’t feel that my growth was as dramatic as it had been when I started as a white belt. I was still growing, but that growth began to level out. Sometimes I would complete a class and recognize that I had previously learned the techniques shown. After rolling with my teammates I would pack up, head home, and question my training. Did I learn something today? Did I improve? Will every class after this class be the same?
     That was my first taste of plateauing in my martial arts training. It wouldn’t be my last. Since I began training I have spent close to 4,000 days working hard on the mats. That comes out to around 20,000 hours of jiu jitsu training. If I was worried about plateauing in my training I probably should have quit long ago. If I ever feel that I’m plateauing in my training there are a couple easy things that I can do:
  •   Change The Focus: Find a technique or a series of techniques that you want to make your own and incorporate in your game. Every grappler has a fingerprint, a personal style all their own. By dedicating a day, a week, or a month to one position or one technique your improvement will be noticeable and any weaknesses that you have noticed will decrease and you will find your plateaus shortening.
  •   Stop Worrying: Every martial arts practitioner comes across the problem of plateauing. What separates the good from the average is their ability to recognize the problem and solve it. Worrying will only hinder the martial artists progress or even cause them to regress.
  •   Enjoy Training: Jiu jitsu is meant to be enjoyable. You should be on the mats to learn and to improve, but you should also enjoy what you do. Make it enjoyable. Smile. Have fun with your training partners.
     If you recognize that you are plateauing in your training, rejoice. At least your training has been successful enough to get you to this point. It is now your job to overcome this adversity and reach the next level. Get onto the mats and open up your mind. You are like a blank notebook ready to be filled up with countless techniques. You will plateau, but you must so you can reach the top of the mountain.

Daniel Frank is a black belt instructor at Revolution BJJ.

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