Jiu jitsu plateaus happen. It’s part of the process. Sometimes even when we’re going to class, training hard, and showing up we still feel stagnant. It can be discouraging when your progress doesn't match your effort. Here are a few ways that can increase progress and help you through that training slump.
#1 Jiu Jitsu Notebook
Bringing a notebook (or writing notes on your phone) can be a great way to keep track of progress. Documenting your training can help you find what you need to improve and what’s working for you. There’s no rules for how you should be logging your training, but it’s important to write down information you find valuable. I like to write down a summary of how I felt, anything I was stuck on, or questions I want to ask later. If I have time I like to analyze each of my rolls. For example :
“I rolled with ‘name’ and was getting to x-guard a lot, but was having problems with them putting knee pressure on my chest and clearing the foot. One way I could improve is to use my other hook behind the knee to them more off balance and stop them from settling.”
#2 Set Intentions
Setting intentions can be so important in training! You don’t want to go to class and try the same moves, play your A-game, and not experiment. I like to set an intention before training to force myself to expand and explore new techniques. For example, if I’ve been having trouble attacking from closed guard I might tell myself I am going to intentionally put myself there and work on sweeping my opponent. This way when you go into the round you already know you’re going to be working on something that will improve your game. Then, take notes and trouble shoot about how it went.
#3 Situational Sparring
Yes... the dreaded positionals. They can be tedious and boring, but they're a game-changer. The amount of reps you can accomplish for any particular move by using specific training is much higher than in normal rounds. Furthermore, I like to do positional rounds at about 50-75% resistance. You want to be able to work your moves but with realistic defense and reactions. You don’t want to your partner preventing all of your attempts, but you don't want it to be too easy.
#4 Put Yourself in Bad Situations
Do it! The gym is where we work out all of the kinks in our game. Put yourself in positions you’re unfamiliar with. Get yourself in side control and work on escaping. Get your back taken and work on scrambling to a dominant position. I'm not saying to always practice techniques that purposely put you in bad positions, but never allowing yourself to be put in these situations can hinder your growth. You’ll find that you are forced to come up with new techniques or try things that you may have not thought about in a while. I think this is especially important when you're climbing up the ranks. You don’t want to become complacent with being dominant in every round, just to feel stuck and uncomfortable in these positions come competition time.
I hope this helped! At the end of the day as long as you keep showing up you will continue to get better. Try out one or all of these tips in the next coming weeks and see how it affects your training!
Go train !