5 “Mini-Resolutions” You Can Make This Year To Help Improve Your Jiu-Jitsu

Photo Source: Kitt Canaria for Jiu-Jitsu Times

Resolutions are often large goals made under the hopeful thought that a new year brings new possibilities and the potential for a “new you.” But let’s be real here: after about the second week of January, the motivation that made us declare to our Facebook followers that we’d lose all that weight or win every major competition in the world usually dies down. There are absolutely people who make their bigger resolutions work, but not all of us have the time or resources or mentality that’s necessary to make them a reality.

If you still want something to work towards so you can improve your jiu-jitsu in 2018, but aren’t looking to completely change your life around to make it happen, consider these options:

  1. Drink more water. I used to be one of those people who didn’t drink plain water unless I was actually dying of thirst, but I’ve since learned the error of my ways, and now I’m never going back to that bright yellow pee life. A lot of people — especially people who are physically active — don’t drink enough water, and changing that will directly affect your jiu-jitsu performance. Personally, when I started drinking more water, I had more energy and stamina, and my overall rolling got better because my body and brain could focus on the task at hand rather than figuring out how to sustain this level of activity while dehydrated. Seriously, it helps, and it’s worth investing $20 into a reusable bottle so you can carry it around and sip throughout the day.

  2. Train outside of your comfort zone. Okay, yes, this is vague, but tailor it to your own personal training style. If you’re a chronic guard-puller, make a conscious effort to not pull guard even once during live rolling. If your leg lock game doesn’t get edgier than Achilles locks, have someone teach you the ways of kneebars and heel hooks.It’s easy to get into a rut, especially as you get really good at a few particular techniques and develop your own style. Pushing yourself to venture out of your personal idea of “normal” will not only help you become a more well-rounded grappler, but also give you a new challenge if you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a jiu-jitsu routine.

  3. Train at more gyms. Whether that means finding time to train while traveling to other countries for work, or simply taking a day trip to the next town over for open mat, meeting and rolling with new people is one of the coolest aspects of our sport. It’s easy to get stuck in the routine of work-train-sleep (plus all the other commitments that everyday life demands), and being able to train with people other than your teammates at a place other than your home gym can be a welcome break from the norm. Set a goal to visit a designated number of new academies — whether that’s three, five, or twenty — and work to meet it by the end of the year.

  4. Keep a jiu-jitsu journal. How many times have you seen a technique in class, drilled it over and over again, then completely forgotten it within the month? There’s a reason so many people write down grocery lists and appointment reminders: it helps you remember things. Keeping a BJJ journal can not only help you to mentally imprint all the techniques you learn over the year, but it’s also a fun reminder of just how much you learn over time. After class, take two minutes to write down the date, technique you learned and the steps to performing it, and any other relevant things you learned that day. You may be surprised at how much it helps your game.
  5. Find a way to give back. For much of our early jiu-jitsu careers, we mostly fumble around and hope that our teammates are kind enough to help us out when we’re really struggling. This year, if you’re able, try to find a way to pay it forward. Ask your coach if you can help out during the kids’ class, stay after class more often to mop the mats, or just focus on being a mentor to one of the new white belts. Giving back to the sport doesn’t have to mean making a big commitment; just find a way to make your corner of the jiu-jitsu world a little brighter.


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