Bjj training advice from BB Shawn Williams

Shawn Williams is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie and the owner of 5 Star Martial Arts | Renzo Gracie Los Angeles.
Shawn Williams is perhaps best known for his eponymous (look the word up mat rat!) guard game “The Williams Guard”.

Full Interview here: Off the Mat with a BJJ Black Belt: Shawn Williams (Audio)

In this excerpt from the audio interview, Shawn shares some great insights into understanding the peaks and valleys inherent in training jiu-jitsu.
Shawn gives some

Advice on training for all students:
“The main thing is that you are going to have some of the worst days that you have in training. They are going to happen!
You are going to get smashed, you are going to get hurt, you are going to get injured. I’m just coming back from a huge one now been 6 months, I’ve only trained 10 times in 6 months.
You are going to have all of these things happen. You are going to have the valleys.
So there are going to peaks and valleys,..peaks and valleys in your training.
And I think one of the things that always got me through all of those peaks and valleys were a commitment just to be better.

It wasn’t I want to get my black belt today…those things motivate you…a belt motivated me in the past but that wasn’t what I was really going for.
And that is fine if it is. If it is a belt that you are going for that is fine.
You’ve got to make the commitment that you just want to get better. You want to be the best version of yourself day in and day out.
On and off the mats and everything will take care of itself.

On taking responsibility for your own learning in jiu-jitsu:
If I am training hard and I don’t care (I obviously do care of I get finished in training, it bothers me, I don’t like to lose) if I look at that as motivation to think about “what happened?”.
Solve the problems of that day, and then come back and learn and try and adjust. Make those adjustments in my training.
I have to educate myself. I have to take responsibility for my training.
I can’t just say “Oh it’s my coaches fault that I don’t know how to do an armlock defense if I got armlocked. I don’t know how to do that.”

Take responsibility in your own training.
Use what happens every single day in training and in competitions as a way to make yourself better.
You get feedback every single day in training.
There is constant feedback.

Every time that I roll with my training partner there is feedback.
It is not verbal feedback. It might be by your coach, but it IS feedback.
“That guard pass didn’t work” – Feedback!
“That sweep worked brilliantly!” – Feedback!
“What I am doing? What did I do to set that sweep up? Or how am I doing that sweep that made it work so well?”

If your sweep is working well, you don’t even need to answer those questions.
The feedback is the proof is in the pudding.
I got a sumi gaeshi from Butterfly guard to work today. Feedback! Oh wow, I’m doing things right!

“I’m doing things right on the white belts, I’m doing things right on the blue belts but the purple belt level I have a hard time.
Why do I have a hard time? Maybe I am not flexing my foot up and pointing it to the corner of the room on my sumi gaeshi sweep.

Something like this. Something little but you get feedback every single day that you train and it is up to you to take the responsibility to use it and make yourself better.

I think that if you focus on just getting better, and training day in and day out and making yourself the best version of yourself and committing everything while you are in the school and while you are on the mats, you will get better!
Everything will just fall into place.
That is a BIG one.
Sometimes we look at outside factors as the reason why we aren’t getting better; outside factors of that or this…as human beings we might like to bitch about things that are outside.
Oh, that guy is getting special attention. Take the responsibility.
You have a responsibility as a jiu-jitsu practitioner to be the best version of yourself.
Train, and appreciate your training partners and appreciate your coach and your instructors and the mat that you train on.

Great advice from one of the best instructors Jiu-jitsu Times has interviewed!

Video: Shawn Williams – Triangle Choke From Williams Guard


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