Three Factors Of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Students Who Progress The Fastest


I was teaching a series of seminars in India where BJJ is in its infancy. The students don’t get much opportunity to train with a black belt and it can be difficult even to buy a kimono.

During the question and answer period at the end of the seminar, one earnest student asked with anticipation “What advice can you give on learning BJJ?”

This is a broad question and impossible to answer with a few simple pieces of advice. I tried my best to give the student some advice to direct his training long after the seminar was over.

There are a few key factors that I have noticed in the students who seem to progress the fastest.


You might have the highest level coaches and the best quality training equipment, but if the start of your BJJ class doesn’t find your butt on the mat, you will have difficulty improving. Sporadic training or dropping in once a week isn’t going to do it.

You simply need to train often enough to commit those skills to muscle memory. Like learning to speak a language or how to program an iPhone, you got to apply yourself often over a long enough period of time.

You may have a number of excuses why you can’t be there. But none of them matter as far as your progress is concerned.

Trying Techniques You Just Learned In Class

The best students I’ve seen actually attempt the techniques that they just learned in class whie rolling. Seems like it should be an obvious, but it is not.

While it’s easier to try positions that you already know in order to keep yourself out of bad positions. But you don’t grow.

Try to do the techniques that your instructor showed in class.

Roll to learn, not to prove yourself.

There are a couple of different philosophies or attitudes that you can try when it comes time to roll. You can try to just survive or you can just work your techniques.

I would suggest working on he basics.

Asking Questions

The only question that instructors don’t like is “What if he does this?” before you have even tried the original move.

Aside from that, you should be asking questions every class. You can ask questions about how you got tapped out in rolling, the mistakes you made, what counters you can do, and why the move you tried in class didn’t work.

Asking these questions will help you understand what happened in your training and fill in the gaps in your knowledge.

Hope that helped the student!

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