Your First Year Of BJJ: The Two Most Important Areas


While watching an open mat rolling session with a new BJJ student, we discussed her new found love for jiu-jitsu and fascination with all of the details of the techniques.

I love to hear that new students are really enjoying their involvement in the art and sport of BJJ. I also love to hear their talk about how they’re becoming addicted. They confess to dreaming about jiu-jitsu and thinking about it in the middle of the night, replaying rolls in their mind and wondering what they could have done differently.

I gave my opinion to the new student that in her first year of training there were two main areas of focus for her:

1) Gaining an understanding of all of the major ground positions in BJJ. I pointed at the mat full of grappling pairs and said:

“If we froze this picture right now, you should be able to identify which position each pair is in.¬†Secondly, what is each trying to do? Example: the person on top is trying to keep their base and posture and trying to pass the guard. The person on the bottom is trying to break the posture, defend the guard, and sweep or submit.”

We may divide up the major ground positions by looking at the useful positional hierarchy in BJJ:

Rear mount
Mount
Knee on Belly
Side control
Half Mount
Guard TopGuard Bottom
Turtle Top / Turtle Bottom
Half Guard Bottom
Side control Bottom
Knee on Belly Bottom
Mount Bottom
Rear mount Bottom

2) The second major focus for first-year jiu-jitsu students is to build their “vocabulary” of techniques for each of those positions. “What move do I use to escape from side control?”¬† “How do I pass the closed guard?”

The first-year student needs to have a solid escape, idea of how to control, sweep, and submission from each of those positions.

You need to learn, drill and recognize when to use that position in live rolling.

You will drill the movement (hundreds of times in some cases!) to create the smoothness and efficiency in each of those techniques. It must become part of your muscle memory. You will learn the details that maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of each individual technique.

Mat fitness and the physical adaptations your body requires to move efficiently on the ground vary significantly between beginning students. There is little doubt that a fit individual will have an easier time learning and training BJJ.

Now with these concepts in mind, approach each BJJ class looking at how the lesson of the class fits into these two areas.

Read also : 3 Tips On Learning From Your Training


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