“I’m Not Getting Any Better”

Photo by: Jared Lopper

Periodically, I hear BJJ students express frustration that they feel that they aren’t getting any better.

Sometimes this is a temporary lapse in confidence after a tough roll. We all have our ups and downs in training, and when one of our regular training partners dominates us for one whole session, it can lead to self doubt.

It may well be that everyone else is getting better in the academy as well! That said, the most common causes of slow (or nonexistent) improvement tend to be one of two factors: inconsistency or lack of intent in your training.

Let’s look at both.


You may have a wardrobe full of limited edition kimonos and follow all the top BJJ stars on Twitter. But if your behind is not on the mat when class starts, you are simply not going to improve.

It is a curious thing, but we see students who confuse thinking and talking about BJJ with actually doing it! There is vast difference between daydreaming about BJJ or watching a BJJ video in your Facebook news feed, and “sweating your gi” at the academy.

At first, students seem puzzled as to why they are not improving, but when reminded of how many classes they miss, they must concede that they have not been training consistently.

Now, everyone has responsibilities outside of the academy. There are periods in your life where BJJ will not be a high priority. Perfectly understandable. But you need look no further for why your jiu-jitsu is not progressing.

Lack of Intent

In an interview with the Jiu-Jitsu Times, Ottavia Bourdain once told me about her training with the legendary Danaher Death Squad.

The best advice that John Danaher gave me is to continually have intentionality in jiu-jitsu; in the immediate term, intentionality of movement, every grip, every set up must have a clear purpose. In the longer term to always have focused goals for your skill.

If you just show up to class and spend as much time talking about the UFC or last weekend’s debauchery as you do actually focusing on your training, you will be missing out. You will not be focusing your mind and body on the areas of your jiu-jitsu that will result in the greatest improvement for you.

When you show up to class, make sure you have a purpose!

Read also on Jiu-jitsu Times: Escapes: There Is No Get Out Of Jail Free Card


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