Some Things We Wish We Knew: Keeping a BJJ Notebook

jiu-jitsu notebook: all the moves you need

Do you remember how to do that .. I mean, does my foot go here and my hand go? No, or I mean, you’re not sure either? You’ve made it past the three month mark, past the realization that one day a week isn’t going to cut it. Your friend that was so excited to sign-up with you, yep, they’re gone. Disappeared! On the back of a milk carton, ‘Missing from BJJ TRAINING: IF FOUND…’ They ditched- left you high and dry. That’s all right buddy! You’ve made it, man! You can do this! Way to go. You’ve got this; One more shrimp, one more drill, one more roll. OOOOOHHHH whoooooooiiieeeee, but wait! Laugh out loud! Shaking my head! What, I say I say whaaaaat do you mean?! YOU DON’T REMEMBER THAT MOVE OF THE MONTH FROM TWO MONTHS AGO?!?!?
Listen, look around you. No-one else does either. For realzies. I’m being honest, and I may be the only one who will give it to you straight (yes, I was being a little facetious!). No-one has the brain capacity to remember all of this, this, this… STUFF! There is just no freakin’ way! Why do you think we watch video, talk about it 24/7, and generally annoy the hell out of people who don’t do jiu-jitsu! So relax, STAY CALM … and KEEP A BJJ NOTEBOOK! Errrr did you really think we were all hard-drives with unlimited storage & memorized every move and every detail? I mean, that would be cool and all, but then what would happen to YouTube, DVD sales, Book sales and seminars…
So fellow compatriots, strugglers of memorization and utilization, read below and find a way to organize your thoughts! Not ANY one of us is the same. Are you a visual learner, and have the wherewithal and patience to draw it out… be my guest! Just remember this: the BJJ journey is yours, and the BJJ notebook is for YOU, so it should work for you; not Judy the scientist, George the philosopher or Lisa the vegan. Ya dig? Ya smell what I’m cookin’ in the pot of jits possibilities? Alrighty then, get ready, grab a cold pressed coffee with Himalayan salt and butter… or cinnamon spiced tea, put your feet up, breathe deep, annnnnd read:

• A notebook, or some way to organize everything we were learning? Yeah, I wish someone had told me that, like a year ago
• I’m really kind of confused as to how I’m supposed to organize, my organization
• I have a notebook, kind of, but it doesn’t make sense- what I wrote after class, well I don’t even want to ask or show it to anyone because it’s all gibberish
• Is it ok to bring your notebook to class with you and take notes while your professor is demonstrating?
• No-one wants to stick around after class and I always have questions, but I feel like if I ask them during class I’m holding it up & then after class it’s too late, and then I forget later- maybe I should make a notebook of questions- would Professor be mad at me for not asking earlier?
• HOW does a notebook work?
• I have sticky notes, sticky notes are dumb, don’t do sticky notes
• Why won’t people share their notes?
• Why won’t people share their notes AND
• Why won’t people share their notes!!!
• When you use your iPad or iPhone to keep track of your progress or notes and it’s stolen or lost and you can’t access the cloud
• Move of the month. And you take notes. But then you switch to a new notebook after the old one is full & your note taking format changes, and your old notebook doesn’t make sense any more
• Do you keep your notebook organized by moves, so like Kimora; or by heading like Takedowns submissions, sweeps… or by what? Because it all becomes a jumbled mess.
• Yeah, it all becomes a jumbled mess- and then you start to take more classes and what you’re learning combines various classes, so do you keep different notebooks for different days?
• OMG! ^^^ that’s like a hundred notebooks, my head is going to explode
• How about when you have your notebook and you ask Professor to help you clarify and you can’t even make sense of what you’ve written, so you have to scratch the entire thing
• Color coding?
• Highlighting? But then it looks like your freshman year of Probability in college. Everything was highlighted
• Association? But then I sometimes can’t figure out what it means… if I write down cookie & I don’t know, say, paint… it made sense in class and was perfect for that day but then… gone & I’m hitting myself and saying “ stupid! stupid!” who the hell is ever going to make sense of that?!
• I only write down my favorite moves. I guess that kind of limits things, but at least I’ll have those in black and white clear and concise instead of 100 things all jumbled up
• There are notebooks designed specifically for BJJ out there
• There are college ruled/wide ruled notebooks, 3 ring binders, artsy type, techie-type, cyber type, iPhone, cellphone, video friendly notebook type things out there- explore and find what’s best for you
• Whatever works for you works for you, not everyone will want, need or care to keep a notebook & that’s ok. Leave people alone and don’t try to stuff your idea down their throat

In the end, there will be many years of training, competing, learning and sharing of knowledge. New moves will be created, new powerhouses will be discovered however, the rest of us average joes will still be here, sweating it out day-to-day, trying to perfect our technique and be the best that WE can be on and off the mats. Just like the jiu-jitsu game, your disorganized organization will also straighten itself out. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance, otherwise what in the world is the point of having teammates and a Professor? Remember that regardless of how well or how poorly you perform in class that day, you made the commitment to be there. You made it, you’re not on the “quit before they even had the chance to get started” list. You shook off the frustration & disgust of your disorganized organization and said “I will remain true to the course.” Bravo troops, bravo.

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop” Confucius


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