Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Are you journaling towards your BJJ goals?

I'd like to cover one one of the tricks I have been using over the last few months to really help my Jiu-Jitsu progress more quickly.  I have had several of the world champions at my gym tell me about the benefits of journaling for BJJ gains, including multiple world and pan american champions Jonathan Thomas, and Jordon Schultz (you can check out his website at jordonbjj.com).  Both of these top level competitors have told me personally about the benefits of journaling, and I have also heard many other superstars in the sport recommend journaling to speed progression.  First I will tell you about some of my own experiences with journaling, then I will explain how to organize it for maximum gains, and lastly I will give you a great resource to journal with especially if you are new to BJJ.

Since I have begun journaling I have experienced a good amount of success.  I have done journaling before, earlier in my BJJ journey, but because I did not know what I was doing I was not able to reap measurable results from doing so.  Since giving it another shot I have made some changes that have made a huge difference in the results I receive from journaling.

When I journal the format is something like this.  First I cover any problems that I had during sparring, I try to be as specific as possible and completely describe the position, whether I was submitted, couldn't finish a move, or got hit with someone Else's move I try to recreate the situation as vividly as possible.  Next I look at the roll more generally and try to look at other issues I may have had during class that aren't as specific such as, I didn't push the wrist across when going for omoplatas or I turtled several times and gave up my back.  These things fall under the need to work on category, I read these things before the next class and remind myself not to turtle, or to push the wrist across.  So I end with two categories, specific "problems", and things to remember "work on".

Next I take everything that fell into the "problems" category and add them into a large master list I entitle problems.  Each time I encounter a specific problem I add it to the master list.  Over time you will begin to see trends in your rolling, maybe you got hit with 7 armbars in one week, from one specific position.  After you have identified a trend, you can now begin to solve the problem, this will make your game much tighter and you will begin to see less and less of that problem as you begin to learn what you are doing and how to stop it.  The easiest ways to figure out how to solve these problems is to: ask a higher level belt or your instructor about the problem, take private lessons (highly effective, and very easy), or watch competition videos and try to see what top level athletes do in that position.

Now, for the "work on" section, I basically just refresh my memory before class on what I need to do or not to do.  I'll tell myself before every class don't turtle no matter what, or don't accept half guard, or be more aggressive with submissions, etc...

After you have identified problems in your game, and have found a way to solve the issue it is important to drill the solutions at least a few times a week until it becomes like second nature.  If you can't set aside time for drilling grab a buddy before or after class and just run through some reps for 10 or 15 minutes.  This will help your body become used to doing or not doing what ever it is you need it to do or not to do.

If you follow this system I promise you will be able to identify problems, strengths, and weaknesses in your game and begin to strengthen them all into strengths.  You can learn a lot about your game from this form of training and you will see excellent gains in the process.

Lastly I would like to mention a book I learned about during the 2011 Miami Open.  I met with the creator of this book, and spoke with him for a while after I had finished competing.  I think this book is an excellent resource for a white-blue belt student, and even for purple-brown if you don't journal already.  Please check out the book and order one if you want to see the power of journaling for yourself.  Please feel free to like their facebook page as well. http://www.facebook.com/bjjnotebook

Make sure to check out the BJJ notebook a great new book for students of the game!

Please take a few seconds to check out my new website Http://www.makeyourbestself.com


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