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How to Train Jiu Jitsu Properly

This is something that came up last week. I’ll be really brief here, but by all means, ask me in class for more detail.

So first thing is this- if you can’t train with absolutely everyone in the room, you’re missing out. You’re also probably not technically good enough. That’s fine if you’re a beginner, but inexcusable if you’re training more than a year.

I’ve seen (and been this soldier) people walk into rooms and roll their eyes because there’s no one there their size/weight/experience.

This is not the weight room. You can’t add the perfect amount of plates to the barbell, or select the perfect dumbbells for your challenges. You work with what you have, and what you have can change week to week, session to session.

You should be able to scale your rolling to the partner you have- eliminating strength or power with smaller people to challenge them and you with technique. Or giving less experienced training partners “head starts” by starting the roll in bad positions, or handicapping yourself by not allowing yourself to use your best positions.

Here’s an example. I was in training a few months ago and the highest level was a smaller purple belt. Now one of my bad habits is using the turtle position too much instead of focusing on retention. My training was to not turn to my knees once the whole session. It was difficult, and my training partners scored a good bit. But it helped me more than walking on to the mat and playing my A game would have, even if my regular training partners were there.

Is there an optimal training partner for you? Yes of course, sparring with equal size and ability is great, but even that can become stale if you train with too few people.

Ultimately, learning how to train properly is a skill everyone should learn. If you can’t roll light, and know how to dial your pace or power up or down, you’ll never understand technique. You’ll never really understand that you may be making an error that’s being papered over by strength, speed, or flexibility.

So learn how to train properly, and you and your training partners will gain.

See you on the mat,


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