Now that I’ve been training jiu-jitsu for almost three months, I figured it was time to start journaling my progress.
54 Classes in 13 Weeks
My first BJJ training session was on December 5th, 2017. Since then, I’ve attended 54 one-hour training classes. That’s an average of four hours per week of training. I’ve taken a week off at two separate times to recover from a pulled muscle, so when I’m healthy, I’m actually attending on average five classes per week.
One of the things that training BJJ this frequently has revealed is that I’m not very flexible, especially through my lower back, glutes and hamstrings. I also really need to work on strengthening my core, which should help me stay healthy and able to train for the long-haul.
Here’s the latest photo of my training progress card:
Gracie Combatives is the program designed to train white belts the self-defence fundamentals of jiu-jitsu. The Gracie system teaches 36 techniques through 23 individual classes. In the first half of each class, we learn how to respond to a self-defence situation, usually through a clinch and take down of some kind. Then we work on techniques for improving position and submitting opponents.
As you can see on the card, each time you attend a class, the instructor ticks the box next to the class number, then ticks another box on the right side to show progress earning stripes. I’m currently six classes away from earning my third stripe.
My Primary Focus This Month
Once I gain my third stripe, I’ll be qualified to attend the Reflex Development classes. These are advanced white belt training sessions where you learn to combine techniques and develop the muscle memory to flow naturally from confrontation to submission.
My favourite sequence at the moment, and what I’ll be focusing on trying to perfect this month, is…
Clinch to Leg Hook Takedown to Mount Control to Modified Mount to Take the Back to Rear Naked Choke.
From the guard, I really enjoy the dominance and control of the Triangle Choke, so I’ll be working on that as well. I also just saw a video of Rener Gracie teaching the Triangle Choke from the Mount, which I’m looking forward to working on, although it’s not actually a part of the Combatives classes.
Sparring and Progression to Blue Belt
At the Gracie gym I train at, White Belts are not permitted to spar with Blue Belts or higher. After 8 to 12 months of training as a White Belt, you can test for your “Combatives” Belt, which essentially means you’ve mastered the fundamental techniques and you’re ready to hang with more experienced players. At that point, White Belts are permitted to spar. Twelve to 18 months after that, you should be ready to test for Blue Belt.
Any Ideas on How I Can Train Smarter?
If you’ve been training BJJ for a while, how do you work on improving your techique? I’d appreciate any input you can offer to help me get better faster.
Until next time…