What to Study

5 min read
Determining what to study in your Jiu-Jitsu journey

What to Study

Determining what to study in your Jiu-Jitsu journey

Location: Moose Jaw, Canada

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The world of Jiu jitsu is like a colorful maze where you can get lost in the various paths. Ultimately, it is a system that operates with overlapping concepts and techniques which you will learn throughout your lifetime. Adding to that, it is an ever-evolving martial art with constant contributions from multiple practices such as wrestling, judo, and sambo. How do you know how or when to research Jiu jitsu concepts? Is there a magic system that you can follow, which will allow you to flow from point A to point B? Breaking down the question ‘What do I need to study to improve?’ has different angles which you can venture through. If we look at specific areas, we can have a better-guided approach.

Holes in your game

One of the most obvious places to begin is where you are deficient in your game. When you are a beginner, you often will make comments like “My guard sucks,” or “I can’t take someone down.” It is hard to understand what you need to study when the topic is so broad. It is better to focus on how you are getting your guard passed. If you are getting your guard passed with a common knee slice, then you have a more pinpointed question. How do I stop the knee cut pass? In other words, simplify your questions. The frustration resides in positions where you feel uncomfortable or don’t have many answers for.  So, it is important to ask the right questions. Making notes and breaking down large ideas into smaller areas of study will help your understanding. As stated above, many of the concepts are interconnected, so if you start patching the holes in your game, you will be able to apply similar answers to other deficiencies. 

Strong parts of your game

There are certain aspects or techniques in your game that you feel comfortable and strong in. These techniques are usually your go-to’s when you are rolling. Each practitioner will develop their own flair or style to the technique. World champions have different ways to perform the techniques, and learning from them may excel your technique to the next level if you pay attention to their details. It is advantageous to study and research positions and techniques that you excel in to pick up any details which may make those techniques even more powerful. For example, if you are good at catching an armbar from the guard you can utilize your research time to see the best in the world perform the move. Commonly, a different grip, an off-balance technique or even a different way of thinking about the technique will really add to your game. You can find easier ways to achieve the technique which will, in turn allow for the strong aspects of your game to become stronger and work on tougher opponents. 

Positions to coincide with instructional classes

When you attend regular instructional classes from your instructor you will be exposed to different positions and philosophies. Many times, your instructor will guide you through concepts and techniques that have many different directions to go based on the opponent’s reaction. These are perfect positions to study and look at more extensively. For example, if you are studying a certain type of pass that leads to side control or mount, perhaps your instructor explores more extensively passing the guard and moving to side control. Having the ability to research the transition to mount will help bring your learning together in a cohesive nature. You can gain some insight into the different transitions and options through the common question periods where other students will ask the “What if” questions or the questions of “Can I…” Bridging the gap with these techniques to other areas of your game is simply done by researching to expand upon your previous knowledge. 

Positions to beat training partner

Many times, in the training room, your partner will be studying, exploring, and looking to build and develop their game. You will be caught in their path of improvement and ultimately be submitted, swept or taken down. This is a perfect opportunity to research the techniques that are being applied to get you. If you are the one who is successful in applying the technique to your partner, then it is a perfect time for them to research the kryptonite to your technique. The concepts of learning a technique are important just as learning how to disable the same technique are. When you have a room that is constantly evolving and improving you will have a room that is full of growth. You want to have answers to your partner’s attacks so that you can fix the holes in your game and grow together. It is a perfect atmosphere to fine tune where it won’t cost you the match or a medal because you can operate under trial and error without worry of negative repercussions.

Having direction in Jiu jitsu allows you to move forward with clarity and the ability to develop a game plan. The maze of Jiu jitsu swallows many victims who become anxious and discouraged with their blocked progress. They might make comments like “I have to work on everything,” and “I have to work on my guard game because I am always getting passed.” There is a great amount of reward when it comes to research and improving your technique. Improvement is found in looking at the clear path of fixing the holes in your game, strengthening your pre-existing technique, making connections and filling gaps from instructional classes, and finding answers to the training room superstar techniques. Learning what to study, how to study, and how to apply knowledge is an important skill that helps to give clarity in one’s progression.




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