How to Learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Faster

Jul 22, 2023Jiu-Jitsu0 comments

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a complex martial art and grappling sport that takes years to master. However, you can accelerate your learning and progress faster through the ranks with the right mindset and training methodology. Here are some of the top tips and strategies for how to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu faster:

Prepare Your Mind for Optimized Learning

Your mindset before and during training sessions sets the foundation for how quickly you’ll absorb new techniques. Here are some ways to prime your brain for maximum learning:

  • Get adequate rest. BJJ is so demanding that fatigue will limit your progress. Make sleep a priority.
  • Have a positive attitude. Come to class excited to learn. Avoid negativity from your day seeping into your mindset.
  • Establish emotional motivation. Connect your training to important goals like self-defence, fitness, fun with friends, etc. It taps into powerful emotions that boost learning.
  • Do light warm-ups and music to get in a focused, accepting state before training sessions.

Master the Stages of Motor Learning

When acquiring any new motor skill, you move through 3 main phases:

Cognitive Stage

  • Focus on comprehending the overall objective and sequence of the technique.
  • Break it down into distinct steps in your mind.
  • Your instructor should provide an optimal, minimally distracting learning environment.

Associative Stage

  • Refine the movements through repetition at this stage.
  • Shift from relying on visual cues to proprioceptive feedback from your body’s senses.
  • The more varied practice, the more input to solidify the motor patterns.

Autonomous Stage

  • The technique becomes automatic and you can execute it fluidly under any conditions.
  • It requires little conscious thought at this ingrained level.

The key is not rushing through the initial cognitive and associative stages. Take time to learn the fine details properly before working towards autonomous execution.

Integrate Live Training To Learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Faster

Drilling techniques repetitively in isolation will only take you so far. You need resistance and unpredictability to develop their practical application.

  • Use blocked training to learn new techniques in a structured way initially.
  • However, random live rolling is essential to master applying them against a non-compliant opponent.
  • Blend live training continuously with your solo drilling. Sparring partners provide necessary variability.

You won’t adapt the techniques against real-world conditions without integrating free training early on. Your skills can fail to transfer from drilling to live grappling if you neglect this key phase.


Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Your self-talk and inner perspective on learning has a massive impact on your rate of progress. Cultivate an adaptive “growth mindset” as opposed to a fixed one.

Here are some characteristics of each mindset:

Fixed Mindset

  • Avoids challenges due to fear of failure.
  • Sees abilities as innate and unchangeable.
  • Ignores constructive feedback.
  • Has an urgency to prove oneself.

Growth Mindset

  • Embraces challenges as opportunities to improve.
  • Believes abilities can be developed through practice.
  • Learns from criticism without taking it personally.
  • Finds motivation in the process, not external validation.

Catch yourself when you have negative self-talk or adopt unhealthy training behaviours due to a fixed mentality. Be process-driven and keep your focus on daily incremental progress.

Strategize Your Training Sessions

With a growth mindset established, implement these strategies to structure your learning in the gym:

  • Have clear outcome goals for each session. Know exactly what techniques or skills you want to hone.
  • Categorize training partners based on skill level. Use them strategically to work different aspects.
  • When attempting new techniques, start them in live rolling only after you’ve drilled them extensively.
  • Pay attention to fatigue. When mental or physical tiredness sets in, switch to lighter technical training.
  • Frequently change partners to experience diverse body types, reactions, styles, etc. Varied stimuli accelerate learning.
  • Flow rolling is excellent, but identify 1-2 focus areas to work on during the rolls. Don’t just randomly grapple.
  • Analyze mistakes constructively. Were they fluke occurrences, improper technique, or lack of knowledge? Make adjustments.


Become a Self-Reliant Learner

The hours available in class aren’t enough mat time to excel quickly at BJJ. You have to take learning into your own hands as well.

  • Watch the YouTube channels of high-level instructors to pick up new techniques. Brian Glick, Andrew Wiltse and BJJ Fanatics have great content.
  • Read books from legends like  John Danaher, Marcelo Garcia, Bernardo Faria, and Saulo Ribeiro. Their teaching styles may resonate with you.
  • Attend seminars and take meticulous notes. Get hands-on corrections.
  • Teaching others forces you to understand techniques on a deeper level as you explain the nuances.
  • Visualize techniques step-by-step. Mentally walk through the movements daily.

Become a lifelong student of the craft. Seek knowledge from any source you can find. Jiu-jitsu mastery is an endless pursuit.

Simplify Your Learning

Here are some final tips on simplifying the learning process:

  • Focus on just 3-5 techniques per training session. Don’t overwhelm your mind.
  • Research and model your game after a high-level competitor with a similar body type.
  • Create mind maps of your techniques, reactions, transitions, and counters. Connect the dots.
  • Ask “why” for every technique and detail. Understanding mechanical principles vastly improves application.
  • Don’t obsess over the 10,000-hour rule. Mastery can come much faster with intelligent, consistent training.
  • Stick to a consistent schedule. Focused training four days a week for 1 hour yields better retention than 8 hours 1 day per week.


Learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Faster At Apex MMA

If you’re looking to fast-track your BJJ skills, try Apex MMA. Sign up for a free trial to experience their world-class instructors first-hand. Our positive learning environment and structured curriculum embody all the best practices for accelerated progress. Just a few classes at Apex can put you firmly on the path towards jiu-jitsu mastery!

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Team Apex MMA Martial Arts Coach
Apex MMA is a specialist mixed martial arts gym focusing on Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Led by an experienced team of instructors, Apex MMA offers comprehensive training programs for students of all ages and skill levels. With Apex MMA's systematic teaching methods, passion for martial arts, and strong community relationships, you will gain the tools to succeed in the gym and beyond.
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