It’s important to remember that a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy should be somewhere to escape from the stresses of your everyday life, a place to get away from the arguments, financial issues, political debates, and the like. The academy should be your sanctuary and the mats a vehicle to transport you far away from such daily worries!
Training should be fun, and if it’s not, you’re going about it all wrong. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that training isn’t hard or even often times frustrating! My point is you should be enjoying yourself, training to learn, grow, and better yourself as both a student of Jiu-Jitsu and life.
Right about now you’re thinking to yourself “Yea, that all sounds good, but how?”. Don’t worry, I’ll help! Below you’ll find some of the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of keeping your training fun:
Tap early and often
Frequent injuries are one of the most common causes of frustration and take the fun out of training, often times even preventing you from being able to step onto the mats. Make sure you’re training with individuals you trust to push you while simultaneously keeping your safety in mind. Most importantly, make sure you don’t take your submission defense to the point of no return in every round of day to day training. In the training room, it’s best to tap early, learn from the error, and move on!
Find a family
Our training partners should be like an extended family! You should immerse yourself in a training environment with people who show you respect and whom you have respect for in return. If you find yourself in a toxic training environment filled with individuals which you do not get along with, you’ll quickly find your excitement for going to class in decline. Keep in mind, the atmosphere of a training environment all comes down from the top, meaning it’s important to choose an academy with a great leader who’s heavily involved in maintaining a positive academy vibe.
Try to achieve realistic goals each class
Keep these goals simplistic! This may be something as simple as keeping someone in your guard 10 seconds longer than you did previously. It’s very easy to put too much pressure on ourselves and set unrealistic expectations, which leads down the path of discouragement.
Focus on the positives
As humans we tend to dwell on mistakes and negativity without giving credence to the positive. Make a rule that you have to list all of the things you did right before addressing what you did wrong. If you do this you’ll find out that you did a lot more correctly and made fewer errors than you realized!
Keep track or brag about how many times you tap others
This approach will cause tension between you and your teammates, which ultimately leads to bringing down the morale of the training environment, and will only serve to alienate you from beneficial training partners. It also isn’t a reliable method of identifying improvement as you don’t always know how hard your partner was actually trying. Were they just working on their defense, trying something new, or extremely tired due to it being their 3rd class in a row? These are all factors which negate the reliability of using the number of taps you get as a sign of your own improvement.
Keep track of how many times you get tapped
You’re going to get tapped tens of thousands of times over your Jiu-Jitsu journey, obsessing and beating yourself up over each occasion it happens will ultimately lead to frustration and sadness. Getting tapped isn’t an indicator of a lack of progress, in fact, if you learn from the experience it’s actually an essential factor in growth and improvement.
Obsess over rank
Be mindful that rank is not as much of an indicator of progress as it appears to be on the surface. Overcoming your own struggles and making personal growth in troubled areas are much more important than the color of your belt or how many pieces of tape adorn it.
Compare yourself to the other students
From the inside looking out it can be very difficult to find markers which indicate we’re making progress. One of the biggest pitfalls is comparing yourself to your teammates. The person you’re gauging against may have the luxury of training multiple times a day, five days a week, compared to your two to three days. They may also learn faster or may be more physically gifted. However, from your perspective they started around the same time and are only there on the days you see them. Those are just a handful of many reasons it’s detrimental to compare ourselves to those around us.
As with many things in life, all of the above is going to fall under the “easier said then done” category. However, I encourage you to be mindful and recognize when you’re falling prey to one of the pitfalls I mentioned, correct your course, and keep moving forward!