Thanks to Slidey for this awesome post from Cane Provost (yet another creator of blogly awesomeness). Excerpt below, but it's worth a read by everyone, considering it addresses an important part of the spectrum of BJJ students out there.
Tips on being a great mediocre grappler
- Be consistent. Training 2 times a week every week is going to pay off more than training very intensely for short periods followed by stretches of time off. Of course I have no scientific data to back this up but I’ve seen it play out over and over again at the gym. Enough to confidently make this claim.
- Focus on fundamentals. At it’s core fundamentals can be broken down intoPosture, Pressure, and Possibilities. Building a library of techniques is not a great or efficient way to get good. You only have so much room on your bookshelf. At a certain point the shelf will be filled and you’ll have to throw some out to make room for new ones. In my personal experience I’ve rarely seen anyone who is good at more than about 5 submissions at one time. They may know way more than that but their A game is mostly limited to the top 5. Adding 50 more moves won’t help your game much.
- Focus on Posture most of all. I tell students that the posture should do about 80% of the work for you. You should always be asking yourself “Am I in posture?” If the answer is no then you know what you have to do. If posture does 80% of the work then you should be spending most of your time either working to get posture, improving the posture you have, or fighting to keep it. If you are doing this then BJJ will be way easier.Focusing on posture means getting the best possible posture you can get WHILE putting the other person in the worst possible posture you can. If you create this posture imbalance then you don’t have to be good at BJJ in order to beat the other guy. Remember, the posture does 80% of the work.
- Don’t roll above 70%. (Link to post on 70%) I you go all out all the time then you will be building a game that requires that you go all out all the time. That’s hard to do if you aren’t young and in super shape. Instead try building a posture based game that REQUIRES that you move slower and concentrate on simply building good posture along the way. A good goal is to build efficient postures that use leverage and structure instead of muscle strength. To use efficient motion that requires less intensity of movement. And to use fewer movements in your overall game. My goal is to win by moving less and less until eventually you won’t even notice that I’m moving at all.
- Focus on breathing. If you can’t devote lots of extra time to conditioning exercises you need to be very mindful of your breathing. Stop and check during a roll. Are you breathing heavier than the other guy? If the answer is yes then you need to slow down and focus on posture. Catch your breath before you exert too much energy. Breathing heavy is a sure sign that you are not attending to posture effectively.
- Simplify the game. Can I use the same posture in mount bottom that I use in cross sides bottom? How many ways can I use this triangle submission? Finding multiple uses for things that you already do well is a great way to improve your game without having to put a tremendous amount of extra time in. As you learn new things try to relate them to things you already know and look for commonalities wherever you can.
- Enjoy the journey. In only every case those who enjoy it more are better at it. Train in a way that is healthy, smart, and most of all fun. Will power will get you a year of training at best. If you aren’t having a blast on the mat you won’t stick around or train in a way that will allow you to make much progress. This is perhaps the most important rule. It’s certainly not about “dedication” or “work ethic” as some will describe. Look around you. What looks like dedication is actually someone following their bliss. They are doing it because it’s the most enjoyable and rewarding thing they can think of to do. This is only always the case.
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