Staying Motivated In Jiu-Jitsu and How To Stick Around For The Long Haul: 15 Things That Have Helped Me

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Staying Motivated In Jiu-Jitsu and How To Stick Around For The Long Haul: 15 Things That Have Helped Me

By: Eugene Tsozik PT, DPT, BJJ Purple Belt

1) Chase Techniques:

Try to get out of your box. Ask questions, when you get submitted or passed, ask what they did and what you can do to defend or counter. Jiu-jitsu has many paths to victory. Its always fun to expand and learn new ways to get better.

2) Rest/Get Refreshed/Re-Energized:

Take breaks. Vacations, meditation, yoga, rest, massage, etc. These are all great things to keep yourself refreshed and ready to go. Don’t under-estimate the power of sleep and nutrition! Lots of your recovery comes when you rest.

3) Set Goals:

Write down daily, weekly, or monthly goals. For example, try to hit one specific sweep in class or avoid getting into a certain position. Make it a game and a goal, this will keep things exciting and show progression.

4) Compete:

The only way to get better at something is practice! I hate the nerves and feelings that come with preparing to compete. After its all said and done, I am so happy that I went out there and put it on the line. The more I compete, the more my body and mind gets used to the ups and downs of competition. You will only get better and you can’t win if you don’t try.

5) Stay Healthy/Listen To Your Body:

Some days you need to take time off or do light rolling and drilling. Your body will break down just like anything else. Rest, stretch, warm up, cool down, eat well, and sleep. Listening to your body will keep you on the mats longer and with less injuries.

6) Train With Friends:

Friends make it fun. You can’t train BJJ and not make friends. Thats what BJJ is all about. The jiujitsu lifestyle, the community, the comradery. Its awesome to be on the mats with friends and exchange techniques, ups and downs, and discuss life. Its quite therapeutic.

7) Keep It Fun:

I have a problem with getting discouraged if I get submitted. I struggle with my own confidence and ability after i get caught. The advise that I have received from many upper belts is to use it as a learning tool. Put it in the memory bank of what happened and learn from it. Keep it fun, laugh, congratulate opponents, and just enjoy the time on the mats.

8) Train Gi and No Gi:

There are fundamental similarities and extensive differences between the two. They both complement each other, give you different looks and feels on the mats, have different tempos, and are both important. I favor training in the gi because I feel that I use my gi grips effectively and use them well to submit, sweep, and control my opponent. The problem is when you base your techniques around gi grips, then that can cause issues with your no gi game, leaving you thinking and vulnerable. Train both. It’ll keep you dynamic and more sharp.

9) Travel/Train with Different People:

Whats better than going to a school where no one knows who you are and trying techniques out that usually get stuffed at your gym, but work like an absolute charm where others aren’t familiar with your game? Its a great way to pick up new techniques, learn new things, and ultimately meet new people which BJJ is a great thing for. Also, the change of scenery doesn’t hurt.

10) Watch Videos/Read Books:

I love to watch matches, techniques, read BJJ books, and break down the best BJJ player’s techniques to learn and improve. Studying and then drilling to eventually hitting the technique is so rewarding and can start a whole new path to your jiu-jitsu.

11) Appreciate The Time You Spend In The Gym:

For me, its my escape. My disappearance form the real world. My chance to choke and be choked by my buddies. Its a total release and disconnect from the burden of the day. Its what I look forward to in the middle of my week, and its how I love to kick off my weekend.

12) Seeing Your Friends At The Gym/Build Strong Relationships With Training Partners:

These people are my friends, partners, brothers, and sisters. Many of which I would even consider family. When you push hard, sweat, get injured, fatigue, go through grueling mental and physical distress together, you have individuals in your proximity that not only have the same passion, but know what you go through. Its a unique bond, one unlike any other sport.

13) Get Together With Teammates and Do Things Outside of the Gym Together:

Its great to see your teammates in a different light. Seeing your training partners outside of the gym, dinner, watching fights, etc is a great way to be in the BJJ community in a light-hearted atmosphere.

14) Don’t Worry About The Belts:

I had a bad day at work, was not too excited about training due to “life stuff,” and just happened to get a stripe after Jiu-Jitsu class. It caught me by surprise because I was just doing what I normally did in class…my best. It’s a piece of tape around a colored piece of fabric. For me more than anything, its a sign of progress. Its proof that I am working hard, improving, and staying consistent. Its a great motivator, but for me its like the icing on the cake. It’s as good as a pat on the back, and hearing “nice sweep” from my opponent or instructor is just as rewarding. 

15) Make It A Habit (helps get me through the week because I get excited about Jiu-Jitsu) and Stay Consistent:

Steadily training will keep your mind sharp and muscle memory on point. You will be more successful and more apt to hit techniques as well as you will consistently improve and won’t be as likely to forget newer techniques. What’s better than getting a submission or hitting a move you have been working? That’s motivation in and of itself.

Hope this helps! Its why I love BJJ and training! There are ton of other reasons! Tell me what you think!