I have been doing Jiu Jitsu for a little over a year now. Progress is hard to dissect but it’s happening every time I show up on the mats. This week I had a fellow team mate ask me how long it took before I felt like I was getting the hang of BJJ. My question in response was, Oh god.. Am I? lol.
About three months into training I started to see things (the opportunities where I should apply a specific technique while rolling). But while spastically rolling, I would see the opportunity and when I would go for it my body would do something completely different. It was frustrating. And there was a lot of this. But I knew deep down that it was part of the process and I leaned into it.
Last year was filled with lots of travel and I missed large sections of training. When I got home in January from a month in Ukraine, I was finally able to apply myself consistently and things really started to connect. I was seeing the opportunities, responding, and my body was doing what I wanted it to. These moments of pure connection feel brilliant! This propelled me to work harder and I found myself avoiding social plans in order to get to class.
When I started participating in the intermediate No Gi classes in February, I really felt a shift in my confidence. Three classes in I jumped into a local No Gi competition. The adrenaline dump hit hard but I managed to win my first match just about to finish an arm bar. My second and third matches lasted mere seconds as I went for a take down both times and got guillotined both times. In the moment I was completely oblivious to the risk of a guillotine. It was not on my radar because I had never really tried to guillotine someone myself. I guess its true, you don’t know what you don’t know. So the following day when I hit the mats I worked on how to avoid the guillotine and when it happens, how to get out of it. One of my coaches said that one tournament is worth the equivalent of 20 classes, because whatever you do wrong you will make sure it does not happen again. And now I go for that guillotine every chance I get!
Over the past few months I have felt my defense getting stronger, making it tougher for people to submit me when they get me in side control or mount. I am finding that I am tapping a little less often now. I am always vigilantly focused on my frames and trying to re-guard with intention.
Everyone’s Jiu Jitsu journey is different. That’s what I like about it. We all hit things at different stages and at a different pace. Eventually we start to develop our own game based on our own physical bodies and what works and doesn’t work for YOU. I have a feeling I will be in the phase of figuring out what techniques work and don’t work for me for a long time. It’s really hard not to compare yourself to the progress of your teammates, but at the end of the day, just don’t! You are where you are and you can only continue to show up, put the work in, and continue to progress at your own pace. We all have jobs, families, and other hobbies that dictate our training at times. Just keep showing up when you can!
Oss 🖐🏻 👊🏻
P.S. The title of this blog comes from the YouTuber John Hill and his channel, Progress Daily.