Taking Ownership and Avoiding the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Plateau
One of the most effective ways to kickstart your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu growth is through a concept known as deliberate practice. Deliberate practice helps you grow your game systematically and with enough of it, you begin taking ownership of your own Jiu Jitsu game. This is the unique summation of techniques, transitions, attacks and escapes that you have added to your jiu jitsu game that work for you and your body. The shift in mindset that takes place once you start taking ownership of your own jiu jitsu growth is subtle, but important. It can help ignite a spark in your growth and development while also serving as a way to avoid the dreaded jiu jitsu plateaus.
What is deliberate practice?
“Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions,deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.” - James Clear (https://jamesclear.com/beginners-guide-deliberate-practice)
Taking ownership is a concept which can be applied to your jiu jitsu training that will aid learning while also helping you develop your own personal game and style. Every technique is filtered through your mental and athletic capabilities and therefore unique to you. Once you start taking ownership of your own game a mental shift happens where you start looking (and finding) solutions that are directly tailored to your jiu jitsu style. Think of it as being analogous to the difference between creating vs consuming. When you’re seeking solutions to problems you are creating. When you’re scrolling through YouTube, Instagram, watching TV or even attending class without focused, mindful attention you are consuming.
Your instructor can show you exactly the way to do a certain move in the context of their own body, but often times it takes a while before it becomes useful. This is where taking ownership of a technique can help you. You’ll start by testing the technique out "in the wild". Always seeking to flesh out the finer details that make it work for your body. Each time you run into a roadblock, instead of getting frustrated, you consider it as useful data. Eventually every single technique you successfully add to your game will have some quality about it where you have taken ownership of it. If it is in your repertoire of techniques and you have worked out how to make it useful in the context of your body, then I'd say you have taken ownership of it.
Come to class mentally prepared
You can start taking ownership of your own game by coming to class with something you want to work on already in mind. This can usually be something that you've deemed "part of your game". It can be as general as getting to your favorite position to attack from or as specific as a cross choke from back. Regardless of what the instructor is teaching on a particular day, you should always have a mental rolodex of techniques which you are “iterating” on with an intention of improved performance. When it comes time for sparring, drilling or open mat time you can build on your foundation of moves that make your game unique.
How Can Grapple.Ninja Help?
This is where Grapple.Ninja can help. I use it to note what I’ve been working on or struggling with. Grapple.Ninja can help you remember, review, and prepare for class. A quick 2 minutes before class can come make all the difference between a plateau or continual progress.