Help! I’m In A Slump!I had a conversation with a blue belt who expressed that his training was in a slump.
“How is your bjj training going?”
“In a bit of a slump. I feel like I’m having a harder time dealing with people I used to plow through, and guys I was equal with are beating me.”
Ugghh! The dreaded training slump where you feel like everyone is moving past you and all of your progress has come to a complete halt.
First, a few questions.
1) Have you been attending class consistently?
You can watch videos all of the World Champions demonstrating advanced techniques, but unless the start of class at least 2 x a week finds you on the mat and ready to train…you just aren’t going to improve significantly. Advanced students know that learning techniques isn’t as simple as drilling the new move that your instructor showed 5 times and then talking on the mat until the next move is shown. There is simply no substitute for mat time and attending class regularly.
2) Are you doing any physical conditioning outside of the regular class times?
Yes, technique trumps strength in jiu-jitsu. But all things being equal, when you are matched with a training partner who knows the same techniques that you do, physical conditioning is a big factor. No one is suggesting a Mr. Universe bodybuilding routine. But a basic strength training regimen twice per week that strengthens the major muscles groups will help your performance.
One of my black belt friends said that his jiu-jitsu felt the best when he was running regularly and his stamina for long rolling sessions was high. As we fatigue, our technical sharpness tends to fall apart. The better condition that you are in, the more effectively you can roll and try to execute your techniques with precision.
The blue belt confirmed that he had in fact been regular at training and was supplementing his bjj classes with extra physical conditioning on off days.
“It could be some of the guys found a some weaknesses in my game that they didn’t notice before.
A lot of them go far more than I do, so they could have learned some minor details that are working against me.”
“Time to start working on a new position. Try a new guard, a new pass etc.”
The blue belt: “I agree. I think I’m relying on the same moves, and the others are learning them.”
Time to break out of your comfort zone and experiment with a new position. You always play spider guard?
Start trying some De la Riva. Butterfly guard.
You always jumping to guard?
Work on your top game and drill some new passes.
If you have the 1st 2 factors in line, then you may have plateaued with your current set of techniques.
“If you do the same thing every time that you’ve always done, you will end up with what you always got.”
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam