"How Do I Know If I'm Getting Better?"

To get good at jiu-jitsu is a long process. Between moments of success (ex. A gold medal in a tournament or new belt promotion) there are many periods where the student of jiu-jitsu is working hard to improve.

Many students experience periods where they feel that they are not making progress. It can be a frustrating feeling.

The truth is that if one is attending class regularly, making an effort to drill and apply the instructor’s techniques and has a decent level of physical fitness, the student IS making progress.

So why the common feeling that you are not getting better?

1) Your training partners are improving along with you! Class by class you are adding pieces to build your jiu-jitsu game. How to escape certain positions, you are making fewer mistakes that lead to you ending up.in.bad positions or surrendering submissions.

The other students are also improving and tightening their own games. Now they are wise to that easy sweep you could always get. They are no longer falling into your triangle like they used to. Now you are pushed to improve your technique to the next level.

2) Invisible progress
This is a difficult one. Let’s say that you rolled with that purple belt who always sweeps and submits you. And despite your training consistently for the last month you STILL got submitted as many times in the 5 minute round.

You have not improved at all!??

Not so fast. I would wager that the more experienced purple belt had to work harder and try more things before they succeeded in getting their technique.

Yes, they eventually got the sweep or tap…but not with the first technique that they attempted. You successfully defended their initial and secondary attacks (good work!) and it was only their third attack that finally worked.

You may not feel like things went any differently, but your opponent certainly did!

3) Negative self talk. You may feel that you are alone on this one, but trust me, you are not the only one!

Many students of jiu-jitsu are their own worst critics. For some reason many people tend to focus on what they did We on and ignore what they did right. They lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling going over what they should have done in rolling that night’s class.

Pay attention to that inner voice and steer it towards thinking about the positives in your training instead of dwelling on negatives.

You ARE getting better!

See also on Gracie Barra : 5 Things To Help Your Jiu-jistu

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Instagram: @bjjmarkmullen