Stuck In A Training Rut?

One of the most common questions that Jiu-jitsu instructors get is that a student feels like they are stuck in a rut. They feel that their learning has plateaued and their progress has come to a halt. Ugh!

How does the student of Brazilian jiu-jitsu deal with the dreaded training plateau?

First of all, let’s acknowledge that our progress in any difficult endeavour is not a smooth, uninterrupted upward progression. Most of us have an expectation that if we work hard, that everything should go perfectly. But, life doesn’t go that way!


Ask most successful people and they will relate stories of private struggles and setbacks in what appears on the surface, to be overnight success. They had to experiment with many methods before breaking through to their success.

There are many obstacles that pop up in our path and we have to learn to deal with them.

5 Obstacles to Overcome in Your BJJ Training

If you are healthy and able to train regularly then other, more subtle factors in your jiu-jitsu training may be affecting your progress.

Here are 3 suggestions to break a training rut:

1) Is your physical conditioning up to standard?

One of the ways that students can short change their training efforts is not be in good enough physical condition to train effectively. One of my black belt friends told me that the periods when his jiu-jitsu felt the best was when he was supplementing his bjj with running several times a week. The increased endurance allowed him to train his jiu-jitsu techniques more effectively.

2) You need to get out of your comfort zone!

“The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein


We need to frequently check to see if we have fallen into easy patterns of behaviour that are no longer helping us improve. Always using the same guard pass to the same side and getting stopped?
Time to shake things up, step out of your comfort zone and try some new techniques.

Pick a position and ask your instructor for some fresh ideas for you to drill. Your instructor can show you a new pass or strategy and then you can get to work on incorporating it into your game. This can kick start your progress once again!

3) Persistence

One thing is common to all high achievers: the quality of persistence.

Master Carlos Gracie has a great quote of the role of persistence in jiu-jitsu and in life:

“Discipline and consistency. I owe these two factors all have attained in my life.
Things have never happened overnight. Results have appeared as a consequence of decades long toil. It is necessary to persist.”

If we anticipate and expect for difficulties and plateaus along the way, we can better persevere through those periods where the rewards seem few.,Success often lays just beyond our comfort zone.


Confidence in Your Jiu-jitsu : Wise Advice from Coach John Wooden

Credits: Mark Mullen 
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ