Your BJJ Training Goals – 4 Questions To Help You

Do you have specific goals in your bjj training? Or do you just show up at the class each day and see what happens?

It is certainly possible that one can just show up to the academy every week without much thought to the direction of their training and enjoy it. But do you think the athletes at the Olympic Training Centre just show up 20 minutes late, do a few hamstring stretches and ask “So…what do you want to work on today?”

read also: What Should I Work On? Part 2

Training with goals (and there are different types of training goals) is focusing your efforts in a specific direction to maximize your progress. But one thing we ALL would agree on: We want to improve as fast as possible!

Here are 4 great questions to ask to guide your Bjj Training Goals

1) “Why do you train in jiu-jitsu?”

A simple question and one I like to ask every new student who comes into the academy: “Why do you train in jiu-jitsu?” People have many different reasons for putting on a kimono and starting to train.

Do you want to compete at either a local tournament or dedicate yourself to winning a gold medal at a major tournament? Are you most interested in self defence and practicing techniques that will build your confidence in being able to defend yourself in case of an attack?

Do you want to have fun learning a new skill while getting fit and meeting a group of positive people? Depending on why you want to do jiu-jitsu in the first place, you will have different training goals than someone with a completely different reason for training.


2) “What are your goals with Jiu-Jitsu this year?”

Competitors who are preparing for a major tournament report how much more focused they are in their training. Knowing they will test their skills on the mat will make them analyze their jiu-jitsu game to identify what they do best and “sharpen their sword”.  Conversely, they will also have to be honest about their weak points and drill specific positions to fix holes in their game.

For the student of bjj who is not interested in competition, goals are no less important. Some examples might be:

  • “This year I will practise my standup and takedowns at least once per week.”
  • “I want to get to get my purple belt and I need to improve my open guard! I will start my rolls from my open guard.”
  • I will drill 500 repetitions of the triangle this month!”

3) “Do I have a vision for myself and the desire to achieve it?”

A HUGE part of why people do NOT succeed in pursuit of their goals is that they lose touch with WHAT they want to do. You might call it will power, self discipline or motivation. One of my favourite quotes on motivation is very simple “Motivation is merely remembering what you REALLY want!”

Do you want to relax, have a few drinks and fried foods at the sports bar after work? Or do you REALLY want to earn a blue belt in bjj. When we are in touch with what is REALLY IMPORTANT to us, we can dictate our smaller actions throughout our days and weeks.

“My mind’s never gone very far away from what I wanted to accomplish.” – Dan Gable
What do you REALLY want?


4) “Do I understand what I need to do on a daily basis to achieve my goal?”

Many champions in different sports have expressed the idea that the fans see only the podium photos with the gold medal around their necks. What the fans don’t see if the countless small disciplines and sacrifices that they have to make every day to deserve the championship. The early morning runs, the denial of favorite foods to stay on bodyweight, training through injuries.

Many of us are familiar with someone at the bar who has a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other talking about how they “want to get in shape”. There is a vast chasm between their words and their actions.

One of the realities of life is that we have to work hard and apply that effort over a longer time to achieve those big goals.

One of my favourite quotes on bjj training comes from Master Carlos Gracie Jr.

“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.”


What are your jiu-jitsu training goals?

read also: 5 Obstacles to Overcome in Your BJJ Training

Credits: Mark Mullen 
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ