Here is a list of 25 reasons why you don’t progress as fast as you can. I believe everyone will find his self in one of these reasons but we should try to avoid them as much as possible if we want to progress as fast as we can.
1. You worry too much about tapping. When you’re in BJJ class you’re actually training and not competing so it doesn’t matter how many times you tapped if you learned something every time from it. So don’t just tap, take a moment and think about it.
2. You think you don’t need to learn anything new. It’s a common mistake of people training for a year or so. They just think they know enough for their time. No, you don’t, there is always something missing in a puzzle. There is always some detail and there are always new techniques waiting for you.
3. You don’t know what “good base” means. In every single position learn where is your “body center”, where your center should be. Think about your base in every position that you find yourself in as this will help you avoid many sweeps and bad situations.
4. You focus too much on defense. If you focus too much on defense you are losing time. Escapes from submissions and positions are very low percentage so don’t lose too much time on it. You better spend your time learning how to avoid getting into trouble. For example, it’s like thinking about “two arms in, two arms out” when you don’t want to get into triangle.
5. You focus too much on submissions and not on position. Being in good position will get you submission. But failed submission most of the times lead to bad position. Especially when you know too many submissions and you can’t get in position to do them. For example. If you’re capable enough of passing your opponent’s guard and dominate him all the time you will be able to submit him a lot of times, you’ll see, but if you can’t pass guard and you know 20 submissions from side control… you get it!
6. You’re not asking enough questions. First, you don’t ask your instructor any questions and second you don’t ask yourself any questions. Instructors loves students asking questions. And you should ask yourself a lot of questions after every sparring, every position, every tap…
7. You tap too early or too late. Tapping too early will bring you to a point that you will never learn any escape and tapping too late will get you to the hospital and you won’t progress for sure.
8. You’re avoiding tough sparrings. There will always be heavy guy, strong guy or any type of guy that is causing you a lot of problems. Learn to deal with anyone. Avoiding those guys will get you to a point that you have no idea how to deal with different types of people and that is very bad for your progress. You should leave your comfort zone as much as possible.
9. You don’t keep a notebook. If you can write down techniques that will help you really think about techniques and get deep into them as they are hard to be written.
10. You don’t focus on physical conditioning, strength and healthy lifestyle enough. You may know as many techniques as you want, but if you’re out of condition you’re out in your head and when you’re out in your head nothing can help you beat someone no matter how good you are. Especially in competition. So focus on condition, strength and live a healthy life.
11. You don’t compete. There is no perfect time to compete and you are never ready. You will always miss something. So that means your opponents are also not ready. So, go for it as people who compete, they usually progress much faster.
12. You’re always rolling too hard, you’re not focused on technique and you don’t care about hurting your training partners. If you always roll too hard you will lose every partner to roll with. The only people that will want to roll with you will be guys who will want to teach you a lesson. The problem is also that guys usually don’t understand that they’re rolling too hard so if few people tells you that you roll hard it’s 99.9% of the times true! Also, this is very important for progress because if you roll hard you’re not that focused on technique, you’re just focused on submitting your training partners and that’s exactly the opposite of fast progress. You don’t wanna be that guy as people will think of you as a douche bag.
13. You don’t focus on learning something every class. Be sure that every single class you learn something new. Some technique, some detail, anything… Either from your instructor or sparring partner or from sparring in general. It doesn’t matter, just learn something. If you learn some detail every single class in one year that roughly around 150 detail and 150 details really makes a HUGE difference.
14. You don’t focus enough on fundamentals. I’ve seen a lot of guys that just came to train and they want to do leglocks, imanari rolls, berimbolo and all the fancy stuff, etc. The most stupid thing i can hear from people is “i want to win my tournament match like that because it’s an attractive move”. I never saw those guys winning yet and what I can also see is that they’re not progressing as fast as they can.
15. You want it all and you want it now. This means you want to learn as much techniques as you can in a short amount of time, but that also means that you can’t do all those techniques. Saulo Ribeiro once said that he could teach someone all the Jiu-Jitsu he know in a few months but that the person wouldn’t be able to do most of it.
16. You don’t focus on takedowns. This will cost you sooner or later and especially in competition. This can be a problem with schools and Instructors who don’t teach takedowns, but then cross train wrestling or Judo.
17. You think you’re “stupid” and you can’t learn some technique or concept. Yes, you can! It’s not that much of a problem if your instructor is teaching rubber guard and you know you can’t do it because you’re not flexible enough. But it’s a problem if you think that you can’t learn how to be on the bottom. That also makes you look stupid if you say that to someone.
18. You don’t drill enough. Drill in your class and find some partner to drill outside of the class. I feel sorry for people not drilling techniques and waiting for sparring. No matter if you’re the most talented guy on earth you’ll stay exactly where you are. You’ll have good roll, maybe you will beat your sparring partners with your talent on your level, but in a long run you will just be a good lower belt.
19. You use your best stuff on people that are much worse than you. When you work with guys much worse than you use that time to try something new, to focus on your weaknesses. Get yourself in bad positions, try yourself in situations that you have problems with against better people.
20. You worry too much about belts. You better worry about your skill development and belts will come with it. Also, your instructor will think that you’re funny or douche, but that won’t help you get the belt most of the time.
21. You don’t focus on grips. For example! If you always let someone control your both legs while you’re playing guard, trust me, he will pass it. You have to focus on grips and breaking grips both offensive and defensive ones.
22. You come to class to lose time. It’s ok if you just want to come and chat, but don’t expect that will bring your skill higher fast enough. Also, don’t waste someone else’s time just because you feel like chatting. People usually come to class to learn something.
23. You keep your elbows far away from you. Keep your friends close and your elbows closer. This will get you out of a lot of trouble.
24. You don’t study outside of the class. Yes, you should study outside of the class. There is always some detail that you will miss, or some technique that you need. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have so many techniques and so many details that there is no instructor who knows everything even if he’s a red belt. It doesn’t mean you should confront your instructor in front of the class if you found something that he’s doing “wrong” or you think that he’s doing wrong. A lot of times you can notice your instructor is doing something on different way than you saw on youtube. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It most of the times means that your instructor is doing the same technique on different way. But you can talk to your instructor about details and share opinion with him. Although I recommend for most of the time that you listen to your instructor as he’s the one working with you live.
25. Train consistently. Being consistent is one of the most important things when you’re starting with BJJ. As a complex sport as BJJ is missing some fundamental things can bring you to a point that you miss them for the rest of your life. And you don’t want that!