Do you journal your Jiu Jitsu?
Writing to yourself is low pressure, because you are the only one who has to understand it. Proper grammar is only necessary to convey information to others. Explaining Bjj to yourself can still take time and effort to get the hang of. In Taking Notes we briefly discussed a few options for systemizing right and left, or my vs. their. I try to find the most efficient way to document, then move on to other projects. Early on, I was guilty of being totally unable to read my own gibberish. Another consideration is taking the time to write out the entire date for each entry. The details matter, and every day counts. If you set a goal with a timeline, you will clearly know if you reached it on time. But what do you write about? That is as complex as asking what you need to work on. Here are a few things I like to track.
Try to document the day’s lesson.
Your instructor teaches certain things for a reason. You will remember the details better, and grow a better understanding of how to write about what happens in your rolls. Sometimes a lesson takes a while to sink in, and this gives a reference point as to how long it takes to make use of a new idea.
Try to remember your rolls.
This can take a while. For me, it was humbling to talk with my instructor after a roll. He remembers specific pieces of the battle like a tape recording. Identifying the threat, then explaining what he was thinking, then what he thought I was thinking, and his planned response. A good handle for beginning is to be honest with yourself about your feelings in each experience. This helps to proces details and also untangle the ego mess we all struggle with from time to time. You will grow a more balanced understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish in the lab, and exactly how it transfers to competition.
Set goals, and track them.
Start small. Even if you’re really good. Try to spot the moment something predictable happens, and put a little something in the way. Like “Joe always passes my guard” and plan to shrimp, counter grip a certain way, etc. Identify what happens before and after. Slowly, you will be documenting an entire exchange in detail. Then, you can accurately reproduce the exchange for further study against resisting opponents. Having specific goals will also streamline the tracking process. While you could document everything, picking relevant points will save you hours.
Look for concepts in action.
Concepts are simple when you see them at face value. I like looking for the heavy spot to manipulate a sweep. The heavy spot can be used as a pivot point, or to identity that other spots are not heavy. That’s a major concept that I apply to almost everything. In specific explanation, new supporting concepts come up. Recently, I’ve been exploring the significance of a limb grip vs. a non limb grip. An example of a non limb grip could be a lapel or belt grip. It offers a good control of the body,and is more likely to go undetected. But a non limb grip also uses resources that could be used to control a limb. The unchecked limb still poses a threat, or could be guided into a trap. Always look for the use of familiar concepts in new situations.
Keep yourself honest and consistent.
Some days, I’m beat. Just saying “I trained today” can speak volumes depending on what it means to you. Setting goals while tracking your training can take years. Every day will not be the perfect amount of carefully articulated progress. I’ve let off for months or even years, but creating a small minimum effort has allowed the on time to be extremely productive.