How to progress in BJJ?

We are facing a period in time that is pretty special and complicated.

Different sports centres, academies or dojos, team sports and contact sports alike, are to this day closed or prohibited, and will be for weeks to come.

This imposes upon us to practice our martial art in different ways.

Our everyday sports are now modified, and we’re many asking the question: How do we progress in BJJ away from the tatamis?

If you’re ready to prove your creative worth, you can learn many things by ”staying inside” and doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ”AT HOME”.

1 – Participate in events which are held online, either live or pre-taped.

Not all aspects of your BJJ game are only physical.

You can obtain precious information by listening, learning from experienced instructors, which will by all accounts allow you to progress in BJJ in different ways: By listening.

These events will allow you to stay connected with the martials arts scene and continue to progress in BJJ in another manner, through knowledge and interchange.

Indeed, numerous themes and subjects are covered in podcasts, or through live events, which allow you to discover new information on your sports, new viewpoints, etc.

It’s up to you to make your choice based on what interests you at the moment: competitions, techniques, training, ect.

Here are a couple useful links:

2 – Watch instructional videos

First, check to see if your academy or school, and its trainers, propose any content, resources online, and equally any live events or even instructional videos.

If this isn’t the case, various online sites (well known or not) offer programs (and often at a low cost).

These videos will allow you to develop a detailed analysis on your subject at that moment:

I wish to develop my De La Riva guard, getting out of the mount, put an X-Guard into place, etc.

Equally, you can find similarities in your game.

The advantage of video support is mastery of visual learning, which will allow you to control and direct the tempo: replay for a better understanding of the details and placement, strategy and finality of technique, etc.

It’s an excellent method to progress in BJJ in a different way.

Rethink your strengths and weaknesses

Take the time to think about your strengths in each of these domains. Then think additionally on which subjects can be improved.

Which skills necessitate additional attention: should I place my foot here rather than here in a knee slice, could the Lapel Guard be introduced into my open guard game…? 

On which elements of my physical preparation could you concentrate on: aerobic or anaerobic, intervals, HIIT, drills, etc…?

Are there gaps in your mental game which could use development: could meditation help in my approach to the competition?

Identify the zones you can improve upon in order to adjust your training objectives.

Take these new objectives and start to remedy these points in need of improvement from home thanks to these videos.

It’s undeniable that it’s an excellent way to progress in BJJ.

Alternate between videos demonstrating technique and videos of fights.

We recommend alternating between videos demonstrating purely Jiu Jitsu technique and competitions with athletes you like or whose approach is interesting to you: this has as an objective of progressing your BJJ game by alternating moments of comprehension with moments of pure action.

Further, numerous videos available on YouTube are only available in English, yet you can integrate subtitles in your given language to better comprehend.

Here are a few useful links to videos which can help you progress in BJJ:

3 – Have a journal which details your progress in BJJ

Note what you felt and what you’re going to work on in the future.

Tracking your progress down in a journal can help you concentrate and to be fixed on future objectives which will bring you continual improvement.

Training with a goal or objective augments your confidence towards, and in, your discipline. Which will equally benefit other areas of your life.

BJJ Diary to progress in BJJ

Below is a link from Andre Borges (creator of the site BJJHEROES) who wrote a book in the form of a journal for all practitioners of Jiu Jitsu: BJJ Diary

Another excellent method you can use for progressing in BJJ.

4 – Take advantage of this time to rest your body

Rest is essential.

Did you know we spend as much as 30 % of our time sleeping?

It is thus more than necessary to recharge our batteries as much as possible. Take advantage of this period to heal small injuries and to make sure your body is well rested.

Just as much as any other factor can harm your training and your performances, the quality and quantity of your sleep can as well. Getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night helps your body prepare itself for the stress of training and of everyday life.

If you start to feel yourself get tired after training, verify your sleep habits and assure yourself to have enough sleep each night.

Progressing in BJJ can happen on and off the tatamis.

Incorporate small naps of 20 to 30 minutes into your daily routine.

More generally, a good night’s sleep, as much in terms of quantity as quality, can be prepared in advance for “you should program sleep into your daily routine like all other activities”.

In that respect, simple and efficient suggestions can be applied to your everyday life, like upholding a sleep routine, even on weekends, practicing a relaxing ritual before bed, practicing daily a physical activity or quitting alcohol, coffee and electronic devices before bed.

Here’s some helpful information from the website JiuJitsubrotherhood on the importance of sleep in the practice of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

An excellent application with routines of meditation can help you quick naps, preparing for competitions and rendezvous, etc.

5 – Mental Preparation

You can also seek out professionals who will know how to prepare you mentally.

Mental preparation allows you to efficiently manage the stress of competition or to boost self confidence.

It also allows you to present yourself on the tatamis, in the cage or on site with all your cards in hand and showcasing the most completed and optimal version of yourself, the objective of every competitor.

The mental ”prepper” unloads and aids in managing the mental interference of the athlete thanks to efficient cognitive exercises.

Strengthening and preparing one’s brain is a challenge of the same importance as preparing one’s body and refining one’s game plan.

6 – Mobility, Flexibility, Staying in shape

Even if you aren’t capable of accessing a tatami, this does not mean your physical training should meet its end.

Beyond online classes, you can equally continue training and progressing in BJJ by consecrating time to augment your flexibility, improving your mobility and maintaining your aerobic form (walking, running, biking, jump rope, WOD training and drills).

A fabulous site for combining yoga and Jiu Jitsu:

Even if you’re not able to train with your usual partners, or to keep up your normal routine, do not let this stop you.

Stay concentrated on those things you still can do.

Here are a few examples of drills, presented by Arnaud VICLIN, to do at home in order to progress in BJJ, mobility and fluidity.

7 – Focus on a healthier diet

During this period, good dietary choices turn out to be essential for maintaining your physical shape. 

Choose quality nutrients throughout your day.

Here are a few points to keep in mind for progressing in BJJ through your diet:

  • Step 1 : Proteins

Your muscles are the most important tool in any sport enthusiast’s arsenal. How to build them and maintain them will be crucial for any athlete.

Fish, egg whites, and poultry are excellent sources of protein.  Do not hesitate to change up your food with new forms of nourishment: chia seeds, soya, lentils, vegan proteins, etc.

  • Step 2 : Research food supplements

Supplements are very important in order to have a complete diet. As a matter of fact, our body is not always capable of producing them: notably vitamins and minerals.

Example, numerous studies have shown a lot of athletes are deficient in vitamins like vitamin D, as well as Calcium…

Do not hesitate to consult a specialist Purple Belt Kitchen for all supplement requirements in order to have optimal results.

  • Step 3 : Eliminate or diminish store-bought foods

Generally we are talking about cookies, pastries, donuts, sodas, chips, ect… All foods which are modified from their original state.

Indeed, their nutritional value diminishes with the transformation of the product and you lose all gustatory quality.

Focus on foods in their natural state.

  • Step 4 : Plan your meals

Make sure you watch what you eat and respect three meals per day, well proportioned, in order to not get that 11 o’clock or 5 o’clock need to snack. A good breakfast with a maximum amount of fruits is always a good option fir starting your day.

This requires discipline: The importance of eating well for your health and performance is a proven fact. This period in time is ideal, yet like on the tatamis, have confidence in yourself, try new things and always remember: you are what you eat.

  • Step 5 : The Gracie Diet

The famous Gracie Diet (the creators of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). Carlos Gracie, patriarch of the Gracie family, started researching early in his life to know how the digestion of foods in the human body worked and he created what we call commonly: The Gracie Diet.

Gracie Diet in order to ogress in bjj

A regiment based on the combination of foods which are compatible with each other. Essentially, there are six groups in which these foods are separated for our everyday life:

  • Group A : Vegetables and proteins: both of which mix among each other and with one member of group B.
  • Group B : Starches: rice, pasta, grains: which do not mix amongst each other.
  • Group C : Fruits (apples, melons, raisins, dates…) : which mix among each other and a member of group B.
  • Group D : Acidic fruits (oranges, peaches, pineapple…) which do not mix together or with any other group.
  • Group E : Bananas: which mix with certain fruits in group C and do not mix with members of the A or B group.
  • Group F : Dairy products: which mix with members of group B and not with members of Group A.
Gracie diet, the book to progress in BJJ

You can buy the book THE GRACIE DIET on the website Gracie Museum.

To finish, here are a few additional tips on the GRACIE DIET method:

  • Space out your meals every 4 and a half hours and do not eat anything in between.
  • Never eat dessert.
  • Never drink sodas.
  • Never mix more than one starch from Group B during a meal.

You are what you eat.

A link for further research on healthy eating:

It’s up to you to fill in your day to day life and keep progressing in BJJ.

We recommend after reading this  you read this article dedicated to the chokehold, an extensive, and interesting,  study about the risks you could incur.

When practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, whether high ranking, teacher or academy owner, we encourage you to read the recommendations of the IBJJF on best practices to put in  place to limit the circulation of COVID-19.

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