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Jiu Jitsu - Setting Goals

I’m the type of person who likes to be able to have a clear picture of where my actions are going to take me. Having goals awakens my determination to a higher level and I work harder to reach them. It’s part of why I love lifting weights - set a goal to lift a certain amount of weight on day X, got that, more weight on day X2, etc.

My problem with Brazillian Jiu Jitsu is that I can’t come up with clearly defined goals for me to seek in training. I have no problem training and trying to get better, -I love it-but when it comes to goals, I’m lost. Can anyone give me some advice? Thanks.

Well obviously there is the built-in goal of achieving higher belt levels. Where are you at right now?

Also check for submission tournaments. Pick one many months in the future, and train your ass for it. Make sure you register early so you can’t back out and you have to make it a priority if you don’t want to suffer embarassment.

Are you a black belt who has won a world championship. If so, I understand (and envy!) your frustration. If not, then those sound like some goals to me…

[quote]carter12 wrote:
My problem with Brazillian Jiu Jitsu is that I can’t come up with clearly defined goals for me to seek in training. I have no problem training and trying to get better, -I love it-but when it comes to goals, I’m lost. Can anyone give me some advice? Thanks.[/quote]

[quote]carter12 wrote:
I’m the type of person who likes to be able to have a clear picture of where my actions are going to take me. Having goals awakens my determination to a higher level and I work harder to reach them. It’s part of why I love lifting weights - set a goal to lift a certain amount of weight on day X, got that, more weight on day X2, etc.

My problem with Brazillian Jiu Jitsu is that I can’t come up with clearly defined goals for me to seek in training. I have no problem training and trying to get better, -I love it-but when it comes to goals, I’m lost. Can anyone give me some advice? Thanks.[/quote]

This can be difficult because so much of BJJ performance depends on your opponent’s game and his level relative to yours. However, I can tell you one goal NOT to have. Don’t make your goal, “Today, I’m NOT TAPPIN”. Unless you have been at it for a while and you have a competition coming that’s not usually a good goal.

Some easy goals are. ‘I’m going to keep people in my guard for as long as possible, but not stalling, looking to sweep/stand/submit.’

Since it’s relative I’ll give you another example. I was noticing several guys giving me trouble with their spider guards. So, I ask the black belt 1 or 2 techniques to keep my balance and break grips and then work those. Soon I was passing all spider guards but his…hahaha.

Maybe, you’re having trouble executing a specific move, or you’re always getting passed the same way. Note how you’re getting passed or where your losing a position and find the key points and counters.

Most important, your goal should be to learn. So every night you don’t have to ask for special help from students or the teacher, though I advise you to do that when it’s feasible, instead just notice how they beat you. Not how they tapped you, but how did they counter your sweep? Or even earlier how did they grab you when they started to pass your gaurd?

Missing a submission, getting submitted, or missing a sweep, or getting swept, is not the result of the ‘technique’ itself but the result of timing and a cascade of events that often can be thwarted just by addressing their control, which is often times their grips. Learn some grip breaks and some good ways to grip. Learn controlling someone at every step. Training passing forces you to do that. You must address their grips, control the legs then hips then upper body.

That said, I ask people who are beating me comfortably to give me a tip. Or I ask the black belt, I just ask for one or two a night so I don’t get annoying to anyone, and you can’t learn that much anyway.
I never ask to learn any full on ‘techniques’ outside of regular class, look for tips on things you already know, set-ups, and ways to thwart or get control EARLIER in the game by simply noticing the key movements/controls your opponent must have to make his game/moves work.

Focus on positional control from top, guard recovery from bottom and grips and the taps will start to come.

transitioning position, guard passes, sweeps, submission defense, maintaining guard, submissions from sidemount, submissions from guard, submissions from mount…all areas you can set goals in. Drill the technique until you are good at it. IMHO, position transitions, guard passes, and a good guard are most important for the beginner.

[quote]Donut62 wrote:
Well obviously there is the built-in goal of achieving higher belt levels. Where are you at right now?

Also check for submission tournaments. Pick one many months in the future, and train your ass for it. Make sure you register early so you can’t back out and you have to make it a priority if you don’t want to suffer embarassment.[/quote]

I agree. Compete! Get in there and do it. It’s what compels you to keep training hard. Also you can make goals to start submitting people with whom you train, challenging better opponents, etc.

If you’ve developed regular training partners and have noticed certain patterns when you roll with them, make your goals revolve around breaking those patterns.

e.g. One of my regular training partners had wrestled in college and was a D-III national champ at heavyweight. He was one of the only people I never managed to get top position against. I always ended up on my back. So, my long term goal was to not end up on my back, and my short term goal was to improve my offensive options when I was on my back.

My guard improved dramatically thanks to that guy. So did my wrestling, although in the end he still eventually took me down every time.

Hey Carter,
I didn’t realize it was you that’s a new avatar.
So to talk even more, I was having trouble with spider guards, I learned to pass them. No one even tries it one me lately, so they use butterfly or I can almost always pass to half guard top.

Now, I can pass half guard top on most people with just the basic cross face and underhook, but one guy is so good at getting on his side and getting good half gaurd bottom positions. So I learned how to deal with his underhook and work reverse scarf passes.

Then with all this passing I worked to get better control with side control and I got it. Now, all this time I ignored many other aspects of the game, namely submission and the mount position. Now my issue is I get side control and people’s only escape is the turtle, and that can be tough to attack so that’s where I am now.

I suck at attacking the turtle and need to get better at it. But the key concept in all that was:
Notice how and WHEN the cascade that leads you into a bad position starts.
Find out how to address the position at stage ONE first, then learn some counters to the move/position as it’s progressing. So, don’t learn an armbar escape cause you got caught in the arm bar, learn a few basic concepts to recognize and address his attack earlier, then you can learn the escape and you’ll be that much tougher to arm bar.

Thanks a lot guys, very good advice here.

  1. X number of hours on the mat per week.
  2. Workout in a different club once a month.
  3. Compete once a quarter.
  4. Try to spend as much time on the mat with people better than you as possible.
    Good luck. This martial art thing is awesome fun.

you know, as the guy above me said, it really is a good idea to roll with some guys from a different academy if you can every once in awhile. Some academies may have different styles and it will expose you to some new challenges. I didn’t even think about it, but every couple of weeks or so we do train with a different group of guys and it is beneficial for both sides

At a training seminar with Saulo Ribeiro he said his brother and he would set goals like “how long can we train (roll) without stopping?” Since most whitebelt matches are about 6 minutes then try rolling for 10 minutes without stopping. If one guy taps then release the hold/submission and continue from the position your in. When you get to 30 minutes without stopping then count how many times you tap in that 30 mintues.

So say you tapped 5 times the last time you had a “marathon” training session, next time you train like this try to only tap 4 times (do this by improving your technique and not getting caught in a bad position, not by toughing it out and getting a broken arm or passing out.) Saulo said that he a Xande (his brother) had gone as long as 90 minutes without stopping. Now I did not witness this in person but if anyone can roll for 90 minutes without stopping I’d bet on the 6 time world champion.

I’m only a bluestripe who’s trained for just 14 months so I’m no expert but it seemed like a good goal to set for Jiu-Jitsu training, especially if you want to compete on the tournament circuit.

I saw some really good suggestions from the guys above as well so have fun. NOW GO TRAIN JIU-JITSU!

Just set little goals when you roll. If your half guard needs improvement, let people pass and fight from there for example, as well as watching and talking to guys you roll with who are good at it.

I like Marcello Garcia’s approach. He is always relaxed and puts himself in bad positions constantly and let’s people escape from subs and positions just to see their reactions and to become familiar with them.

[quote]carter12 wrote:
I’m the type of person who likes to be able to have a clear picture of where my actions are going to take me. Having goals awakens my determination to a higher level and I work harder to reach them. It’s part of why I love lifting weights - set a goal to lift a certain amount of weight on day X, got that, more weight on day X2, etc.

My problem with Brazillian Jiu Jitsu is that I can’t come up with clearly defined goals for me to seek in training. I have no problem training and trying to get better, -I love it-but when it comes to goals, I’m lost. Can anyone give me some advice? Thanks.[/quote]

Carter,
I’ll add my two cents if you don’t mind. First off, I have no idea what your current level is, so excuse me if some of this seems basic.

Like some on here have said, if conditioning is your goal, try to go longer, or more intensely, for a set period.

Another thing for goal setting you might try is to pick one move or one position, and train it for an entire session or week. I.e., you need to improve, or better understand, the standard arm bar.

So, for every match that week, you do not submit anyone using anything except the armbar. Make it your sole survival and you will get to know it inside and out. The dynamics of it will be different, do it slowly and you can learn to feel it even more than you do now, you’ll possibly learn new positions/ways to apply it, and who knows what else.

I find this to be a great way to re-familiarize myself with old techniques and master new ones. It also helps with understanding them at a higher level.

If you want to improve upon escapes, solely play defense, and never submit someone. Just keep playing defense, and if you wind up in a dominant position, fall out of it and let them regain the upper hand.

Not too long ago, I found I was weaker up top than on my back, so I always sought to achieve the mount, no matter what. I did not allow myself to be on my back, unless I was forced there. I wouldn’t submit anyone from my guard , either- it wasn’t about winning, it was about learning.

A month later, only two guys could keep me from being on top and they had a lot more experience than me.

Maybe you cold work on solely controlling someone. Don’t submit them, and never get defensive. Just get the dominant position and let them keep working to get ot of it, but don’t let them succeed. No submissions, just control.

Another thing you might try is learning the “feel”. No kidding, try rolling with a blindfold or something. It becomes a completely different game when you can’t see, and it takes you to another level. Seriously. I grew leaps and bounds with this.

You might also set the goal of beating someone in “x” amount of time. Once that time has passed, you restart. Try winning in 60secs or less. Maybe 3mins for a higher level opponent.

I don’t know if any of that helps. But just some thoughts.

Good luck,
-B

[quote]blondeguy wrote:
Carter,
I’ll add my two cents if you don’t mind. First off, I have no idea what your current level is, so excuse me if some of this seems basic.

Like some on here have said, if conditioning is your goal, try to go longer, or more intensely, for a set period.

Another thing for goal setting you might try is to pick one move or one position, and train it for an entire session or week. I.e., you need to improve, or better understand, the standard arm bar.

So, for every match that week, you do not submit anyone using anything except the armbar. Make it your sole survival and you will get to know it inside and out. The dynamics of it will be different, do it slowly and you can learn to feel it even more than you do now, you’ll possibly learn new positions/ways to apply it, and who knows what else.

I find this to be a great way to re-familiarize myself with old techniques and master new ones. It also helps with understanding them at a higher level.

If you want to improve upon escapes, solely play defense, and never submit someone. Just keep playing defense, and if you wind up in a dominant position, fall out of it and let them regain the upper hand.

Not too long ago, I found I was weaker up top than on my back, so I always sought to achieve the mount, no matter what. I did not allow myself to be on my back, unless I was forced there. I wouldn’t submit anyone from my guard , either- it wasn’t about winning, it was about learning.

A month later, only two guys could keep me from being on top and they had a lot more experience than me.

Maybe you cold work on solely controlling someone. Don’t submit them, and never get defensive. Just get the dominant position and let them keep working to get ot of it, but don’t let them succeed. No submissions, just control.

Another thing you might try is learning the “feel”. No kidding, try rolling with a blindfold or something. It becomes a completely different game when you can’t see, and it takes you to another level. Seriously. I grew leaps and bounds with this.

You might also set the goal of beating someone in “x” amount of time. Once that time has passed, you restart. Try winning in 60secs or less. Maybe 3mins for a higher level opponent.

I don’t know if any of that helps. But just some thoughts.

Good luck,
-B
[/quote]

As usual, you offer the best advice around.

I do what you suggest: Before each class I work on one aspect of the game. Some classes I do nothing but try avoiding submissions. Other times I work on only landing one submission. My guard passes are pitiful, so lately I’ve been focusing on nothing other than passing guard. If I get submitted more because I’m one-dimensional during the session, so what?

Too many guys treat every sparring match as if it’s a tournament. Each class is just that - a class. It should be a time to learn and improve, not tap as many people out as possible.

I feel ya!

At first, I did BJJ because fights (wether I started them or not)were such a regular occurance for me. To have such a better fighting ability over pretty much everyone else in highschool was a pretty cool thing to have.

After HS, things changed quickly…I floated around the idea of competing in MMA for a few years, but decided against it. There was no more basement spar matches, no more backyard fights, no more after school brawls outside the back hockey arena…

Now, I just train for fun…and I actually am enjoying JJ for the first time, honestly, in my life.

The belt thing is a good idea. Im itching to get in front of maybe one of the Machado brothers and test for my purple belt…

Competing is alot of fun actually.

[quote]jamej wrote:

  1. X number of hours on the mat per week.
  2. Workout in a different club once a month.
  3. Compete once a quarter.
  4. Try to spend as much time on the mat with people better than you as possible.
    Good luck. This martial art thing is awesome fun.[/quote]

Best simplified advice I have heard yet. Loren Christansen had specified this in one of his books too.

Good thread guys.

Thank you.