Daily Archives: July 21, 2014

BJJ and the Stages of Improving

Someone posted this…somewhere, on the internet and I think it’s an excellent way to describe how a person develops in jiu jitsu:





Also fun fact- apparently people frequently attribute this theory to Abraham Maslow (he was into the whole hierarchy thing, so I can totally see why) but these stages of learning were never mentioned in his major works, according to Wikipedia.

Anyway, let’s break this down to make it related to jiu jitsu. I imagine most of you know where I am going with this, because we’ve all experienced it: you start off at step one, making mistakes, unaware of what you are doing wrong, just that something is not going right. Sweeps and submissions just seem to appear out of thin air from your partner, and you are left wondering what the hell happened and where you went wrong.

Then comes that magical period of time, step two, where you know what you are doing wrong,  you just have no idea how to fix it. So you freeze, so you don’t continue to make those same mistakes, but you lack the knowledge to properly correct the problem. This is where I think a lot of people get frustrated the most frequently. You no longer live in blissful ignorance of your own missteps, but you haven’t figured out just yet how to do something about it.

Then there’s the grind, step three. You figure out how to fix the problem, but it takes effort to put it into effect. You have to remind yourself of proper placement, weight distribution, timing, things that eventually will come naturally, but only after tons and tons of drilling.

And if you keep with drilling, eventually you should reach stage four. What once you had to remind yourself to do has now become second nature: don’t have to think about where to place yourself or what to do. Hooray!…And now you are placed in a new position or presented with a new problem and you have to start the process all over again.

….Also hooray?

So if you are feeling discouraged with a position, a sweep you keep getting caught in, take a deep breath, go to class, ask questions, drill and remember this is all a part of the process of learning jiu jitsu and becoming more competent in the sport.


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