Progressing in BJJ: The Better You Are, the Longer it Takes

I was talking to one of our purple belts last night, who admitted to being a little frustrated: he mentioned that up until now there had been some peaks, and admittedly some valleys to his progression, but those lulls were always fairly short and after a couple of months he would progress again. This past lull however seems to be particularly long for him.

So I actually drew a parallel between jiu jitsu and playing video games for him. Sure, in the beginning you progress or “level up” at a relatively quick rate: you’re learning new (basic) skills all the time, and you feel quite accomplished with yourself. Once you start to get the basics down, more skills are built on top of that basic foundation, and may take a little longer to master….Or at least not be terrible at executing.

And this trend continues: you keep building your skills, and inevitably it will take longer and longer to notice progress. But rest assured, as long as you keep attending class, drilling and training, being open to new ideas, progress will eventually happen. Sure it can be frustrating at times, especially when you become accustomed to that initiate rate of success. But, as I mentioned to someone else last night, I highly recommend the Dory approach to jiu jitsu:

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….”

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Progressing in BJJ: The Better You Are, the Longer it Takes

  1. Paulina

    Katie, you are such an inspiration for me and I love your blog! I will keep the Dory method in mind, just keep swimming….So far i’m only whitebelt who started out this september, but I have been attending classes so religiously that my professor will call police if I don’t show up two times in a row hehe. The learning curve in bjj is crazy in the beginning just like everybody says and since december i’m no longer in the beginner group and rolling around with all the other belts which is great, but also means being shark food a lot. Reading your blog (and some others too of course) is helping me a lot to remind myself of that I may not be shark food my whole life and that feels comforting. This weeks around christmas classes has mostly been pure sparring round a 7 min during 90, warm up excluded, and even though it’s been fun it make me feel like i’m stuck on a level where almost every situation looks like this. Other person (90 % blue/purplebelt) jumps on their ass in a nanosec and bring out an evil guard which leaves me to try to pass their guard while not being submitted hehe. Since I’m really bad at passing (but hey, good at escaping at least) it’s an never ending struggle. I know practise is key and not even sure why i’m telling you all this but I guess I just want an online pat on the back who tells me things will get better. Will they?? Anyways, thanks for writing, I’ve been reading your blog in retropective from you being a bluebelt and I like your style. Have a great 2015 and congrats to your new belt! /Best regards from a swedish fan!

  2. Katie

    Hi there- thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂 In terms of progress I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that it doesn’t get easier. The good news however is that as you continue to attend class, drill, spar and compete, your skills will improve and you’ll get better. Thanks again and keep training!

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