Coach's Corner - Thoughts, Tips, and Guidance for a Successful Jiu Jitsu Journey | #1

Coach's Corner - Thoughts, Tips, and Guidance for a Successful Jiu Jitsu Journey | #1

Welcome to the first installment on of the Coach's Corner. 

It's my intent to help folks negotiate some of the challenges and pitfalls of "The Journey". I don't claim to be an expert or a guru. I simply want to share the lessons I've learned from my experiences. I've trained in the martial arts since the age of 15, I'm a professional educator (Master's in Ed., 10 years of teaching high school, and 30 years of coaching martial arts), and I've run an academy in one capacity or another for approximately twenty years - those are my credentials. I hope to help, guide, and counsel those who have questions or issues ... to help people stay on the path of their journey longer.

I will begin with what I think are the most commonly asked questions when it comes to starting and staying on one's Jiu Jitsu Journey. I'll happily take questions from folks - if you have them, send them to and I'll do my best to answer them.

So, let's jump in. Topic #1: I'm new to Jiu Jitsu. What are the best ways to learn?

  1. Consistency is king.Commit to attending 2 - 3 classes per week. Build it into your schedule and commit to it. Think of this class as your "homeroom". Show up and fully engage in the process. Your Jiu Jitsu journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and enjoy the experience.
  2. Don't take yourself too seriously. Have fun and be playful.
  3. Ego is the enemy. Don't focus on winning or losing. Focus on learning, on understanding more each training session. Commit to the learning process. Failure is a part of the process. Failure doesn't mean your inadequate or weak, it means that you have the courage to be in your stretch zone and grown your capacity. Embrace the learning process. Tap early and tap often. Injuries will de-rail your learning process. 
  4. Ask questions. Be curious.
  5. Keep track of your Jiu Jitsu journey by keeping a journal - log techniques, challenges, goals, and your thoughts and feelings. It's a powerful learning tool and you'll be happy you have one as you get deeper into your game.
  6. Trust your coaches and the process. Our goal is to set you up for success and to see you flourish. Before jumping into the "what if" game, try to learn positions and movements fully.
  7. Strive to be brilliant at the basics. You have to learn to crawl before you can learn to walk ... and you must walk before you can run. Focus and the foundation movements and positions first. You never can be too good at the fundamentals.
  8. Try to add 1 or 2 drilling sessions (10 - 30 minutes) into your weekly schedule - this will give you an opportunity to practice the techniques you've learned and get more comfortable with the movements.
  9. Do some kind of fitness, movement, range of motion, body weight activity every day for twenty minutes - this will help you keep you healthy and prevent injury. Your body is your tool ... respect and take care of it. It's the only one you've got.
  10. Outside resources - find a good educational companion to your fundamentals curriculum at Five Rings. Recommendations: websites--> BJJ Library, MGinaction, Rogergracietv, etc.; books --> Jiu Jitsu University, Drill to Win, etc.

What are you doing to help your learning process? Give these a shot and let me know how you're doing.

Keep doing ... daily ... forever!

Coach Tom   ;-)

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