As a BJJ beginner, how long did it take before things "clicked?"

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by BJJGuy, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. BJJGuy

    BJJGuy Banned Banned

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    I've been training for about six months now and things seem more up & down than ever.

    One day I'll go to class and train and come out feeling like a million bucks, I'll do things successfully, catch on to what the instructor is going over for the day. have a lot of success using the techniques I've learned during rolling and have a clear picture of what I need to do to get better.

    Then I will literally go in the very next day, not be able to get down what the instructor is teaching, roll and get completely dominated in every aspect of the game and really have no idea what I need to focus on next to get better.

    I've heard guys say that one day things just kind of click and become clearer and Jiu Jitsu as a whole becomes easier to understand.

    I feel like I've made some strides and I'm definitely better than I was 6 months ago but at the same time I'm still completely lost more often than I'd like to be.
     
  2. Smokey McPot

    Smokey McPot Yellow Belt

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    it takes you about 2-3 years of constant training, 3 times a week, to really understand "when everything else clicks" BJJ
     
  3. pittfrog

    pittfrog Blue Belt

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    I'm not an expert, but I didn't have one epiphanic moment, rather I had a series of smaller realizations, and I continue to have them. It's never instantaneous, I find that I have my realizations after my subconscious and my muscles start recognizing things, and becoming proficient. Sort of in the middle of something I'll realize "huh, I don't suck at that anymore," mostly after a long period of emphasizing some particular technique or series.

    As for having up and down periods, in my experience, this is completely normal. It sounds to me like you're too focused on "winning" rolls, and not so focused on the learning. Give up your ego, let yourself get tapped or positionally dominated in class so you learn to defend and escape. There's no "winning" a roll in class, only learning.
     
  4. Vector_X

    Vector_X Brown Belt

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    I'd tend to agree with this especially if you haven't had any prior grappling experience.
     
  5. keynote

    keynote Purple Belt

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    I'm with this guy. We'll reach plateaus every so often, and as it was explained to me, those are the points where we're refining our techniques (The analogy was more like a dirty stone being polished, but same concept.)

    Every few months, I'll have those epiphanies. They're pretty good days!
     
  6. BJJGuy

    BJJGuy Banned Banned

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    I can see that. Even in my limited time I've had several little realizations of "so this is why we're told to always do this."

    As far as rolling goes, I'm not focused on winning or losing. I'm more concerned with being able to apply techniques I've learned from my instructor (whether recently or several months back) during rolling. Some days I have a lot of success at using techniques I want to sharpen and other days I'm getting too smothered to use them or they just get completely snuffed out.
     
  7. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    All these answers are good, I would emphasize that progress in anything is not linear...you are getting better every day even if you can't see it, and at some point all that learning will coalesce into a whole and you'll 'get it' at some level, and you'll be able to handle people who used to give you trouble and tap guys who used to be competitive with you.

    And then you'll roll with some purple belts and realize how little you know, go back to training, feel like you're accomplishing nothing, slowly accumulating more knowledge, and the one day you'll 'get it' again, be able to hang with the purples, tap the blues, and then...roll with brown and black belts, get schooled, realized how little you know, and go back to learning. Ad infinitum. That's how it goes, there is no upper limit, and there's no way of knowing how long it will take for everything to click for you.
     
  8. bnosam

    bnosam Green Belt

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    Different things click at different times the more you practise it. A lot of stuff clicked for me after watching Demian Maia's Science of Jiujitsu (his theory explanation of BJJ helped me click a lot)
     
  9. Bruce Calavera

    Bruce Calavera Purple Belt

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    Haha yeah I was going to say I'm at a year and a half and things are still clicking like a speed metal beat.
     
  10. HuFlungPu

    HuFlungPu Purple Belt

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    It seems cyclical - some days I tap out higher ranks then me, other days I get tapped out by beginner white belts. Sucks but I feel overall i'm improving and learning at the same time. Everyone has a different style and styles/weight/strength do make a difference. Those who say BJJ is purely technique is BSing. Yes, technique plays an integral part but the muscular f*uckers are 10x harder to tap out and maintain position on
     
  11. spelingmastir

    spelingmastir White Belt

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    Muscling has nothing to do with BJJ. Tapping someone doesn't necessarily mean you are better at BJJ. You are supposed to be able to beat a 5 year old girl without BJJ. You go to class to learn technique. If you think it's about muscling, just go lift weights. It's a lot easier.
     
  12. Fedorzilla

    Fedorzilla Brown Belt

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    it will click and you think you've made the breakthrough... then it will come crumbling down. You will have 1,000 of these moments...

    To quote the Grateful Dead...

    Well, the first days are the hardest days, don't you worry anymore. When life looks like Easy Street there is danger at your door
     
  13. ShowUsYaJits

    ShowUsYaJits Orange Belt

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    When I look back on this, it often has something to do with the quality of my opponents and/or the intensity with which they roll. This varies from class to class. If you roll with people you mostly school, then you are going to pull off some things. When you roll with people who are better than you, you are going to feel like you suck. You haven't changed; your opposition has. And sometimes you have bad days.

    I don't think you are going to have any single epiphany during BJJ. It's a journey that takes years. Pick up JJU for example; there is no way you can absorb that without hundreds of hours if not thousands of hours of study. And that's just an introduction, really. Any of the guards in there probably has as many or more techniques than you probably know in your 6 months of study (a lot more than the 2-6 or so given by Saulo). If you study any particular guard and master it, you will probably feel an epiphany, or realization. But that's just one small aspect that you may not even get to see in a roll with someone.

    Saulo's JJU was very useful and was/is a source of a lot of realizations. I remember spending weeks just exploring the all-fours and back survival positions with other people - to see how they worked and if they worked. It worked great - after I got good at it, even purples would get my back and spend 5 minutes or more to sub me. I'd roll to knees all the time, get positionally dominated but rarely subbed. That was a very cool realization. I don't like to give my back up, but now I know that if it happens, I'm not going to panic.

    And that's like 1% of the JJU book, which is probably 10% of BJJ as a whole, if that. So there are lots, and lots of realizations to have.

    But as to the first 6 months, my first feeling of progress was when I
    a) learned the positional hierarchy of BJJ
    b) learned at least one technique to work on during every major position.

    Note that it was probably an ugly, forced technique. But hey, it was something to do that didn't consist of stuff I made up on the spot that was going to gas me out.

    Knowing the positional hierarchy means that you have an overview of BJJ, at least as it is at the white/blue belt level. You won't have much of a clue watching the crazy guard play of a lighter weight Mundials match, but that's ok. If they were fighting you, they'd sweep you in 5 seconds and then you'd be under side control, knee ride, mount or back mount where you'd at least understand that you're getting your ass kicked.

    Another moment was when I asked an instructor how to escape from side control. He said that a key is not to live in denial. When you are losing a position, don't try and retain that, instead, get yourself where you'd like to be from the position you are going to. e.g. you might pass and get side control on me, but I'll make sure it's going to be a shitty side control. Instead of me lying flat on my back with you isolating an arm, I'll be lying on my side towards you with my knees up, elbows by my sides, starting to escape.

    Another moment was realizing that instead of trying to shorten the techniques to just the bits that were critical, I realized that difficult as it may seem, learn all the steps. Really learn and imprint them on your brain. It's those little things that turn techniques from 10% success rate to 95% success rate. If you can do a few things with 95% success rate, you'll own people. If you know a wide variety of things but only have enough expertise to succeed 10% of the time, you might enjoy watching the Mundials, but that's about it.

    Your instructor may teach techniques at a greater rate than you can learn. Don't be afraid to take your time and explore something that is troubling you about your game, at the expense of trying to remember other technqiues. If it's a situation you find yourself in again and again, learn what to do there. It makes sense that whatever situation you find yourself in most, improving that area will help your game more than anything else. Get help on it, google it, obsess on it. After a while, you will be a legitimate threat in that area.
     
  14. BJJGuy

    BJJGuy Banned Banned

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    Great post. And I appreciate your insight. I'm at work so I can't type out a proper response just yet but the last few sentences that I bolded from that last paragraph are what I really needed to hear. There are situations/positions that I find myself in often and I think I really do need to obsess on them. I guess it makes sense to work hard on the weakest part of your game.
     
  15. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

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    Well, that part never goes away.
     
  16. An end for

    An end for Purple Belt

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    I don't think everything will ever "click" to me, and I don't mean that in that retarded humble "I Would Let An Unarmed Assailant Violate My Girlfriend For I Am A Humble Martial Artist" way. I'm just starting, been training for a little over a year, and all of the clicks I've had were regarding very basic concepts, like the americana, sweeping, and recently, choking. I'm that bad, and a very clumsy slow learner, but those clicks were like a flash of light to me.
     
  17. kyred

    kyred White Belt

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    I'm not claiming that things have "clicked" for me at all in the roughly 1.5 months I've been back on the mat, but I found that my game became a lot more fluid when I took our asst. instructor's advice to just "open up" and "have fun with it". I used to be so concerned with winning every roll, either by position or submission, especially when our main instructor was watching, that rolling itself would get me nervous.

    I was watching our kids class a few days ago and found it awesome how much fun they were having. No one cared who won or lost, who was getting the positional advantage or what they could have done in whatever scenario. They were just going with the flow, and having fun.

    I've been trying this a lot in training. I work a lot of guard and play around with the idea of being an octopus, just wrapping myself around the top guy in whatever way so as to distract them from getting the pass. I work the taught techniques in, but if I don't have them, I just have fun and go with whatever. Sometimes I inadvertently discover something and mentally go "Hmm!" with a smile on my face. My game has opened up ever since and I find myself surviving a bit longer against those who'd usually steamroll my ass. :)
     
  18. johnkreese

    johnkreese Brown Belt

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    I'll let you know when they actually click, haha. I still suck and it's been over a year!
     
  19. boisefireman

    boisefireman Blue Belt

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    Three years
     
  20. bora y

    bora y Purple Belt

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    here's my advice to make things click faster, pick badass that trains at your gym(one of the more senior students, a purple or a brown). make sure this guy really whoops you when you roll, and ask him a ton of questions. i've seen this work for a bunch of ppl. ask them what they should focus on, how they should go about training it etc.

    for me, i didn't sub anyone for over a year. i only started subbing ppl and playing good posititionally when i started focusing on escapes... makes bjj more comfortable knowing you can escape.
     

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