In an ever evolving sport like Jiu Jitsu we must constantly seek the best training, the best tips, and the best practices from the best instructors available to us.
We are fortunate to live in a world that gives us access to all of the best instructors on the planet through video instructionals either on DVD or digital download on any device you choose. Let that sink in for a minute.
Years ago, coming up in this sport if you wanted to learn from one of the best, you had to call them and get permission, and then pay to travel there and stay there while you trained. Can you imagine the sheer cost associated with that? The dedication it must have taken to make that happen is incredible. Today you can simply log in to BJJ Fanatics and purchase a video instructional from Tom DeBlass on Mindset (coming soon), or John Danaher on any of the many techniques he offers a “Enter the System” guide on, or maybe you are trying to get SWOLE like the king himself, Gordon Ryan, and want to know his diet and workout from his e-book and video “Getting Swole As A Grappler”.
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You can do all of this with a few clicks of the button and for hundreds less than the cost of a plane ticket, hotel room, and all of the other costs that go along with traveling. On top of the cost savings, you get to KEEP these videos to watch, pause, rewind, re-watch, AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. It’s insane! We are very fortunate to have access to such great instructors so easily.
Professor Bernardo Faria recently released a YouTube video on his channel “Bernardo Faria BJJ” titled “Tips for BJJ Brown Belt”. Can you think of a better place to get some tips about how you should be progressing through the ranks and what you should be focusing on at each level than a 5 time black belt world champion? Exactly. When the kings of our sport offer up advise, we are all quick to listen up. That being said let’s break down what he has to say about each rank, and what the focus should be.
Let’s start at the beginning. What exactly should you be doing as a white belt? According to Professor Faria, the very very basics. He mentions that you should only be focused on the fundamentals of Jiu Jitsu, nothing else. Let’s take that a step further and pull Professor John Danaher into this. As you may have heard him say, nearly everyone agrees that the fundamentals are important and should be the foundation of your game, there is a lot of discrepancy as to what the fundamentals actually are. He goes on to say that the fundamentals in Jiu Jitsu are not always techniques, but sometimes, more importantly than the technique is the movement required to execute the technique to perfection. When Professor Faria says to focus on the fundamentals, I think it’s safe to assume following the advice of Professor Danaher is safe. Much like Professor Danaher’s “Enter the System” series, you can find the first of what I assume will be many in the “BJJ Fundamentals: Pin Escapes and Turtle Escapes” here.
So, you’re a blue belt now. Well, before we get in to Professor Faria’s advice, let me share something with you that everyone in the Jiu Jistu community wants and needs for you to hear. DO NOT QUIT. This is where we lose everyone. Why? There are a few thoughts on this, but the reality is, you did not master anything in the time it took you to earn your blue belt. Quitting now would just mean you wasted all of the time and money you invested to build a foundation on which you could begin learning. Alright, now that we all have your commitment that you aren’t throwing in the towel, let’s see what Professor Faria has to say about what your focus should be as a blue belt. Spoiler alert, don’t get too excited.
Professor Faria says that as a blue belt, you should still be focusing on refining your fundamentals, but allow yourself to explore outside of the fundamentals “just a little bit” (these are his words, not mine, but he seems to know a thing or two about this so I’d recommend following the advice). I know it can be frustrating to feel like no progress is being made working the same movements, and the same techniques over and over again. The reality is, there is a ton of value in repetition. In fact, Professor Tom Deblass actually has an entire 4 part instructional on “Solo and Partner Grappling Drills”. This may be a good place to start “exploring”.
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Congratulations, you kept your promise to us and didn’t quit during your time as a blue belt, or maybe you did, but your back now and that’s all that matters. As a purple belt it’s time for the “you stuff” to quote Professor Faria. At this point in your Jiu Jitsu career you should have developed a foundation that is strong beyond measure. Now you get to reap the rewards of all of that time you spent building the foundation and start applying those movements to the new techniques you are learning, or the string of techniques you are putting together as you start to build your game. Luckily, you can click here to access the largest offering of Jiu Jitsu video instructionals anywhere. I’m certain you will find something here that tickles your fancy. Use this time to build. Build your game, but do it with a strategy in place. Whatever you choose to start working on to add into your game, be sure to learn it, understand it and drill it with the same intensity you put into learning the fundamentals as a white belt and a blue belt.
You have arrived at brown belt. Personally, this is the belt I’m most scared of. You can’t quit now, you’re basically there, but also…. You are almost there… Professor Faria recommends using your time as a brown belt to focus on finding the holes in your game and fixing them.
Figure out what your strengths are and continue to build on those, while identifying the areas of opportunity and working to fix the hole or replace the technique if that’s an option. Professor Faria kindly reminds us in this video that as a brown belt, you are extremely close to getting your black belt, at which point, if you compete, you will be facing the best in the world. Again he urges brown belts to use this time to find holes in your game and fix them.
Regardless of your rank, once you have been training for a period of time you need to also make it a priority to give back to Jiu Jitsu. If you have limited knowledge, that’s ok, giving back doesn’t always have to be about teaching. This could be as simple as welcoming the new guy, or making it a point to always check in with the newer students to make sure they are ok. Remember what it was like when you started training, the more friendly faces we have keeping tabs on the new students, the more likely we are to be able to retain them. Find a way to give back using whatever knowledge or skill set you have, as soon as possible in your Jiu Jitsu career, you wont regret it.
Well, there you have it. A complete breakdown of what your focus areas should be based on your rank form one of the best of the best, Professor Faria. No matter where you are rank wise, there is always something more to be learned, remember, this is a journey, not a destination. Take a minute to check out “Foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” by Bernardo Faria. This six part video instructional will surely be a great way to measure if you are as fundamentally sound as you think, or if there are some holes that need patched up along the way.
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