How Much should you train starting out BJJ
One of the most common questions im faced with from new BJJ & Grappling students is, “How often should I train?” Is 1-2-3 days per week enough??
Though the answer may seem simple, the correct answer can be one that makes the difference between the one who gets the most out of his training and the student who think more is better, usually resulting in them burning out
Ive been training Jiu-Jitsu for almost 20 years now so have seen many training partners come and go over the years. Being generally healthy ” with my only major injuries both coming from wrestling practice”, I know the damage Over training & no training smart can cause.
As of recently with he growth of the sportive side of BJJ we have also sadly seen the rise performance enhancing drug use among many of the young competitors looking for the edge on their competition. This is whole other conversation but in general my opinion is its the coaches/instructors responsibility to help guide students down the right path in life even if that means coming 2nd in the tournament medal podium so if you are in a martial arts academy full of steroid users you may want to think about what direction things are really going there and if you are on the same course.
Testosterone or not Pena is an amazing competitor getting better every time he steps on the mats, move for move very few at his weight class or near it can keep up with his offensive output
But later for that conversation , back to how much training is enough..
In terms of frequency first thing I consider is the student. Most of my students have real lives. They have spouses, children and school / careers. That the being the case it gets difficult to jump into any hobby more than a couple of times a week and not have it take its toll on these things.
As a general rule, I recommend to the average student walking in off the street to train two/3 times a week for the first three months.
In the course of my teaching, I have found that the majority of students- especially those who are unaccustomed to the martial arts- who start off with this frequency tend to get more out of their training and stay with it rather than going zero-100 miles per hour and neglecting everything else in their lives to live the BJJ lifestyle. <— click that link for amazing footage
The suggested 2-3 day per week frequency also gives you a chance to rest between sessions which is a big plus.
1 day on 1 day off give you the time to let things really sink in and at the same time rest the body. Grappling is one of the most intensive forms of training there is, even for a well-conditioned athlete. In allowing enough time for your body to recover, you will get in “rolling” shape quicker than if you “gut” through training every day
. When you are dead tired and going through the motions little to nothing stays in and people tend to get by on toughness and gritt vs technique and skill development. There is something to be said for hard work and dedication but knowing when to rest is just as important as working hard.
How far can you go only training 1x per week?? hmmm this one is easy as I lived it personally myself.
Another question I am asked is, “Can I train only once a week and still improve?” The answer to this is absolutely.
I Myself only trained 1x per week for the first 2 year of my practice training due to a lack of transportation and how far the academy was from my home (40km). I got by pretty well on 1 day a week training and a lot of self study.
Today with all the info available to its easy to think its easier than ever to get good quickly, but the flip side of that coin is with all the info available people face the infamous Information Overload and end up actually retaining very little.
Whether you are working from your own notebook, are watching videos on YouTube or studying nooks the process is the same. The key to self study is to
1-Prioritze what is is you are looking to learn and clearly identify of what use it will be to you. Once you clearly outline why its is important you will find focusing on its mastery gets a lot easier.
2- practice makes perfect really immerse yourself in what you are doing to master it. Drilling a move for 10 minutes in a section of the class is just the BARE introduction to the technique and not to be thought of as practice for someone just seeing the move for first time.
“Its is said in some power-lifting circles one becomes a expert of something after 10,000 repetitions… by that standard how much do we really have mastered as students?”
Showing or event repeating a position is a lot different than internalizing it and being able to pull it off on the fly under pressure where it really counts. There is no shortage of Youtube ninjas showing Tons of technique online via you-tube that they don’t really KNOW.
Sure you can duplicate it and explain it, maybe even do it vs some opponents but when you have a technique down well there is no mistaking the comfort level.
As I said in earlier blog posts. BJJ / Martial arts mastery is a marathon not a sprint ; taking short cuts and trying to force things to work always comes back on you in the long run.
Better to just take your time and enjoy the many benefits of this amazing art.