Friday, August 25, 2006

Some Key Points About BJJ Training Sessions

BJJ classes follow a formula: a warm-up that includes some aerobics and specific drills; then mastering one or two movements; next, a positional sparring session; followed by a free sparring session; finally, a cool-down.

The warm-up, drills and cool-down you can do by yourself, but to master a movement and spar you need a partner. Practicing BJJ is a social activity!

Mastering a particular movement is really important in increasing your skill level. During this phase, you and your partner need to forget about competing with each other and create a cooperative atmosphere. I like to say to my students, “Help each other to build confidence in mastering this movement.” If you stay tense like a rock and don’t let your partner master the movement, you will break his confidence and leave him frustrated. On the other hand, if you stay too relaxed (like a spoiled banana) you will mislead him and he won’t master the real movement. The best way to describe the right balance is ‘passive resistance’.

When a baby is learning to walk, nobody pushes and pulls the baby to test his balance. Everybody gives a hand to the baby to help him gain confidence and increase his balance with time. When your partner is mastering a new technique
he is like a baby learning walk; he needs a hand. Everybody needs cooperation, not competition, when mastering a movement.

I am a BJJ addict. I cannot live without it. But some training environments are better than others. Whenever you are sparring you must aim to stay tranquil and think about what you will do in each situation. The most common mistake for a newbie is to become mad or over-aggressive during sparring. If this happens it will not help you and will infect the atmosphere around you. A place where a guy after tapping to a good attack laughs, and says: “Hey that was sweet!” Making his opponent laugh too, is 1000 times better than a place where mad aggressive people are training.

As soon as possible start to spar without worrying about the time limit. Don’t become a chronometer slave. Spar with a relaxed body for as long as you can. Enjoy it. If you feel tired just say to your partner, “That is enough for me for now.” Spar in comfortable situations where you can be safe. If your opponent is in a superior position like on your back or mounted almost submitting you, and you don’t have any energy to escape, don’t ask about remaining time! Just tap! Being a clock slave is bad behavior. It is against the essence of BJJ. SURPASS ADVERSITIES!

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