What's up guys! Long time no talk. We have some big things on the horizon so keep an eye on Cauliflower Ear Family!
We all want to to get better. If you have no interest in getting better then I guess Jiu Jitsu isn't really your thing but if you're on our site I'm going to make a bold assumption and say you probably want to get better.
The question is, how do we get better? Do you need to train with World Champions? Do you need to buy weekly private lessons? Do you need to train 14-21 times a week? No!
Don't get me wrong the more you train, the quality of training, and the quality of your training partners very well could improve your skill level in a shorter amount of time. Not all of us have the opportunities to train 3 times a day though. Not all of us can afford $50-$100 extra a week to get private lessons and not all of us live in an area that has an Atos amount of World Champions to push us.
As you all know I have 7 kids, I work full time in my 9-5 job, I have a wife that if I want a healthy marriage I need to spend time with (obviously that's what I want), and we're building multiple businesses at once. I can't pack up and move to Southern California to train with all the savages down there. I don't have the time to train 2-3 times a day, and I sure don't have the extra income to get all the private lesson I want. If you have seen how much our son eats then you would understand. I may just have to ask for a raise to afford these kids.
That Sounds Like A Lot Of Excuses
Yes it does! My point of bringing all that up isn't for a pity party. My point is if I can improve my skill level then you sure can too. It will be a lot slower than if you were able to do all those things but you will progress! How fast is based solely on you.
Improve No Matter What The Skill Level Of Your Training Partners Is
Something I've realized since starting our own school is you will have a lot of beginners come through your doors in the beginning. This is the best time to try out new things. You're not going to get better trying to Worm Guard against black belts. They will shut that sh** down solely because you have no idea what you're doing yet when you're trying new things and they have a good understanding on how to shut everything you're doing down. I guess you could try it on them but don't get discouraged if it doesn't work for awhile.
Whenever I'm trying something new I target the white belts. Not because they aren't people yet (calm down..I'm only joking) but they don't quite have the timing or knowledge to completely shut you down. You won't have a 100% success rate just because they're lower ranked but you will be able to work out the kinks.
For example say you're working Omoplatas. You target the lower ranked students and they roll out. Gather that information and next time they try to escape by rolling out, figure out a good grip to stop it. If that grip fails, find a different one. Now you've shut down that escape but they do something different. Now you figure out a way to shut down that escape. Whenever you're trying something new, you are gathering information. You are split testing submissions and positions. Once you have that information now you can move to higher ranks. The higher ranks will probably have a bunch of different information for you to gather but since you started with the lower ranks, now you can see what the common reactions are going to be. Before you know it you've have progressed.
Something I should probably note though is there are flashy moves that may work on white belts but no matter how hard you try it will never work on someone that has been training for awhile. As much as I want the Puppet Master to work I can't get it to work on anyone above blue belt. That is one move I can't let go but I don't know that it will ever work at a high level. So don't be mad that you have to scrap your research. It happens.
We have a few different open mats in our area. Some cost money and others are free. The specific one we go to is free and we get a bunch of different looks at different styles and different body types. This is perfect for us. If it costs money just make sure you are getting what you're looking for.
Also I highly recommend talking to your instructor before cross training. I have ZERO issue with my students doing it but there are enough instructors out there that have a problem with it.
Open mats are where I can use the information I've gathered in training and see if it works on people that don't know it's coming. I see a lot of progress when I can work out with people that I don't train with on a day to day basis.
Private Lessons and Seminars
I highly recommend private lessons. Whether they're in your budget or not will all depend on you and your budget. If you can make it work though do it! Getting a private lesson when you're travelling is a great idea because you can get some knowledge that might be lacking in your home area. You don't have to necessarily only do it when you travel though. Getting a private lesson with your own instructor is a great opportunity to get some one on one time with the person responsible for your growth. You don't need one weekly (unless you can afford it) but try to make it something you do semi regularly, even if it's once every 6 months.
Oregon hosts a bunch of seminars throughout the year. We've had guys like Caio Terra, The Mendes Bros, JT Torres, and Eddie Bravo come through (just to name a few). Seminars are really cool if you can make it to one. Not only do you learn a ton but a lot of time you have the opportunity to roll with some greats.
Wait, whaaaat? Yeah just keep training. There's not much I can say about this but if you stop training you won't improve. It's as simple as that. Had a bad day? Train. Had a good day? Train. If you're injured...maybe don't train BUT refer to the next section.
If you can't train due to injury or other obligations (kids, work etc) have gotten in the way, there are a plethora of DVDs you can purchase. Keep learning and you'll keep growing. If DVDs aren't in your budget then YouTube has a boat load of matches online you can learn from. Shout out to BJJ Scout and his breakdown videos. I love watching what he puts out. If you can't train due to injury, you can always attend class and take notes.
I have found a sizable growth in my game when I take notes after class or during seminars. I take note on what techniques I learned, whether I think I'll use it or not, how my rolls went and who I rolled with, and how I think I can improve. For example if I got hit with a sweep over and over, I'll make note of it and when I review my notes I research how I can stop it. The data is super important.
These are just a few suggestions on how to get better. I'm a bigger believer in "if there's a will, there's a way". If you want to get better you can/will make it happen. I love to watch my students grow and if they feel like they need to do that with different methods, then I am completely on board with their methods.
Hope to see y'all on the mats!
Cauliflower Ear Family
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