Am I Training Too Hard?

If you’re asking this, it’s probably because someone asked you to calm down. This question highlights both a common complaint about new people, and the reluctance of other new people to come in at all. I’m reluctant to tell people to calm down, because we need to know that what we are doing works against the largest number of approaches possible. Size, strength, and athletic ability are undeniable realities that we all have to deal with. If you’re big and strong, be big and strong. If you’re small and fast, be small and fast. We need this to make certain that our technique works. But first, make sure you are using your gifts appropriately.

Measure your efforts. Most things you do should not be at 100% Once you’ve spent all of your energy; you lose reaction time, focus, awareness, and strength. In a tournament, you could have several more matches to win. If you’re in this for self defense, you definitely don’t want to find yourself out of gas.

Preserve your training partners. If you’re dropping hard on your smaller friend every time you pass guard, he won’t want to train with you. Are you kneeing everyone in the head? You should probably slow down and place your limbs more deliberately. Generally speaking, you want to drill smooth and try to roll that way too. Every gym should have at least a couple guys who train hard, but only if they can do so without causing injury. Part of what makes Bjj unique is that we have unlimited tries at getting better. Make sure you’re allowing everyone those repetitions.

Make deliberate decisions. Understand exactly where you are, and what you’re trying to do. Don’t train hard and fast because you “have to” that mentality always leads to injury. Hopefully, we all learn that early. I will throw you into the mix on day one for your own benefit. Everyone must know that Bjj works against people who are not trained. Also, our moderately experienced people need the lesson about human instinct when we put you into our planned situations. After experiencing the natural failure that comes with lack of planning, you should be motivated to learn something. Don’t leave for three months and come back bigger and stronger. You would not be the first person to waste a tremendous amount of your own time mistaking technical failure for athletic failure. Learn the positions, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Learn the concept behind the technique you are trying. Nothing we do should work solely because you are using strength. A good pressure pass should work because you took the space with good timing. Your hand positioning should be an example of good leverage. You will be able to finish because you are minding your weight distribution. Use the correct amount of strength in addition to but not instead of these concepts.

Accept when someone politely declines a roll. Nobody has to roll with anyone, or give a reason why not. If nobody wants to roll with you, it’s probably not because you’re good. It might be time to ask what you need to change about your approach.