BJJ plateau – how to get better at BJJ?

For an article about short-term BJJ slump check out this article.

So how do you get past a long-term plateau? This is one of the key concepts in Cal Newport’s book ‘So good they can’t ignore you’. It’s packed full of amazing content, but this principle is most applicable to BJJ.

So what’s the difference between good and great? How come people with the same amount of experience achieve vastly different results? 

According to Newport it’s all down to deliberate practice. Once you’ve learned most techniques and reached a decent level you will have to choose one of two options: showing up and doing what you’re told or taking matters into your own hands. The former is the default choice, but the latter is the path to greater development. 

Deliberate practice means constantly going beyond your comfort zone and expanding it as you teach new milestones. It requires honesty and readiness to accept and learn from feedback. It’s mentally tough, but highly rewarding. 

How do I get better at BJJ? 

Deliberate practice can mean a few things for BJJ. It could mean specialising and perfecting your game in one area. But for me it seems to be about concepts.

I’m very lucky to have someone with a ton of experience who I can ask for help. I ask for honest feedback and I get it. Even if it’s brutal. It can be soul crunching, but I know it’s on point, which somehow makes it easier to bear. This is how I know what to work on and if I’m actively applying it in training I get better. Not that it’s easy to do though :D

This feedback includes some remarks on technique, but mostly it’s concepts that apply to my whole game. Whether it’s active posting or learning to let go of failed passes, these principles have massive impact on everything I do in BJJ.

These are to master or even to apply in training, but it can’t be too easy right? Being uncomfortable is at the heart of deliberate practice.

Take the first step

So if you’re stuck on a long-term plateau that doesn’t just go away, go do your research or get some brutal feedback and take on the challenge. It’ll be worth it in the end. 

A word of warning from cal Newport though ‘deliberate practice is often the opposite of enjoyable’. So maybe only try this if you’re ready to have your ego shattered 😄

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