Feeling like you’ve suddenly become terrible at jiu jitsu overnight? Here are a few words of advice.
1. See it for what it is
You’ve got years of training under your belt, but suddenly your mind starts going blank when you’re rolling? You try to focus on the technique, but you still miss lots of important details when drilling it? Sparring feels much harder and every opponent seems much tougher than ever before? Do you feel groggy and get stuck in awkward positions because you can’t react on time?
The first thought that springs to mind is – damn, I’m suddenly shit at BJJ. You attempt to shake it off, but fail. After a few more classes, during which you’re feeling like a brand new white belt, you become seriously worried.
The most important thing is to see this situation for what it is. You’re in a slump. These last 5 years of training didn’t just go down the drain overnight.
Stop and think. Is work really tough at the moment or the hours really long? Are there any problems outside of BJJ that you are dealing with right now? Could you be physically exhausted or heavily overtrained?
There’s always a reason behind this, even if you can’t think about it straight away. My latest slump was caused by taking 3 months off due to an injury. I thought that drilling and weights would prepare me for a comeback and make it smooth. And these helped…but they are nowhere as intense as sparring, which left me feeling like I was terrible at jiu jitsu.
Recognising that you’re in a slump – even if you can’t find a simple reason behind it, is the first step to getting out of it. If you know you’re in a slump, then you don’t need to blame yourself for it. It’s just something that happens to everyone at some point and there is no way to avoid it. Most importantly – it’s temporary.
This lets you focus on looking for ways to work past it instead of beating yourself up over temporary bad performance.
2. Power through
If you can pinpoint the cause of your slump, you’ll be able to focus on improving that area a little more. But more often than not, the issue that it stems from can’t be addressed or easily fixed.
Regardless of whether your BJJ goals are big or small, everybody wants to get better at it. Keeping in mind that this is just another bump on the road to achieving your goal allows you to distance yourself from it and keep training even if the results are not adequate to your efforts.
Additionally, if you’ll keep turning up to class you’ll still get a good workout out of it, stay in touch with your teammates and strengthten your willpower. Once the slump period ends, and it always does, you will be able to say that it was nothing to you and you kept training through it. Alternatively, once you win a major tournament you’ll be able to brag about it as a part of your ‘path of a warrior’ or something like that 😀
3. Get inspiration
It can be hard to keep pushing through, if you have no idea when things are going to change. This is why it’s good to get an extra motivation boost.
Many motivational quotes, memes and accounts border on pathetic or simply are that. But there is also some valuable content, which can help you get that spark of motivation back. I have already included my favourite one at the end of this post, but there are many other great sources.
MendesBros, Mayssa Bastos, Lucas Lepri, Gezary Matuda and Tomer Alroy are just some of the accounts that I like to go to for a little motivation. None of these are fully dedicated to being ‘motivational’, which is great because when they are, it’s authentic.
Looking for accounts by people who are further down the line in their journey, and are either in your weight division or from a similar background is generally a good way to start. They will be more relevant to you than someone whose BJJ challenges are completely different from yours. Once you find your first favourite, they will usually lead you to more similar people.
What do you do to get out of a BJJ slump?