Cum sociis Theme natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturie montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Curabitur ullamcorper id ultricies nisi.

1-677-124-44227 184 Main Collins Street, West Victoria 8007 Mon - Sat 8.00 - 18.00, Sunday CLOSED
Follow Us
Image Alt

5 Ways to Maximize Your First Year of BJJ

5 Ways to Maximize Your First Year of BJJ

The first year of BJJ training is often an exciting time. You’ll make new friends, have constant revelations, and experience anticipation for class regularly. While no one’s BJJ journey is exactly the same, there are some specific things within the first year of training that can be done to maximize this beginning stage and build a foundation for how the rest of your journey will develop. 


Making smart decisions and developing a healthy mindset early on will allow for the growth of your technique, style, and endurance. It will also decrease the likelihood of an injury and lesson the length of your plateaus in training.


This is by no means a comprehensive list, there are plenty of opportunities to develop in your first (or next) year that are not listed here. Further, some of these items might not be how you choose to develop in your first 365 days of BJJ. That’s alright. We all take our own journey.


1) Emphasize quantity while pursuing quality.

Your technique won’t be perfect but that’s not always the point. Continue to attempt submissions, escapes, and sweeps. Drill these movements on your own or with a partner, even if you are both new to training. When you learn why something fails through trying it 100 times, you’ll be much better equipped to try on the 101st time and it will become easier to problem solve on your own. 


2) Reverse engineer.

If you know that your partner is trying to push your arm down, then try to keep your arm up. If you understand how a guard pass works, then shut down your partner’s guard pass by not doing what they need you to do. What will happen? Well, if they are more skilled they’ll use a different option. Now you’ve seen a new pass and can reverse engineer again to stop it. 


3) Roll to be wrong. 

Now is not the time to find your style or try out cool things from Instagram. It’s not going to help your development to muscle your way through a technique. You already know how to be as strong as you are. Use this time to learn how to move properly by doing it wrong, to get submitted for the umpteenth time because you did something wrong, and to get tossed over easily by a lanky teenager because you did something wrong. This is where you’ll get the most growth in the first year. 


4) Look for small victories. 

“Winning” isn’t always tapping another person. It takes on many different forms over the course of your BJJ training and, often includes failure (see #3). Pick specific goals for yourself in training such as “use a scissor sweep at the right time” or “don’t get triangles when I pass guard”. These little victories will help you know you’re on the right path. 


5) Exercise your right to say yes…and no. 

Say yes to rolls and say no to rolls. Say yes to seminars or no to seminars. This is a tough sport. It can be just as mentally and emotionally draining as it is physically. I could do an entire post on just this one topic, and it certainly applies beyond just the first year, but if you only take away one thing, here’s what I’d say is the most important: You have a right to say no to rolling or training. The partners you ask to roll or train with also have a right to say no. Respect your partner’s choices and respect yourself, it doesn’t get much more complicated than that. 


About the Author

Amber Staklinski is the Director and Lead Coach for Fit to Fight®. She’s a 2nd Degree Krav Maga black belt and a BJJ Brown Belt in the Knight Jiu-Jitsu program,.