Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not at all like other sports or hobbies. It is a defensive martial art. In a sport like soccer or basketball, we have all seen these take place our entire lives. So knowing the general premise is not terribly difficult to decode. You may not excel at those games, but the general rules are fairly clear the general onlooker. BJJ however can seem quite complex and vexing to the onlooker.
When you first start to train, the learning curve for Jiu-Jitsu will seem impossibly steep. It can take a few weeks before you know what the basic positions are and what your basic goals are. Learning what not to do and what to look out for will take even longer. In that time, feeling like you are not getting better is perfectly normal. After all, you get thumped every time you roll, and that feels about the same.
You are learning, though. When a brand new white belt comes in two months later, you will suddenly feel like you know a lot. Positions will click, and submissions will just fall into your lap.
This is the time when your love affair for Jiu-Jitsu really begins.
However, do not get too excited. You will hit another point in your training, a plateau, where you again feel like your skill development is standing still. The advice for surviving plateaus is the same as the advice for getting through your first few months of training: keep going to class, keep drilling, and keep rolling. Eventually, you will be break through it and hit another uptick in your growth.
When I feel like I am at a plateau I completely change the focus of my game. If I have been smooshing and squishing people for months and it gets boring, I will revert to constant guard play. If my hand get tired from spider guard I will revert to smash passing again. Maybe I will devote 3 months to footlocks to strike fear in the hearts of everyone in the gym. There are so many paths you can take with BJJ. If you ever feel like you are not improving, or are in a plateau, DROP THE EGO and do what you are not good at. I have been doing BJJ for more than 5 years now and have seen so many people become frustrated and quit.
Now they probably live a boring life of misery that us grapplers do not want any part of!
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