In my 15 years of BJJ experience competing, training, teaching hobbyists, coaching world class competitors, the single most important factor of high quality learning has been correctly making goals.
Just like anything, with enough time anyone can pick things up. If you stay in your fish bowl long enough while sticking to it is even easy to feel validated that one is good at what they are doing. Now remove any and all excuses like I only train 3x a week or I am the smallest one at my club and realize that it truly never works to not have a goal while training.
I personally am incredibly goal oriented, does not mean you have to be, but when something means something to you enough to invest your time regardless of how much, you should respect and love yourself enough to be disciplined accordingly.
I have students that train 3x a week and students that train 3x a day, they all are given the same structure and advice. They also all benefit from showing up to the mat as prepared as possible to accomplish their goals with the time they have available.
For those of you who are white belts/new, struggling or plateauing , run your own academies and have students, creating goals correctly impacts quality and retention ten fold. It is a healthy habit to have a goal we are constantly progressing towards rather than just always blindly training. There is nothing wrong with sporadically not having a goal and just existing but it is too common in todays society that people habitually do that every day. I see it on the mat and in life.
Simplify what you want to accomplish until you have reached consistency. Here are some common examples of reverse engineering.
- I hate getting smashed in side control, I want to learn how to escape.
This goal will break the mind of most new students and eventually they quit or give up on this goal. This is how I break this down when I travel and chat with students who arent my own.
What comes before being smashed in side control?
- Having your guard passed = not establishing a guard and maintaining tempo
If I allow student A to just practice escaping side control, they very well after hundreds of reps start actually escaping, however, they did not learn guard retention, guard defense, and tempo control so they will just get passed again. This is black and white, heavily negative, and when training with something who is good will have very low percentage.
If I allow structure student B to play guard for hundreds of reps without sweeping and submitting to focus on tilting, and guard retention when being neutralized, they will get passed often and have an abundance of high quality data that eventually funnels to not getting their guard broken down so much that they are getting passed nearly as much and nearly as bad resulting in side control.
Both students spending the same mat time with different goals and perspectives yet one can use failure more efficiently and grow positively while collecting data. They can see progress along the way and in return have a better foundation for a higher quality escape pattern moving forward.
Everyone is on the mat for different reasons, but we all have goals. The more you understand your goal the more positive training will be, the faster you will accomplish, and the better learner you become. At Logic, thats your job and mine is to help you simplify your goals correctly then hold you accountable. Lets work.
This post is so well put. It is far too easy to fall into the repetition of training just to train, without focus. I can speak from personal experience, that doesn’t work out the way you think it might. It is as important for each of us to have individual goals as it for those of us that instruct to hold our students to their standards.