Everyone wants to improve fast, but it’s like getting ahead in school, you have to do more than the classes to progress faster. You need to do your homework. Below are five tips to get you started.

1. Focus on the Basics

This is quite a common thing people who write these click bait posts say, but what does it mean? Well first off focus on defending submissions, then once you can do that, learn to escape from bad situations (will come back to this later). Develop an un-passable guard, an insurmountable mount, and a great base. Once you get close to these you can start attempting the submissions.

2. Create a drilling team.

This one I stole from one of my break dancing students, Tim. It is something I actually used to do anyway, but he put it into words. Find two friends - one better than you, and one not quite as good as you - and drill techniques with them, spar and test out what you have learnt. These sessions won’t be competitive but more focused on technique over strength.

3. Open up and go for it.

Trust what you have learnt in step one and try things, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, practice your escapes again. When you get even better at escaping, you won’t even hesitate to try things, so you might as well believe you can escape all attacks, so you can jump ahead mentally.

4. Take private classes or just pick your instructors brain.

Your instructor is there to help. Ask them questions about where you get stuck and they can help you out. The private classes part seems like a cynical plug to get me more business, but I have seen a lot of students really jump ahead after them. I was never keen on them when I started training, but if I got stuck I would book one. If you cant afford these, if you see your teacher sitting there go ask him to roll or go through something.

5. Be patient

Your body takes time to adapt and for new techniques to become natural, if you can’t do it the first time, keep drilling till it becomes fluent. Similar to learning a language, it takes time for the words to come quick enough to create a coherent sentence, let alone a whole debate, so it’s no different with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

6. Have fun!

Ok I said 5 points, but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t break the rules. Enjoying the game is more important than any grading or win, we all learn a lot better while having fun. There is a great satisfaction in catching someone in a sweep, submission, or guard pass but equally it can be fun when someone pulls a helicopter arm bar off on you. It’s part of the game and both are enjoyable. Not saying you want it to happen, but celebrate your friends progress, you will have your chance ;)