Hack your training

Recently I read a clip on Threads (I think it was on Threads) challenging the notion that "jiu jitsu is for everyone," which is thing many of us offer to our non-practicing friends and family (whether they asked about BJJ or not),  as a salve for everything from life dramas to frustrations in fitness goals. I'm guilty of this and if my husband is within earshot, he will warn the poor involuntary listener; "run! save yourself!"

Back to my point, the author of the clip stated jiu jitsu requires $150-$200 of disposable income per month, several hours of free time each week, and the ability to handle injuries, physically and financially.

The author was not wrong. That $150-$200 does not include the cost of purchasing a gi, sign up fees at an academy, or extra gear like spats, rash guards, grapplers tape, and extra laundry detergent.

If you are training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,  are considering it, or can only devote one day per week to a class, there are ways to expand your class time and limit expenses. Here are a 10 ways to hack your training:

1.   Show up early. Most academies will have someone in the office early to open up, turn lights on, etc. Use your early time to warm up, slowly and methodically, so by the time class starts, you are physically primed. Also, there will probably another person on the mat warming up, you won't be alone.

Another advantage of an early start, you can pair up with another classmate for a few minutes of practice. That move professor taught last week? Ask your classmate to drill it with you 3-5 times. This will take only minutes, and will move your game forward.

Bonus if you arrive early and there are upper belts on the mat early, you can practically eek out a mini private.

2.  Stay late. Fabio ends class with a patented "Train more, Ask Questions." It's a mantra at my academy. At the end of class, ask questions! Drill the technique from class. Ask one of your classmates for extra rolls. The moments after class are a breeding ground for improving your game, and maximizing your class time. Once again, when upper belts stay for the post-class open mat, you can turn those minutes into a short private lesson. 

3. Study the game. There are literally HOURS of quality jiu jitsu tournament footage on You Tube and Instagram. Start watching and studying the current trends. This is a complete rabbit hole but I promise you will start finding movements that pique your interest.

4.  Take notes. After class, write down the technique. Keep a record of your classes. Where did you have success? Failure? Why? Why not?

On this note, film the technique, if your professor allows this. 

5. Micro workouts at home.  Take one minute per day, close your eyes, and practice a challenging technique in your head. Visualize the movements and their details.

A workout does not need to be a massive block of time, it can be something you for a few minutes while monitoring a different thing. For example: when I feed our dogs in the morning, I set their bowls down, walk over to the pull-up bar, and work on my pull-ups while they eat.  

6.  Buy a used gi. Ebay and Craigslist are flooded with tons of used gis in good condition. Different brands have different sizing standards. Study various brands for what will work your body type. I am partial to an Atama F4, or Koral A2.

7. Injuries should be monitored. If you are getting injured in every class because classmates are holding a submission after you have tapped, consider a new academy. Holding submissions too long is dangerous and stupid.  If I had a dime for every time I heard people say something like, "yeah I tried jiu jitsu a few years ago, but the people at the academy would really wrench every submission even after I tapped..." This is just not normal or acceptable. 

I won't lie, there is the occasionally accidental smack to the face. Muscle strains, random bruises, and all the stuff that comes with a contact sport will happen, but you can minimize those too with #8.

8. Tap early, tap often. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, there are times to stretch boundaries and challenge yourself to fight for a defense, but be willing to tap. This will save you time and frustration in the long run. Tapping early=less injuires=less time spent on treatments=more training.

9.  Take care of your body. Are you over 40? 50? Life does not need to be a road paved with Advil.  Occasionally is fine, but too much wrecks your liver and gives you a false sense of health. I am an advocate for cold water exposure. My morning shower is as cold as possible, and I cold plunge regularly. The cold exposure reduces inflammation. Do your own research on this. I am not a doctor so I won't take a deep dive here, but the research is plentiful.

10.  Tailor your training off the mat to enhance your jiu jitsu. There are drills you can do at home, that don't cost anything, or are inexpensive. For example, the humble push-up. Hitch a rope to a post so you can rescue yourself from this rabbit hole. On You Tube, take a look at the variety of push-ups you can incorporate in your training. The Hindu, the Tyson, the LaLanne, to name a few.

Try standing up in base, using the cleanest technique, every time you walk through a door in your residence.  Ginastica Natural enhances mobility. Yoga is excellent for posture and flexibility.

These are my 10 hacks for your jiu jitsu training to minimize cost and injury, and maximize efficiency on the mat. If you questions or comments, contact me or comment below. 

Train On!




  1. I read the same article and thought the same thing. Great read! - SD


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


SWAT tryouts

For Grandma