3 Things You Can Do Outside of Your Gym to Improve Your Jiu Jitsu

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Like many martial arts, BJJ is a complicated activity that takes a lot of time, discipline and dedication. However, there are a few people who excel at a faster rate than others, which poses the question, what are they doing that others aren’t?

We’re always looking for the secret, that X-factor, to get us over the line into that upper echelon of the elite, but generally what we find won’t always work for us.

While I’m far from reaching that secret myself, I have found some of the progress in my game and understanding has actually come from efforts outside of my gym.

Today, I am going to share with you 3 of these things I believe can help you in your game.

Getting good at something requires more than simply participating. You need to be proactive in your goals and if you make the extra effort, I guarantee you will find success a lot faster.


Improve Your Jiu Jitsu With These 3 Things 


1. Travel

100% my favourite method on this list, traveling interstate and overseas to train can help you in a couple of ways.

You get to experience different games – Training with the same crew in your own gym day after day, night after night, can restrict your experience to different approaches and games; especially if you live in a small town or train in a small gym.

For example, If you’re part of a team that’s well know for their top game, you may be missing out on new tricks and strategies top level guard players are currently using, and visa versa. Training as you travel definitely opens your eyes in this respect.

You have the chance to meet and train with the world classBJJ is different to other sports. If you’re a basketball fan, your chances of training with Lebron are pretty much Buckley’s. However, in BJJ, travelling to your favourite competitor’s gym may mean meeting and even rolling with them: assuming you’re not a tool.

In my own travels I was lucky enough to train with many high level competitors including:


  • Lucas Lepri
  • Cobrinha
  • Rafa & Gui Mendes
  • Andre Galvao
  • Rikako Yuasa
  • Ricardo Vieira
  • Michelle Nicolini
  • Yuta Shimada
  • Keenan Cornelius
  • Marcos & Roberto “Satoshi” Souza
  • Whoop, TERERE, Whoop, TERERE
  • Jeff Glover


I think I may be being called a namedropper right about now, and I only have one thing to say to that… Of course I bloody am.

I learned so many great details from travelling that would have taken forever for me to figure out, if even at all, and I highly suggest you do it too.

If you’re looking at traveling to the mother land of BJJ make sure you check out Connection Rio. I was lucky enough to live in their hostel for a few months eating, living and training Jiu Jitsu in 2015 and it was honestly the best experience of my life and it can be yours too.



2. Eat Well


Part of your progress relates to your consistency, and looking after your health is a sure fire way of encouraging consistency.

Healthy foods do more than help you lose weight, as the micronutrients found in vegetables, fruits, nuts and meats are essential for proper cellular function, recovery after training, endurance and the prevention of illness.

It’s also interesting to know that micronutrients play a role in improving cognitive function, which as you know, having a functioning brain aids in remembering techniques, devising strategies and problem solving.

What you may not know is, these micronutrients also aid in mood regulation, which is extremely important if you feel you’re the type of person who gives up too easily.

Micronutrients for improved cognitive function include:


  • Vitamin D3 – sources include sun exposure and eating fish
  • Magnesium – sources include avocado, leafy greens and nuts
  • Choline – sources include eggs, organ meat, spinach and beetroot
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids – sources include mackerel, salmon, egg yolks and hemp seeds
  • Folate – sources include leafy greens, asparagus and broccoli



3. Study


To really be proactive in your game you have to study. Study can come in a number of forms and it’s important you try them all to decipher which forms of study you gain the most benefit from.

These include, yet are not limited to:

  • Watching high level matches online
  • Analysing footage of your rolls in class
  • Analysing footage of your rolls in competition
  • Watching your teammates roll
  • Watching online or DVD Instructionals
  • Asking your partner what it is they are doing to sweep you or tap you in class
  • Creating a plan or flow chart of what you will do in certain situations
  • Reflect on your competition performance or night of training to understand what works for you and where you need to improve


Ok there you have it. These are just three of the ways you can improve your BJJ outside of training in your gym that are sure to help you excel. Remember, if you want to improve, you have to put the effort in and this means more than simply showing up. Getting better means preparing yourself off the mat as well as on, and that’s why they say BJJ is more than a martial art, it’s a lifestyle.

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