Goal Setting for Jiu Jitsu
Knowing how to set goals will help you stay motivated while training Jiu Jitsu. Itís easy to get discouraged when getting beat every day by the same people, in the same way. If you start Jiu Jitsu and your goal is to be the black belt absolute world champion, you may be disappointed quickly. Breaking your goal into smaller parts will help you focus on small victories and not the big picture.
Itís important to write down our goals. When I am training for competition, I keep a journal of my workouts. I will write down my runs and fight fit workouts as well as my sparring sessions. I will write down how I felt that day and how hot or cold it was outside which may affect how I performed. If I log my diet along with it, I can tell which foods to take out. If I slept bad or felt tired going into the workout I will take a note of that.
If my goal is to win a big tournament my first goal should be to set up a training camp. Should it be 2 months, 3 months or 6 months? It depends on the shape I am currently in. If Iím in terrible shape, 6 months. If Iím in great shape, 8-10 weeks. My next goal would be to write out a workout schedule. Then my goal would be to make all of my workouts. Sometimes I plan days off. Or, I will go until my body canít get up to train. Usually, planned days off are better. I know if I make all my workouts, my chances of winning are very high.
As a white belt, your goal may be to not let other guys submit you. If you are training with upper belts, this goal is unrealistic, because you will be submitted. Instead, your goal should be to last as long as you can without being submitted or not getting submitted in an arm bar or choke. If you only lasted 30 seconds in the last class, your goal should be to last 45 seconds or a minute the next class. When you reach this goal, you should never brag about it to the upper belt. If you do, your life will suck every time you roll with this person afterwards.
Goals in Jiu Jitsu should be very small and incremental. You canít submit the upper belts if youíre on defense all the time. So defense is the first goal. Survive for 6 months or a year and then you can go on to the next goal, offense. Attack the guys with 1 stripe first, then 2, and so on. I have students ask me all the time, ďhow come I canít do this position on you??Ē, and I tell them, ďyou will never be able to do it to me in the foreseeable future, practice on the white belts first!!Ē
As upper belts, we have to force ourselves to fight in bad positions in order to improve with lower belts. I may be a black belt in the guard but if I start by giving my back I have some work to do and will continue to improve. You may choose to work a specific type of guard for a day or work to hold people on your left side mount.
A professor in college told me that if you study something for 1 hour every day, you can be the best at it. Make a specific goal for your training this year. Break your goal into small pieces that you can accomplish every day. Jiu Jitsu, like anything we do, is a confidence game. Every day you reach a small goal, your confidence will build. Those that stay encouraged the longest become champions.
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