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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Managing Mat Time

So you and BJJ are 'a thing' now and it's getting pretty serious; GOOD! It's so much fun now that you're catching on, (hopefully) recognizing danger (and avoiding), and starting to feel like a real Jiu Jitsu player. But how do you know if you're training too much--or too little? In this WBS we're going to take a look at that and send out out of here with a better idea on getting your training in the right spot.

By now you've surely signed up for some sort of monthly agreement with your school that allows you so many classes/visits for a certain payment amount--which might seem weird if you're used to classical gyms (the ones with all the weights and machines and stuff) where you can come and go as you please for one rate--but it's normal in our world. I'm sure some smaller Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms might run a similar operation to the classical gym styles, but generally speaking: Most schools offer a tier-based payment option where the more you pay per month the more classes you can attend. Often that tier will end in a capped "Unlimited" tier which is awesome if you can swing it. Prices and participation may vary, see store for details. But, it's pretty simple to let your wallet do the first bit of talking. Look, the truth is this: Jiu Jitsu sometimes really isn't for everyone. Stick around long enough and you'll see people drop out for 10,000 different reasons. Before you go all gung-ho and sign up for that full year of Unlimited mat time, maybe try the smaller tiers first. See how much you really love BJJ and then I'm sure you can upgrade your plan a little later on down the road.

Another major factor to that might be how often your school is open; and/or running a BJJ class. If your school is one of those smaller ones, and you're handcuffed that way, then your training days have pretty much been already picked for you. But if you go to a school where BJJ is a 7-day-a-week option, where do you go from there? 

Unless unless your intentions are to make BJJ your life, please be sure to make classes fit into your personal & professional life. If you're a young guy or gal and have dreams and aspirations of IBJJF Worlds glory, and plan on training everyday till you qualify for ADCC, then try to maintain the balance. It's difficult, and at times you'll need to compromise, but don't forget you're human. 

I really love that shirt
If you're just starting out: 
Training 1 Day a week is better then no days a week. But, needless to say, that one day a week is going to make it difficult to advance, progress, and get everything out of BJJ that it can give you. You're going to miss improving your mat time endurance, and really the over all application of the techniques you've been learning. But, hey, better than nothing.

2-3 Days a week is your usual pace for most people, myself included. I was luck enough to go to a school that offered a couple of different beginner skill level classes throughout the week. I was able to attend a Monday night, Wednesday night, and Friday open mat for a long stretch. Doing that helped me understand the basics, develop a solid base of technique, and still allow me the time to do homework on BJJ on my own time and explore what I learned that week. Later I developed that into include an advanced level class, too. Now I'm still hanging out in a couple basics class a week--which is tremendously helpful to pick up those tiny details when you know what you're doing--while pushing the progress by kicking it up with the advanced class(es). 

3+ Days a week sends the message that BJJ takes up the majority of your week. AKA: Where we all aspire to be one day. Your game will improve much faster in this bubble. Eg. there's a kid at my school who (more or less) did three years worth of training in his first year as a White Belt and quickly became a killer in the gym. Why? Simple BJJ Math. By being in class more you'll obviously learn more techniques than you would if you weren't there. Additionally, you'll get to see a wider variety of training partners and apply your game. Think of it like never letting a blade get dull. 

Speaking of "blades," shoutout to Verbal Tap Podcast and #WWEBJJ with my Razor's Edge
Having said all of that, one of the best resources you have for knowing when to train is simply listening to your body. Over-training is a real thing and it happens to everyone. Remember my analogy of keeping your blade from getting dull? Well, you can sharpen a blade so much that it becomes too thin; and brittle. So be careful not to ruin yourself by training too much. In my opinion, sometimes you need to over-train, though. In some circumstances it's good to push yourself to the limits and find out what your breaking point is. You learn so much about yourself in BJJ that you should know your limits. Also, sometimes it's good to keep pushing and walk off the mat with the reward that you pushed through the rough spot. Key phrase there is "walk off the mat."Mitigate yourself; don't be an idiot.

If you're injured, or just plain tired, get the rest your body is telling you to get. You're building your body into something wonderful, why ruin it with permanently balling up your wrist to prove a point to yourself (or anyone else). If you're one of those people that insist on "No Rest Days," then make go for a jog--assuming you're not suffering from a kneebar mishap--or do some sit-ups. Let your body heal, even if that just means re-cooping. 

In the end, you'll only know what's best for you by trying everything. For some people, maybe 4 days a week is just too much for their body to handle. Maybe you won't be able to recover in enough time for the next class and you can't be in a constant state of 'beat up.' But maybe you can. You're responsible for yourself but some truths will never go away in BJJ. 
-More time on the mat means the better you will get
-You get better by being in class
-Rolling more helps you get better
-You can only improve your game by applying your knowledge in actual combat

...if you see a theme here, that's good, That means you're not an idiot. And now I can assume you'll know what to do with yourself and not over-train. 

This post's sponsor:

VVV Fight Co.
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and get ready for that NEW Spring line of gear from VVV. Trust me, it's sick. And there will be at least one thing you'll want, for sure. Serious awesome quality (no bull), and  sweet designs. 

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