We love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, that is no secret. In fact, we love Jiu Jitsu so much that myself and the instructors here at Reflex dedicate pretty much most of our time to the art. In some cases, we train up to ten or more times every week. The big question is, how do we stay motivated for that much training? An even better question would be, how can you stay motivated considering your hectic lifestyle and trying to fit your Jiu Jitsu training in around that busy schedule?
Do you know exactly why you chose Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
You know that you love Jiu Jitsu and you are into the training. Who wouldn’t be into it, right? BJJ is fun, effective, and a great form of exercise. We need to take a quick look at exactly what brought you to the academy in the first place. Were you looking for an effective martial art to defend yourself? Maybe you wanted to pick up a new hobby? You quite simply could have been looking for a new and fun way to shed some extra pounds and get yourself moving? It doesn’t matter really what your reason for starting is, or will be, it just matters that you understand why you personally got started.
Times change and so do you.
Now that you have thought about what exactly got you started, you may have realized that you currently train for a completely different reason. You may now have a whole bunch of reasons. This is common in Jiu Jitsu because of the nature of the art. Once you dive deep into it, all the coolness and amazing aspects open up and you can become quite delighted. That’s exactly what happened to me. I started training because I liked the effectiveness of BJJ and I continue to this day (13 years later) because of the complexity and the science of the art.
The journey is long and motivation may change
So, you know why you started and you know why you stayed. If you haven’t started yet, you know what you can look forward to. What we really need to understand at this point, is that it takes a very, very long time to achieve a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu relative to other martial arts. This in itself can be the main motivator for many. Along this long journey, you need to understand that things change in your training and in your life. As things change, you might find it difficult to keep your training consistent. In this case, it is very important to stop, take a look at the situation, put things into perspective, and evaluate your priorities. This leads to the next point on motivation…
Slow training is better than no training
In times of change and turmoil, it can be tempting to leave the academy for a while to sort out those tough times. I have to say, I have done this. I have stopped my training and left the art because of some tough personal times. In retrospect, it was the worst decision I have ever made in terms of my training. In my opinion, what I should have done and what I feel most people should do in this type of situation, is slow the training down a bit. If you are getting in a solid four to five days of training a week, cut it in half for a while. Even if you have to cut back to one day a week or even just a few days a month, it is so much better than leaving all together. Your love for the art will bring you back, this is true, trust me. The comeback is way tougher after stopping than it is after slowing down. This is one of the best ways to stay motivated and keep yourself training.
Break the monotony, change the cycle, switch it up.
Even if things going great in your life and there is no turmoil, your training has the chance of feeling stagnate. Anything you do over a long period of time runs the chance of feeling repetitive. Jiu Jitsu does have a large amount of techniques and many different moves and transitions but that doesn’t mean you can experience times of repetitiveness. If this happens, there are a few things you can do. First, check out some of the other classes your academy has to offer. If you’re a beginner, think about stepping into an all levels or advanced class. The same holds true if you are a blue belt or above. You could go to a few basics classes or beginner classes. You can always use a touch up on your self defense and your basics. It’s always best to consult with your instructor though.
I would also suggest traveling a bit and cross training at other academies. This can really open up your prospective on new people to train with and experience alternate styles of Jiu Jitsu and opponents. Most schools are very open to training across the board and it can be an amazing experience and a great way to keep you motivated. Another great way to experience new things is to compete. This isn’t for everyone but you should definitely give it a try once or twice.
With all the things we’ve mentioned above, just remember that what motivates you is not the same as what motivates your training partners. It’s important that we understand this because one of the best ways to stay motivated is to help motivate everyone else. It’s hard to lose interest and slow your training down when you are constantly giving everyone else reasons to stay and train. Understand your teammates, know what they are looking to achieve, and help them reach their goals. I know that when you do this, you can expect the very same from everyone you are learning Jiu Jitsu with every day.