5 Ways to Overcome a Plateau and Level up Your Jiu Jitsu Game

5 Ways to Overcome a Plateau and Level up Your Jiu Jitsu Game

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a fun, perplexing, and challenging sport. At some point in your jiu jitsu career you’re bound to encounter a time where you feel like you aren’t making any progress. Plateauing in your jiu jitsu game can make you feel like you are just spinning your wheels; it can be frustrating, demotivating, and make you debate sticking with it. But there’s good news, there is always something more to learn and plateaus don’t need to last long if you’re willing to take a different approach.  Here are 5 things you can do to overcome a plateau and level up your jiu jitsu.

Take the Temperature:

In order to overcome a problem, you need to know what that problem is.  Whether or not you feel like you should compete, nothing will help you understand your level better than stepping on the mat in a competition setting. Competition illuminates your skills, your default reactions, and the holes in your game.  In the high-stakes environment of a competition, you get to really see what you’re made of . 

If you are serious about improving your  jiu jitsu, sign up for a local tournament.  You don’t need to go big, but rolling with someone other than your usual training partners will give you a more honest read on your skill level. From there, you can analyze your performance and work on your weak points. 

Film Your Rolls:

You know how you can see submission opportunities from a mile away when you’re watching your teammates roll?  Seeing yourself roll from an outside perspective can have a similar effect. Recording 1-2 rolls per training session and reviewing the footage will help you to assess incorrect body posture, opportunities, or vulnerabilities that you can’t see during the roll.  Take notes on what you notice and develop a plan to drill or address the issues you see. 

Watch Your Favorite Competitor’s Matches:


Building a jiu jitsu game is sort of like building a web, you need to assemble a variety of techniques and reactions that address your opponent’s possible reactions.  Sometimes plateaus come from an under-developed part of our game.  Watching matches of competitors with a similar body type, style, or game to you will help you understand the reactions they use.  This can help you build out the under-developed part of your game. Jiu Jitsu is a martial ART and the art part is really about finding and developing your game/style.  And like any great artist, you need inspiration.

Strength Train:

We’ve all heard  “strength in jiu jitsu doesn’t matter”.  It’s not true.  While technique can surmount strength and athleticism. Strength and athleticism can play a HUGE factor in your jiu jitsu game. If you are the same weight and skill level as someone else,  but they are lifting 4x a week and doing conditioning, chances are they are going to beat you in a scramble, get out of positions more easily, and put you into less fortunate situations. Add in strength training at LEAST 2x a week and watch your ability to succeed explode.

Visualize Success and Set Goals: 

Visualization can have a huge impact on your jiu jitsu.  Spend some time thinking about or mapping out your game, what you want to work on, and how you can achieve that.  It’s really important to walk into every training session with goals so you can make the most of your training and recognize when you’re making progress. 

There is no single method that will help you improve your jiu jitsu game and throughout your journey you may utilize different strategies.  Find what works for you, address the holes in your game, drill like a mad-woman and watch your jiu jitsu game improve.


About the Author

Becca Burkhart

Becca is a contributing writer to Alchemize, and fellow jiujiteria. She is a life-long athlete, nutrition coach, and mother of two boys.  You can usually find Becca doing one of 4 things: at the gym, cooking,  with her kids, or coaching her athletes. Practicality is the name of her game, and making the best of situations is her specialty.  



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