Let’s talk about the “extras” that separate the 3% from the 97%. What do the successful individuals have / do that the 97% do not?
Consistent Training Schedule!!!!
I put exclamation points because this is probably THE biggest problem for casual students. People train a few nights this week, maybe once the next week, and miss a week here and there.
At Cornell, I had some classes that met everyday (foreign language), others that met Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and others that were scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays. The actual in-class times were very similar regardless of the scheduling. I’ll tell you what though – It was a LOT easier to stay on top of Korean 201 (which met everyday for 50 minutes) than it was Chemistry 208 (which met twice a week for about 2 hours).
Jiu-Jitsu, like most skills, thrives when trained regularly. You can’t miss 5 one-hour practices thinking that 1 five-hour practice will make up for it. Consistency is key!
When you hear about guys who absolutely BLAZED through the belts like Demian Maia, BJ Penn, and other 3-4 year (legit) Black Belts, you have to realize they were not training three nights a week. They put in some serious mat time.
I have a purple belt, Malcolm, who in his first year of training missed ONE class. I remember when he came in, he was just a casual student, with one year of high school wrestling experience, who wanted to get in shape. He actually would not sign up until I promised him he did not have to enter tournaments (he competes all the time now)! By the end of his first six months, he could roll competitively with almost everyone. By the end of the year, he could beat most of the Blue Belts in the room.
The other white belts were amazed! “Man, I started three months before him! How did he get so good?”
A lot of Malcolm’s progress can be attributed to simple numbers… Most casual students train 2-3 times per week. Malcolm was training 4 which means in six months, he had undergone a YEAR of the casual student’s training. At the end of the year, he had raised the gap even further and had trained the equivalent of two years (casual student time). He also had the added benefit of being in better shape since he was “working out” four nights in a week doing Jiu Jitsu.
Now of course, there are plenty of ways to screw up your mat time so it becomes a waste of time, which is why there are so many products and articles written about the right ways to train, how to be efficient with your time, how to honestly evaluate your instructor and training partners, and not to have an ego etc. And on the other side of the equation, you have overtraining. But in general, you simply can not get away from simple numbers.
Take a look at the successful people around – Are they training more? Are they training harder? Are they training consistently? I think you’ll find that the best grapplers in the room are are usually training MORE and on a REGULAR schedule.
So for most beginner or casual students, the first step I would recommend is STAY DISCIPLINED and COME TO CLASS!!!