If you’ve searched anything relating to timeframes for learning the basics of BJJ, we’d bet you’re an adult picking up the sport for the first time. Kids tend to have the luxury of trying things for fun, without worrying about when they’re going to improve. But we get it! And while there’s no hard and fast timeframe for learning how to roll, there are a few things worth knowing.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Learning anything new, no matter what it is, takes time. And it’s completely normal, expected even, to feel completely inept the first few times you try something new. But if you’ve heard that the average time commitment to a BJJ black belt is ten years, that doesn’t mean you’ll spend the entire decade as a beginner. First comes competency, then proficiency, then mastery, and the way practitioners move up the ranks generally falls into three categories. Each has its upsides and downsides.
- A focus on drilling: Drilling the individual movements of a particular technique over and over again is a surefire way to improve, but it takes time. If you’re perfecting every movement to make it feel second nature, plan to spend a lot of time on the mat.
- A focus on rolling: Rolling against an opponent can help improve your timing and movements, but reacting in real time adds pressure to your training. If you don’t have a solid understanding of technique, you could be inadvertently teaching yourself bad habits.
- A focus on conceptualizing: The idea here is to fully understand the principles, or concepts, of the movements and objectives of particular techniques, to make drilling and live rolling easier. When you hear that BJJ is the thinking man’s martial art, this is why. But understanding how to do something in theory is a lot easier than making it happen in practice.
In most cases, a combination of all three elements is the best approach to learning BJJ. And at Guerrilla BJJ here in Reno, our classes are structured to incorporate them all. Our instructors emphasize technique, breaking down every movement and element, to help you understand it all in a conceptual framework. There’s ample time for drilling, so you can put those concepts into practice, and during live rolling, you’ll have a chance to put it all together. Following this format again and again is the first step toward competency, proficiency, and ultimately, mastery.
Here’s the Secret
The secret is training. The more you train, the better you get. It’s really that simple. So forget the shortcuts, show up consistently, and embrace the journey. Don’t get hung up on timelines. Just get started!