BJJ, like any martial art, is a cumulative sport. Your depth and range of knowledge grows and builds over time. But in the beginning, you may feel overwhelmed by even the most basic techniques you’re trying to learn and find yourself forgetting what you’re supposed to be doing. That’s normal! This stuff takes time. Luckily, there are a few things that can help. Read on for 5 tips for remembering BJJ techniques.
Jot down notes after class
In school, you take notes during class. In BJJ, you take notes afterward. Pay close attention to what’s happening during class, especially as your instructor breaks down a specific technique. After class, keep a pad of paper and a pen in your BJJ bag or use a notes app to jot down the highlights while they’re still fresh in your mind. Going the digital route will make it easier to sort your technique notes via things like importance or difficulty, but old school works too! The idea is to have your notes handy so you can review them and refer to them later.
As you progress in your ability, your technique notes will help you start thinking through counter-attacks and transitions to moves executed by your opponent.
Prioritize the fundamentals
Becoming proficient and skilled at BJJ means mastering the basics. Focus on the fundamentals so that they become second nature. That means paying close attention to basics like guards, grips, basic takedowns, arm triangles, and armbars. Being comfortable with these techniques will benefit you if you find yourself blanking on a more complex movement when you’re rolling.
Be consistent with your training
The hands-down best way to learn something is simply by doing it — often. So don’t skip training. If you’re feeling a little sore, take it easy and train lightly. But showing up and putting in the work is the best way to progress. Shoot for training at least a few times every week.
Come up with your own names for different techniques
Coming up with your own names for certain techniques can make it easier for you to remember. A prime example? Many BJJ practitioners call the arm triangle “answering the phone” because it describes the movements of the hands in a specific direction. Clever, right? Coming up with your own names based on your own understanding of a certain technique can help you remember specific parts that will help you execute it properly. And that’s the whole idea.
Visualization is an excellent way to boost retention. And you can do it no matter how sore you are! Imagine yourself going through a particular technique, breaking down every element. In your mind’s eye, watch yourself going through the motions from both a first and a third-person perspective. You’d be surprised how effective it can be.