Are You Hitting a Plateau?

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In the previous post, I shared my answer to someone who just had his 3rd BJJ session and was asking a question in a BJJ Facebook group.

Let me do something similar again.

This time, the question I found was the following:

Any tips to help I’m a three stripe blue belt and have hit a plateau dont seem to be improving as fast as others and getting caught in basic setups. Seem to have hit a wall and getting frustrated.

Struggle at times to get serious mat time in due to shifts.

Here’s my answer:

I can understand your frustration. Pretty much everyone experiences hitting a wall and feels like they could do better.

I certainly do on a regular basis. I started training in 2002, and it hasn’t changed much in terms of running into obstacles.

I don’t think this part will ever change, though I’m glad it’s that way because I can try to solve these new problems and get better.

How fast do you want to improve your skills?

And how important it is for you to improve your skills that fast?

Whatever your answers may be, progress happens when you make mistakes, reflect on these mistakes, and correct these mistakes. This may not be the only way, but it’s one of the surest ways, I believe.

For example… you say you get caught in basic setups. I don’t know how you roll, but I can think of the following possibilities:

1) You are not actively trying to prevent your opponent from setting up whatever they want to do. (i.e. You are reacting rather than being proactive.)

2) You actually don’t know how to escape from these basic setups. So, this is your opportunity to learn how to deal with them properly… which will help you improve your game.

3) Your positioning is off, especially if you’re getting caught in someone’s guard (e.g., getting triangle/armbar-ed from the closed guard). You can adjust your posture, gripping, stance, etc.
Again, I don’t know you and I’m simply assuming what might be the case.

Do you have any favorite moves you are working on? If not, it’s about time to focus on some specific position/move and get good at it. Say, half guard, triangle choke, knee cut pass… etc.

If you do, consider working on some other moves/positions as well. You will suck at new moves/positions, but that’s OK. We all go through that process. But you gotta do it so you can expand your game anyway.

If you play the guard predominantly, try working on guard passing for a while. Or vice versa.

You may not feel like making progress that much, but you will be getting better if you start paying attention to finer details. Again, pay attention to your mistakes so you can correct them as well.

Have fun & enjoy the ride.