Jiu Jitsu Journaling!
In school, we take notes. At work, we take notes. At jiu jitsu, practice, we take notes!
One of my mentors, Jim Rohn, once said, “It is challenging to be a student of your own life, your own future, your own destiny. Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down. Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal.”
Writing in a journal is a great indication that you’re a serious student. If you want to be a champion in this sport, then you must be a serious student!!
I personally keep 3 journals. One for jiu jitsu techniques and strategy, one for business ideas, and one for my personal stories.
A journal offers an effective way to figure it all out and I’m sure your little scrapper will have a few questions about their journal, so let’s explore the incredible value of recording their jiu jitsu experiences.
What kind of journal is best?
A journal should reflect its owner. It is their book. So you should select the size and style. Also, the book should be capable of going wherever they go.
You may like lined paper, others blank. Some will prefer wide ruled, and others college. Pick the journal that calls out to you.
Buying a journal is the easy part; the hard part is filling it up. So what should go in your jiu jitsu journal?
What am I supposed to write?
Writing about techniques, events and circumstances that occur on the mat will help you to clarify exactly what is happening.
I recommend writing the following in their journal:
o When writing techniques, they should be written in step by step order. We need structure when learning, so bullet points are a great way to organize your thoughts.
o Each technique should have a name. I am a big believer in naming ALL of your techniques. Not only will this allow to better memory, but it will also allow for better coaching at a tournament.
o Write each entry in your own words. We want to remember and understand what we are writing about.
o Write questions that you might have about the technique or problems you might be having while trying to perform the move in live sparring. Every single day, at the end of class I ALWAYS ask my students if they have questions. The ones who do have questions, seem to be the ones who progress the best.
– Theory / Strategy
o Jiu Jitsu isn’t all about the techniques. Just as important in my opinion is the strategy behind the techniques. You should be writing about strategies that your coach is teaching you.
o IE – “Do not force the technique, force the mistake and take advantage of it”
o IE – “Distract your opponent into thinking you are doing one technique, and then go for another”
– High Point Techniques
o Many students who compete should keep a section of their journal for competition techniques. These techniques should be part of their competition game in order to earn more points and advantages then their opponent.
o IE – Focus on sweeps that land you in mount, as opposed to sweeps that land you in ½ guard. (6 points versus 2)
– Stories about Live Rolling
o You should document your rolls with other students in your class. This will allow you to study your partner’s game and hopefully show you their holes.
o If you had a particular great roll, or a roll that you took a few lessons and learned from, document it.
– Stories about Competition
o I tell my kids all the time that when you compete, the worst thing that can happen is that you lose, and learn a lesson.
o Document your tournament experience. This will allow you to look back on your past tournaments and see the improvements in your game. It will also allow you to document specific competitors’ games that you competed against for future competitions.
o All questions about techniques, theory, strategy, points, ect should be documented in the journal. Do not leave your memory in charge, because chances are it will not remember.
o Asking questions will allow you to analyze your game and progress it accordingly.
– Record observations of others grappling
o One of the greatest thing about observing others roll is that you have an outside perspective and can learn from their mistakes and their victories.
– Draw pictures
o If you enjoy drawing, draw in your journal about their jiu jitsu experiences.
– Insert photos
o Any photos from competitions, training, ect can be pasted into the journal
If something worked well for you, then it is worth remembering. And if something didn’t work well for you, then it is even more important to record so you don’t make the same mistake again
How often should I be writing?
In my opinion, you should be writing in your journal as much as you train. I suggest bringing your journal to each class so you can ask questions you might have written down and can immediately write down the techniques you did in class. Many people forget the moves on the car ride home. If you write your thoughts down while they are still at the gym, you can have any questions answered immediately.
How should my journal be organized?
I recommend using an index. An index is a system used to make finding information easier. At the back of your journal, list the above topics (Techniques, Theory, Story, Competition). You should also number the pages of your journal. After an entry has been written, go to the back of the journal and add the page number to the topic that it corresponds too. This will allow for easy searching for later examination.
To recapitulate does writing in a journal take time? Yes. Does it take effort? Yes. Does it take discipline? Absolutely. And Time, Effort, and Discipline builds Champions on the mat.