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#133234 - 05/18/04 01:01 AM BJJ Learning Curve

Background: I am a 4th Degree Black Belt trained in classical ShoTokan (17 yrs)..also a 1st degree in TKD.
I have recently taken up Brazilian Jujitsu.
I am a little frustrated when I have to tap out often and quickly. I am curious when the techniques begin to gel? I've had only 10 or so classes, but really am not sensing any progress. I'm 43 yrs old..excellent condition and have great coordination. I would be interested in cooresponding with any BJJ practioners. I train about 2 or 3 times a week now.

#133235 - 05/18/04 10:03 AM Re: BJJ Learning Curve
MartinR Offline

Registered: 01/14/04
Posts: 109
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
My background is similar, I first studied for 3 years in two styles of Karate (and even got a black belt in one), and later took up Judo when I went to college. I wanted to learn a grappling art (before the days of BJJ & MMA being popular). After about 5 years of training 1-2 times a week, I was only a green belt. I've also studied BJJ for a over a year, but never have achieved rank.

In my experience, the grappling arts take much longer to develop to get rank, but one can develop techniques that can work on an unskilled opponent long before a belt is received. The longer you practice, you will develop a feel for where to keep your hands and how to move your body for defense. Grappling requires a different set of skills than striking, and you are starting from the beginning.

On a somewhat related not, in my opinion, BJJ, Judo (and other grappling arts that are practiced with resistance) show you immediately that you are doing something wrong. You don't practice ineffective techniques for years only to find out that they don't work against a resisting opponnent.

Stick with it. You'll find out how much you've learned when the next beginner starts training with you.

Good luck.


#133236 - 05/18/04 11:09 AM Re: BJJ Learning Curve
nekogami13 V2.0 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 2643
Loc: Texas, USA
Bjj is only offered 1 night a week at my school, so I don't claim to actualy train in Bjj-I merely have exposure to it.
Having said that-how long have the people who tap you out been training?
Did they have a judo/wrestling background before?

I agree with MartinR, you might not see your progress for a time, until you roll with someone who is more of a beginer than you. Also realize Bjj is developing a different area of skill than your striking arts-going from karate to tkd was probably easier.

Just use some of the patience you have developed achieving blackbelts in other arts and stick with it.

#133237 - 05/18/04 01:25 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve

I appreciate all the input so far.
It is pretty hard to go from a Black Belt back to white, although I really have no pride in this..Just wanna learn!
It just seemed the learning curve is slower in least for me at age 43! LOL Hopefully I will start to see some progress..or at least feel I am progressing....Man! I never had this many bruises in ShoToKan or TKD! least not after every class! [IMG][/IMG]
Thanks again for all your I said..BJJ is totally new to me beyond the normal self D we get in any MA's.

#133238 - 05/18/04 11:56 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve
Reiki Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 3403
Loc: MiddleEarth
welcome to my world.... [IMG][/IMG]
- the world of bruises that is! I'm sporting some beauties on my upper arm after last weeks "dirty grappling" session from my partners knuckles. Also some good ones on the ribs. I managed to escape but my partner didn't, so I'd say I had a successful session.

We do quite a bit of BJJ style grappling, I've also done a number of seminars with John Will [BJJ Aust] and it does take time to learn all the techniques. I would say that I've got to blue belt level but am far from being proficient yet!

From what I know about pure BJJ, mostly you have only a few rank levels anyway - white, blue, brown and black.

I did a few years of judo when I was younger and this has helped me but it takes many reps of the BJJ techniques [1000 or more!] to make them really automatic!

Keep it up, you will learn heaps and enjoy it.

#133239 - 05/19/04 08:35 AM Re: BJJ Learning Curve
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Hi blackbelt76

I don't think it's anything special to BJJ. It's any sport that requires a physical skill.

It's just been so long since you started karate that you've probably forgotten that you sucked when you started and how long it took you to develop the skills required.

Grappling is a completely different set of skills to the striking arts so you are a complete beginner again.

Sucks doesn't it.


#133240 - 05/25/04 05:45 AM Re: BJJ Learning Curve
otobeawanker Offline

Registered: 06/08/04
Posts: 192
Welcome to real fighting.

#133241 - 07/11/04 10:31 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve

Within six months you should see tremendous improvement in your balance and sense of defemse. You won't be getting tapped nearly as often because you won't be extending your arms and you'll be protecting your neck.

Have fun, pay attention and try to avoid using power. Do the reps. Don't try 2-3 and say "I got it". The people who make the greatest improvements are the ones who take their time and have fun.

Good luck.

#133242 - 07/12/04 07:22 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve
Ed Glasheen Offline

Registered: 06/21/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Newburgh,NY,USA
BB76, In a year you should be able to start setting up combinations with out thinking too hard. It is about flight time and enjoy the ride. Learn how to control your breathing and not panic when in a bad position first. Then stick to the main rule....get the dominate position, control that position then go on the attack. In that order. Learn the basics well. Many practitioners make the mistakes of learning so many techniques. Learn two armbars and two chokes that work in any positions. Master them. You will find you enjoy the art much better. Ed

#133243 - 07/19/04 03:32 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve

I was in the same boat as the original poster. I spent 7 years doing american kenpo before I dove into BJJ. It doesn't matter how good you are on your feet, you become a white belt again once you hit the mat against experienced BJJ practitioners. It's quite humbling, but that's probably a lesson you need to learn just like I did. On the flipside, you can probably outfox alot of BJJ guys in straight stand-up sparring arena. Expect your neck and back to hurt at first, but as the months progress you'll get a feel for being down on the mat. I hung in and now I've placed in 3 competetions. It's all about diligence and hard work.

#133244 - 08/16/04 02:36 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve

Hi BB76,
I've been training in Japanese shootfighting now for about 4 months and I am beginning to see an improvement (small, but still, an improvement). The one thing I have encountered is that, not only do you have to be aware of where your body is, but also, where your opponent's body is too. You have to move BOTH bodies with skill (or try to in my case, lol). One of the most accomplished grapplers in my dojo tends to grapple with his eyes closed, in order to be able to make more sense of sensory input of what his body is telling him.
Hang in there,

#133245 - 08/31/04 11:47 AM Re: BJJ Learning Curve

hey man,
i feel your pain, i have been training in bjj for 8 months and i have yet to master anything but the art of tapping. it can be discouraging but its all part of the learning process. my advice to you is **** it up, and keep a positive attitude, you are learning more than you think.

#133246 - 09/01/04 12:12 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve


Same feeling as the rest. I also have a very bad back (will be 40 next year). I would also ask the people you grapple with to go a little slow, let them show you how their weight shifts when they are on top. Ask how they were able to creat the opening for their move---what kind of lock did they get you in, and what did you do to allow them in. Even though I have no rank in BJJ, I was able to tap a shodan in Judo at a Karate class(he was also a karate BB from another style and swept me where we went to the ground)---I under estimated the guy. But after 10 minutes (too much time, not good for real fighting) I did put him in a Kimura. Have to admit it did feel good.
--Best regards!

#133247 - 10/09/04 11:34 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve

Martin is exactly right.

I have a purple belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu and have been studying it for 5 years now. I have been doing martial arts for 10 years. I am currently training at the Renzo Gracie academy in NYC and LOVE it! I feel just like a white belt again. :-)

Your just not used to being on the ground. This is exactly why Gracie took 3 UFC titles away from several other larger stronger martial artists of varied styles.

It wont come easy, but after 6 months of training when you go to roll with a brand new student you will handle them as if they were a child.

The ground is much more technical since there are so many moves with new ones being developed each day. Its not like striking where there are only a few types of punches and a few types of kicks. After 5 years I am still blown away by news moves coming out of Brazil.

One thing that will help you learn better is to write the techniques down in a grappling journal. If u cant draw very well u can add stick figures to illustrate the technique like I do. There is no way to remember it all so a JJ journal is a great thing to have. My journal has over 200 techniques in it now and is still growing every day.

Stick with it and forget that u ever had a black belt to begin with. I've got 3 Black Belts at home myself and they are worth @#%.

"The belt is just 2 inches of fabric covering your ass. The rest is up to you to protect."

#133248 - 10/14/04 08:18 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve

[QUOTE]Originally posted by otobeawanker:
Welcome to real fighting. [/QUOTE]

its not real fighting. Maybe more like a bar brawl where a wrestler pins you against the wall or something, but still far from real. Bjj still has plenty of rules. Infact more rules than most martial arts due to the ability to really hurt yourself and others while doing it. Its as flawed as other arts in real life situations due to these rules so dont fool yourself.

#133249 - 10/14/04 10:44 PM Re: BJJ Learning Curve


Like many people, you assume that BJJ is all or mostly fighting from your back. This is not accurate. The reason you often see this in tournaments or rolling is that sometimes you opponent is big, strong or skilled enough to put you on your back, regardless of what you want.

BJJ training factors this in. It does not encourage people to pull guard on the street. But neither does it advocate ignoring the ground problem in favor of more standup training.

The analogy about the "real fighting" has to do with most MA students lack of training in Extreme Close Quarters with any form of resistance. In that respect, BJJ exposes people to a dynamic that blends competitive grappling with practical fighting skills. It does this in a way that is closer to real fighting than most MAs.

Remember that there are three main divisions of BJJ training:

Sport (gi and no gi)

Self Defense

Vale Tudo/ NHB

Every school that I know of addresses these. Many focus more on Sport because their students just want to improve their skills in a controlled environment. Others favor Vale Tudo because their students want that kind of challenge. Fewer focus on pure SD just because the essence of BJJ is alive and is best expressed in sparring rather than rehearsed demos.

This is not meant to start an argument but your points echo from many before who tend to over simplify BJJ.

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