Getting Started? How to Build Momentum in your BJJ Training

You can plan, plan and plan your BJJ Training but planning does not produce any training momentum.

You’ve got to start moving. You’ve have to do something, anything to start your training process/momentum and build your movement/BJJ practice. 

Nothing Happens Until Something Moves.
— Albert Einstein

It’s much easier to start with something very small, like a brief 10-15 minute training session instead of stressing over your huge training plan.

What small change can you make right now? Arrive at BJJ class 10 minutes early and jump some rope? Drill? Maybe some hindu push-ups?

Here are 3 action steps you can take right now to build your BJJ fitness:

1.Do at least 1 thing everyday to build your BJJ fitness. This doesn’t need to be anything too intense or complicated. Be willing to try new things. If something isn’t working or isn’t enjoyable please move onto the next thing. Just keep doing something until you find out what works for your and your BJJ game.

2. Find cool, motivated people to hang out with. You are a reflection of the people you hang out with so associate with successful and motivated people that take their health, fitness and BJJ seriously. Listen to and watch interviews with successful people. Read about their lives and their habits. This will help you develop a great mindset for your own life and training.

3. Remember, nothing gives you confidence on the mat like being in great shape. When you do the work and put in your time you know that there’s nothing more rewarding than being in-shape. You’ll be able to push the pace and impose your BJJ game.

Just keep enjoying your BJJ lifestyle. Life rewards those that love what they do, so do something.

How to Become Resilient

I ask a lot of questions online and in person. One question that I always ask is “What can I help you with? Where are you struggling?” And many people answer back that they are broken, beaten…injured. They want to do more, live more but they’re afraid of getting hurt or hurting themselves further. And to be honest I understand that fear very well myself.

I play rough, I partake in martial arts (BJJ) 5-7 days per week now and if I get hurt I can no longer teach at my live events and workshops or work with many of my clients and athletes. I help people move better and if I can’t move well myself I need to find an alternative…and perhaps a different way to make a living.

But I don’t see that happening anytime soon…I love doing what I do and will walk my path until I turn to dust. So I need an alternative and a way to stay resilient. The tips below are not fool proof, you can and may still get hurt but they will help build a resilient body that’s ready for life’s physical and mental challenges.

Take a tumbling class:
It’s never too late to learn how to fall, how to roll and how to engage the ground…build a rapport with the ground and the Earth.

Once upon a time gymnastics was a key component in our physical education curriculum. And now we’re lacking big-time in this fundamental movement skill because well…we know what happened to our physical education programs in most schools.

Since tumbling is a large part of gymnastics try to take a class or 2 at a local school or YMCA. And it doesn’t need to be too technical. You’re not training for a perfect score or the Olympics. What you’re looking for is confidence in your ability to roll or take a fall without doing major damage to yourself and your structure. Tuck your chin and take it across your shoulder. You may just fall in love with it and stay forever.

If you can’t find a gymnastics class please consider some martial art alternatives like Aikido, Judo and Jiu-Jitsu which should all have rolling and tumbling as a large part of their curriculum. Falls and rolls are actually called “Break-falls” in most schools because you’re learning how to break the fall in a safe manner.

To be honest, martial arts are my preferred route as they teach falling and rolling from many different angles, situations and positions in addition to learning some cool moves for self-defense.

Spend some time upside down:
Many people are afraid of being upside down. I’ve taught some very basic rolling to adults and they were completely disoriented while performing the most basic task. Get over the fear of being upside down.

There are many choices here.

You can try out some Yoga inversions or shoulder stands. You can try out some simple still ring work borrowed again from gymnastics like skin the cat and forward rolls.

Being upside down will directly help with your falling and rolling skills and they’ll become second nature.

Learn how to crawl and learn how to climb:
If you want strong and stable shoulders develop these 2 skills…crawling and climbing. If you want to move like spiderman or batman master these 2 skills. Again, your climbing does not need to be very extreme or too technical. Rock climbing a mile high is not needed. Do some work on a local playground learning to move hand over hand, from support to support, forward and backward, from side to side. There are many regressions and progressions to use and employ. There is something for everyone of every fitness level and body type.

The same goes for crawling, start with a simple bear crawl and add complexity and finesse as your strength and skills develop.

Mix Up Your Training Textures and Terrain:
Give your brain and your body something to work with. Your body craves engagement with the world, with the Earth. It wants to feel the grass, the sand and the rocks underneath your feet. It wants the nooks and the crannies just not on an English Muffin.

It grows and adapts from encountering micro-challenges from it’s environment.

I know runners that can’t run on anything other than a track. I know some people that can only run on a treadmill. I’ve heard some people claim or complain that grass was too bumpy and uneven to run on. Seriously? Grass? Have we become this weak and fearful?

If you’re training limits your abilities to run only on one surface it is drastically lacking and your body and it’s ability to adapt is severely lacking as well.

So how do you make it more adaptable and resilient? By providing challenges in a sensible and responsible manner. Start with some grass running, then move to some easy trails. Then onto rougher, steeper trails.

Now, I’m just using running as an example but you can apply these little micro-challenges to any aspect of your training practice.

Practice the “same-but-different” principle. Stick with pull-ups but use different grips. Use different angles. Use different tempos, move fast and move slow, pause at different spots during the movement. Mix it up!

 My outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe board. 

Train in the heat and the cold:
Ever see how swords and other weapons are created? Hot and cold…hot and cold…this is called tempering and you can create the same affect in your training….within reason of course. Don’t be careless and injure yourself but existing in a constant room temperature of 68 degrees and refusing to do anything outdoors is hurting your entire organism more than it’s helping.

You’re becoming a baby and will quickly be crushed the moment real change comes stumping into your world. Build resilience now. Become strong and flexible like a well crafted weapon.

Mix up your training tools:
If you’ve been doing barbell front squats for 56 years try some kettlebell front squats, try some uni-lateral kettlebell front squats. How about sandbag front squats or Zercher Squats etc..

I’m a huge believer in “Consistency on the Fundamentals” but I’m also a huge fan of the “Same-but-different” training principle. Squats are still squats, using a different tool does not make squats something else. Just the details change a bit. You body will appreciate this change in details and will adapt making you more resilient to changes of directions, angles of force and vector qualities.

Master the Art of Roughhousing:

Rough house!

Play rough with your kids, your loved ones, your puppies or kittens. Just do it. Go outside and roll on the grass, wrestle, have chicken fights in the pool. Pillow fights are quite awesome. Play superman and launch your kids into the couch cushions. Piggy-back rides are wheelbarrow races are not just for kids.

Add an element of danger into your play. You’ll adapt. Roughhousing is unique. It lights up our brains and bodies in a way that other forms of movement simply can’t touch.

It teaches us boundaries and limits. It let’s us explore our abilities and creativity. It makes us come alive. And smile.

How do you approach all these tips? Easy. Start small. Take one class at a time. Practice slowly at home.No need to be too aggressive from the word GO.

Let me know how you include those above goodies in your practice…your life. I’d love to hear from you.

Fast Yoga Flow for BJJ (Basic Flow)

I use the term "Fast Yoga" to describe simple bodyweight movement flows that I incorporate into my daily training. Often times these are my pre- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu warm-ups but I also like to do some fast yoga flows before other non-BJJ related training like barbell or kettlebell work. 

You could also use these flows as a pick-me-up during the day to improve mobility, brain and blood flow or just to improve your mood. 

The flow below is a basic flow consisting of a full squat, a sit-through or sit-out and standing up in base. 

Here are just a few quick tips:

  • Feel free to hang out in any one of those positions as long as you like. There is no right or wrong here whatever is resonating with your own body at that particular time. 
  • Feel free to sway and swagger gently from side to side. Check your stability and base. Play with active and non-active shoulders. Play with the position of your palm and gently pry open your hips with your elbows.
  • For more conditioning add some speed and quickness to your flow. Jump into your sit-through and add a jump into the technical stand-up.
  • You can set a timer or work for repetitions...both options work quite well.
  • Finally, you can combine this flow with other training tools and methods. For example, doing some jump-rope work prior to this flow would be great. 

Please try it out and let me know how it goes...have a question ? Let me know.


A 10 Minute Kettlebell & Bodyweight Workout for BJJ

The russian kettlebell may be the ultimate "Becoming Bamboo" tool for jiu-jitsu players.

It's effective because it is simple. And so is this quick 10 minute kettlebell and bodyweight workout.

I explain everything in the video so please be sure to watch completely to get the details but here are a few quick tips:

  • Start a new round of 10 kettlebell swings and 10 sit-throughs or sit-outs every minute on the minute for 10 minutes.
  • The faster you work the more you rest. Stay active during the rest. 
  • You can pick any kettlebell swing variation. The choice is all yours. But remember, some kettlebell swings are slower/quicker than others. You may be able to perform 2-arm kettlebell swings quicker than the hand-to-hand swings that I use in the video.
  • You can progress this workout a few ways...once 10 & 10 become too easy pick a heavier kettlebell or up your repetitions. You could also add some complexity to one of those skills like throwing a high-bridge into the sit-through. Make sense?

Please let me know how it goes.


The Slow Track

Jason C. Brown BJJ

I love Jiu-Jitsu. I’m passionate about it’s history, it’s movements and it’s philosophy.

But there was a time when this passion drove me elsewhere. One day I found myself sitting at my computer and I lost the art, the mat.

Literally lost it. 

The place where I should have been- out on the mat growing instead of watching and reading about how others are doing it. I’d become that guy, someone that would rather talk about Jiu-Jitsu than actually do it myself and it needed to be the other way around.

It’s a very uneasy feeling knowing you’re not where you should be.

So I created the type of practice where I knew I could flourish. As a father of 3 vibrant sons I know that my time and energy are limited and that I needed to place success in my way.

I had to place my Jiu Jitsu practice right in front of my face. Right outside my backdoor if I was going to become the Jiu-Jiteiro I wanted to become.

 This is my micro-dojo. 200 square feet of mat space right outside my door. It's quite cozy.

This is my micro-dojo. 200 square feet of mat space right outside my door. It's quite cozy.

This much I have learned. Jiu-Jitsu is something you create, you become. Not something you buy or watch passively from the sidelines.

It’s the process, not the sudden transformation that matters.

When you cultivate a little, dig a little deeper, move a little better, and , more important, don’t try to do it all at once, Jiu-Jitsu works with you, for you.

If you find the right spot and the right time your hardest job is done.