Improving your BJJ skills while the Academy is closed
Slowly but surely BJJ gyms and organizations across the globe are closing their doors to stop the spread of the Corona Virus. As BJJ practitioners we are in the unfortunate situation to have a hobby that requires very close physical contact. As a result there is a much higher risk of contracting Covid-19 or even passing it to someone else. The only way to reduce this risk is to completely stop training altogether. The problem is that if the academy closes we cannot be sure when it will reopen.
However do not despair. There is lots of things you can do to improve Jiu Jitsu if you cannot physically train at your academy. These things will never be as fun as going to a full class at your academy but they are better than nothing. If you try a couple of the things below you might even notice an improvement in your overall skills and knowledge when you eventually get back on the mats.
Some of the resources mentioned below have even offered their content for free or heavily discounted in light of the ongoing pandemic.
Studying BJJ Online
Studying BJJ online gets a bad rep but can actually be quite effective. of course, Jiu Jitsu Universities that give fake belts for online courses is very silly and is not what I mean by studying online.
Online BJJ has come a long way in the last few years and there is lots and lots of really good content that can help you to improve your skills. If you have a structured approach to your study it can be even more effective. Many of the best known grappler’s in the world have their own subscription service and online academies. These academies provide in depth breakdowns of many of their favorite techniques. Pricing is quite competitive due to the healthy level of competition in the sector.
There are also loads of one off tutorials that is also available for download. These tutorials typically focus on a system or one particular aspect of BJJ which make them easier to digest and learn.
There are a number of really good subscription websites that have lots of great content that is regularly updated. Here are some of our favorites that we have tried:
MG in Action -Marcelo Garcia’s online academy was one of the first major academies to offer online BJJ learning, Marcelo is one of the greatest BJJ practitioners of time. On MG in action Marcelo teaches us many of his signature moves for both Gi and Nogi.
Roger Gracie TV – Roger Gracie is perhaps the most accomplished grappler in the world and his ability to consistently win using simple techniques makes us love him even more. Roger Gracie TV is broken down by the major positions in BJJ and gives a fascinating insight into one of the best BJJ minds in the world.
Keenan Online – Keenan Online is the online academy of Keenan Cornelius. The site is well thought out and has a really cool mix of humor and good content. Videos and tutorials include breakdowns of many of Keenan’s innovative techniques such as the worm and squid guard and other types of lapel wizardry.
Caio Terra – Caio Terra is another early adopter of digital learning platform and is an excellent resource for competitors and hobbyists. The site is easy to navigate and the videos are clear and informative.
ATOS Online – ATOS is one of the top BJJ academies to the world and is maybe home to more high level grappler’s than any other gym out there. It is part owner by Andre Galvao who is currently making the transition from world class grappler to world class coach. ATOS online features techniques and breakdowns from Andre and many other of his top students such as Josh Hinger and Lucas Barbosa.
DVD’s & Videos
Many public BJJ personalities have decided to offer their DVD’s and content for free or at a massively reduced rate in light of the ongoing global Covid 19 pandemic. Bernardo Faria’s of BJJ Fanatics announced a major reduction and sale on many of their most popular downloads.
In the last couple of years BJJ fanatics has become the premier distributor of digital BJJ downloads. Popular downloads include instructionals by John Danaher, Gordon Ryan, Craig Jones, and Lachlan Giles among others.
My own favorite way to learn is by watching the competition footage of the top black belts in the world. When I see the likes of Gordon Ryan and Keenan Cornelius hitting moves and sequences on other high level guys it proves to me that those moves really work. By studying their movements and details of their sequences you can actually learn a lot. I find the best way to learn through watching competition footage is to pick an athlete that has a similar build and style of game to you. Try and spot patterns and sequences that might fit into your game and take notes to help you remember.
Flograppling without doubt has the biggest collection of competition footage. However their subscription model may be restrictive for many. YouTube has lots of free competition footage that dates back many years. Some of the greatest matches of all time are also available on YouTube such as Jacare Vs Roger.
Yoga for BJJ
BJJ is all about movement and your ability to control your own body as well as your opponents. Yoga is a great way of assisting this task by improving your core strength and flexibility. It also provides similar mindfulness benefits to BJJ. There are even some specific BJJ yoga workouts and stretches that you can tailor for your own BJJ game and body. Within just a few months of practicing BJJ you can make massive gains to your overall mobility which is likely to help you significantly when rolling. It is also a great way of protecting you against injury which is particularly appealing to aging grappler’s (like me!)
YogaforBJJ.net is an excellent resource and is run by BJJ black belt Sebastian Brosche. It has a very reasonable price plan and tonnes of excellent content.
BJJ specific strength Training
Strength training can be done safely in isolation and is a great way to keep strong and fit if not training BJJ. When creating S&C program try to include BJJ specific exercises. There is lots of good resources here in case you are unsure. Check out https://www.bjjstrength.com/ for starters.
Roll in a small group or One to One
If you are lucky enough to have your own mat area or access to an academy you might still be able to roll. However any rolling session should be done in a very small group or one on one if possible to minimize the risk of infection.
If you own a grappling dummy and have a bit of space you could also do some drilling. Grappling dummies are limited in terms of what you can do but there are some good YouTube tutorials out there to help you get some ideas.