When life gets in the way of BJJ

Many of us have only discovered BJJ later in our athletic lives.  I myself discovered Jiu-Jitsu in my search for an activity that would be easier on my knees after years of playing football. Like many of my teammates I quickly became addicted and obsessed with improving as quickly as I could.

For people like me, Jiu-Jitsu is a hobby that we practice in our spare time. The majority of people in BJJ gyms are not professional athletes and typically have many other commitments and responsibilities in their daily life. Despite this we know that the quickest way to improve is to train as frequently as possible.

However sometimes making it to training just does not happen. Kids need to be collected, dinners need to be prepared, parents need to be visited, and sometimes the day job requires that you work late. These are just a tiny example of the any number of valid reasons for why making it to BJJ practice is just not possible. Life has a habit of getting in the way of plans and your BJJ training is often the victim.

Not being able to train as much as you like can be incredibly frustrating. I used get in a bad mood for the day whenever I realized I would not be able to make practice. When I eventually got home I would act like a big baby and sulk until the evening. I would be angry at myself for being a victim of my own circumstances but my family would usually be the ones who had to suffer as a result of my grumpiness.

It took a long time until I realized that training like I did when I was 17 is just not possible anymore. I am responsible for the well-being of a number of people in my life and that means that I have to make sacrifices. Nowadays I am extra gratefully for whenever I step on the mats. Some weeks I can train 4 days, and others I might not make it onto the mat at all.  Not making it to training is not the end of the world and there will always be other opportunities to train.

Here are some of the top tips I have discovered to help ensure that you get the desired number of sessions per week:

Early morning classes

Early morning classes are a great way of making sure you get squeeze a training session into your busy schedule. Many BJJ gyms offer classes at 6am & 7am which can give you time before starting the working day.

If your school does not offer classes at this time then why not ask your professor if they would be interested in starting one. Perhaps you can find teammates in a similar position that would be happy to make up a new class?

Visit other gyms

Your own gyms schedule may not always have times that suit you. If this is the case you should check on the timetables of other nearby gyms to see if they have a time that suits. Before attending another school make sure to let your professor know to avoid any conflict.

This is also a great option if you are travelling. Whether you are on the road for work or holidays, visiting another local gym is a great way of ensuring that your training schedule is not interrupted. It is also a great way to pick up some new techniques.

Set up Mats at home

Can’t make it to the gym, then why not bring the gym to you? All you need to set up is a bit of space and a few mats. Second hand mats can be bought relatively cheaply online and are easy to put together. Once set up all you need is a training partner who is available when you are. Even if you are on your own there are lots of stuff you can do to work on your BJJ movement.

Get you Kids into BJJ

If you have kids, getting them into BJJ at an early age will help to ensure that you also get to spend more time at the gym. As the kids get older you will be able to bring them to your own training and hopefully one day train alongside them.