Admissible Ramblings of a Purple Belt: Becoming more efficient with your training

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A common problem faced by many BJJ players is the constant desire to increase the amount of hours spent on the mat each week until your training schedule resembles that of the Miyao brothers.

But for many of us Jiu Jitsu is really only a pass time, a therapy session after work. Or for those competitors in the early stages of a career there is limited time to train between working those two part time jobs and fundraising to travel to the next comp. So how can we use the limited time we have on the mat more effectively?
One excellent principle to becoming more efficient (both on and off the mat) is to employ the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle).  The 80-20 principle states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. The 80-20 rule is most commonly seen in business where it is said that 80% of profits come from 20% of the clients. The rule was coined after a paper published by Vilfredo Pareto, who noted that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.
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This rule may be applied to training by recognising that 80% of your improvement may come from 20% of your training. If you look at this article recently posted on Jiu-Jitsu Times on what each belt means you will notice that belt has a particular focus which gets you towards the next belt, yet they often do the same drills as each other in the same class. We may apply the 80-20 rule here to a basic guard pass. For the white belt to improve faster they should focus on the 20% of the move that is the movement part, and not worry too much about the “what if my opponent does this” question that all instructors hate. The purple belt doing the same guard pass should work on the 20% of the move that develops the set up for their attack from the guard pass, whilst the brown belt may look at how to bait an opponent to give them the pass.

We could also apply the rule when looking at what we want to drill in the first place. For the white belt 80% of their improvement will come from learning the 20% of the game which consists of escaping from the bottom. The purple belt may look at the 20% of the game which makes up the connections between positions and submissions, i.e. the transitions to develop their game.

If we look at some of the high level black belt matches at the worlds we will see that a lot of time is spent trying to pass guard or sweep, i.e. 80% of the time is spent in 20% of the “basic” positions. Far less time is spent on mount, back mount, side control, or North/South. So we could always improve our comp game by focusing on the guard pass or sweeps.

And don’t forget to apply this rule to your life off the mat so you can create more time to train as well! Check out this video from FightMediocrity to see how….

If you have any further suggestions on making your training time more efficient please let us know in the comments!

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