No matter how hard you train, or how often you make it to the academy, there will always be moments when you feel you’re not developing as a jiu jitsu fighter. You will eventually experience the dreaded plateau – we’ve all been there.
Plateaus can be extremely frustrating, and often demoralising if approached with the wrong mindset. Many choose to view plateaus as a sign that they are not developing as a fighter, often coming to the conclusion that they may never see their skills improve. For some, a plateau is too much to handle, and it’s enough for them to quit jiu jitsu all together. Whatever happens, don’t quit!
People generally feel they are experiencing plateaus judging by their success (or lack of) in sparring against training partners, but this is a very counter productive approach. If you are always conscious of how much perceived success you have in sparring, you will never open up your game and attempt new things. By stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new techniques, you may get swept, you may get mounted or submitted – but you will eventually see success as you refine your technique over time. By staying within the constraints of your tried and tested “A Game”, you are much more likely to experience plateaus, as your training partners will become familiar with your limited library of attacks and defences.
It is important that you view plateaus as opportunities and not problems. For example, if you’re tried and tested half guard game isn’t bringing you as much success as before, use this as an opportunity to work on developing another guard platform. It’s an exciting opportunity for development, not a sign of stagnation. Above all things, remember that by turning up regularly and giving 100% in each session, you WILL progress with time, even if you can’t see any short-term improvements. Enjoy the ride!