Alternative Ways to Measure Progress in Jiu Jitsu

Published on by Samantha Faulhaber


Unconventional Progress Measures
If you train often and recover properly you will see results. Here are a few progress markers that aren’t as obvious as “tapping people more often”:

Staying Calm Longer
The ability to stay calm in grappling situations is the most important thing anyone can learn from Jiu-Jitsu. I am putting my foot down about this. Without the learned ability to stay calm under close contact and pressure, you can’t function for very long. Does less stuff bother you than when you started, or last month, or last year? You’ve made progress. If you are able to be bored and frustrated enough while someone is trying to choke you unconscious to stress about your skill progression it means you are not really plateauing.

More Confidence in Your Movements
Even your movements don’t always work like you intended, you are now able to wriggle around on your back and sides on the floor attempting them than you were when you walked into the academy. The connection between your brain and your body has grown exponentially. Every time you step on the mat you are learning how to control yourself better in every way. You are getting better at literally anything you are doing at any time. The amount of time you spend on it will determine how high your brain and cellular makeup priorities and allows for it. Your body and mind are very accommodating to anything you insist on pursuing often enough. Make more of your life conscious and you’ll start to mold yourself in an image you actually want.

Social Interaction
This may sound dumb to you, but maybe you don’t sit around and think about the evolution of humans as often as I do. We were evolved to move often and exist in social groups for optimal survival. Society today prioritizes being alone. Most people go to work, come home to a house with either themselves or only their immediate (one spouse, significant other, or otherwise one generation) household, and repeat. Yet we look at kids that aren’t “well-socialized” as being works in progress. I don’t think that “well-socialized” means “doing what you’re told or what society says is normal.” I think it means the ability to interact with others even in challenging environments without causing harm but while also standing your ground. The variety of people you come into direct contact with on the mat is hard to easily recreate.

The other benefit to live training is its places responsibility on your own actions and tests you constantly. Resilience is created by pushing, growing, and challenging. Maybe you have a group of friends that you go out with on a regular basis. Do they ever test you? Or is a polite circle of people recycling the same jokes for fear of stepping outside the norms your circle has established? Are you having fun? Great – this isn’t a jab at anything that makes you happy. Jiu-Jitsu alone can serve as the challenge your body and brain needs to thrive. Even if you don’t get in great philosophical debates with your training partners you stand and test yourselves together physically day in and day out, and that kind of communication is excellent for growth.