Everyone experiences it at one time or another. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to shake it. It seems like you can’t learn anything new. Baseball players can be in a slump. A writer can get writer’s block. Unfortunately the plateau seems to be a part of the human experience.
But sometimes they seem to be just too difficult to overcome. Have you noticed that a lot of students will quit once they achieve blue belt status? The just don’t seem to improve past that point even thought they have learned and developed enough to earn that rank.
For some people a plateau can just be in their head. But for others there are a lot of problems that prevent them from being able to move on to that next level.
If you find your jiu jitsu stuck at a plateau or feeling like its stalled out completely, here are some things that you can think about that might help.
You will never ever be able to increase your knowledge of jiu jitsu like you did when you were a beginner. This makes a lot of sense. When you got started you knew absolutely nothing. So when you start from nothing, everything you learn makes you increase your knowledge by 100%. So as you grow and progress, still learning and gaining experience, it can feel as if each increase in knowledge is much smaller than your first lessons. But that’s how it is with anything new; you will never learn as much overall knowledge as you did when you were just a white belt. You just need to adjust your way of thinking. Instead, you need to focus on learning different variations of the techniques that you already know in order to fine-tune and hone your skills.
Learn to “go deep” with your techniques and skills instead of going wide. Do you do one technique again and again, or many techniques just a few times each? If you spend your time trying to add new techniques instead of mastering the skills you already have, you will never master anything. Bruce Lee once said, “I don’t fear the man that can do 10,000 kicks one time; I fear the man that has done one kick 10,000 times.”
Getting enough sleep is important to breaking that plateau. Research studies have shown how learning and athletic performance can be negatively impacted by a lack of sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep each night will also help your body to recover from intense workouts and injuries. The experts say that 7-9 hours of sleep is needed for an adult each night. 9-10 hours of sleep is needed for adolescents and teens. Recent studies have shown that if an athlete gets 10 hours of sleep or more, he will be able to perform skills that require coordination and accuracy and be able to run much faster.
Is your workout “work” or are you making it fun? Don’t think about problems at work or at home when you workout. You can’t bring your stress with you onto the mats or your training will suffer from these distractions. Stress can multiply itself and affect you in many ways. If you allow your stress to follow you into your workout and training, your performance will be affected, resulting in even more stress. Stress can quickly becoming a never-ending loop of anxiety – if you allow it. When you go to the mats you should push away all of the things that cause you stress in life. You need to figure out a way to separate your jiu jitsu training from everything else in your life from the outside world.
Don’t allow a plateau to kill your jiu jitsu career – learn something new. A plateau is a frustration that has been experienced by each and every jiu jitsu player at one point or another. Everyone from novice all the way on up to world champion level has experienced some form of stalled progress. It is important at this point to not give up and to just keep training. You need to work hard to break yourself out of that slump, using the same mental strength and conviction that you have used before to defeat an opponent that once seemed to be invincible. Once you break through you will become stronger – mentally, emotionally and physically.