I can’t tell you how long it took me to learn to take notes in class. It seems like every class I would learn a move and the next class I had forgotten some of the details. I would go to do the move and not even realize that my hand was in the wrong place or my hips weren’t where they were supposed to be. I did this for over a year.

It wasn’t until I went to a seminar and I saw a black belt taking notes that I got the idea. If he’s doing it, that means I probably should. I began taking notes and when my dojo would announce what moves they were working on for that day, I would just go back to those pages! This way you don’t have to learn everything again and you can take more detailed notes. You are learning new parts every time jiu jitsu moves are covered in class. Plus I find just writing it down helps me remember the technique more than if I was just watching.

Now I’ll admit I felt a little weird about bringing a note book out during Brazilian jiu jitsu instruction, but soon my instructor started hinting to everyone that it would be a good idea. After all you don’t go to high school or college classes and sit through the class and remember everything do you? Well if you do you don’t need this forum, but if you’re like most of us you remember more if you take notes. Give it a shot, once I started it got me over my biggest hurdle to succeeding in bjj competition, remembering what I had learned.

There is something else great about taking notes. You know all of those awesome dvds and videos showing jiu jitsu moves that your instructors hate (all of you “Youtube Ninjas”)? You can actually watch them and compare them to your notes. This will let help you remember specifics of each move and allow you to compare instruction. You can then wow your BJJ instructor when you ask him why other schools teach different versions.

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When I first started sparring I would go into class just looking to “wing it”, that is do whatever bjj moves came to me. But I never seemed able to react quick enough to my opponents, and I wasn’t able to remember key parts of the moves I was using.

One day I was talking to a purple belt about my frustration. He explained that I was going about it all wrong. Sparring is practice, not a mini grappling tournament. I should be using my notes every day and picking one or two moves to focus on. This way they would be fresh in my head and I would be looking for when to use them.

I began to pick a couple of moves every week to focus on. I would read my notes (not jiu jitsu videos) and refresh the key details that make them work. I would pick either the top game or the guard to focus on and then what jiu jitsu moves to go with from there. Either it was a guard pass, one submission (armbar, etc), and a transition (like knee on belly), or a sweep, a submission, and a set-up.

I saw results immediately. As I was sparring I began to notice when moves work and when they don’t, and began to recognize the set ups for these positions. Any bjj black belt they would never try a scissor sweep on an opponent sitting back on his heels, this wasn’t as obvious to me until I tried nothing but the scissor sweep for a week. Instead a forcing it with muscle or giving up on it, I began to recognize when to use the technique and how to get my opponent to move into the set up position.

At my next bjj tournament, it really paid off. Instead of letting it fly, I went out with an idea of what I was going to do. While I wasn’t Royce Gracie or anything, I was able to recognize what moves to use in and felt like I flowed the entire time. I was rewarded by winning my first tournament, with a triangle choke set up from an opponent attempting to pass my guard. You guessed it, I worked guard that week!

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Welcome to my new blog, Jiu Jitsu Moves. I train with some of the best jiu jitsu players in the United States and they give me great advice everyday. My idea was to create a forum where I could pass on that advice. I train with people like Mike Fowler, J.T. Torres, MMA great Mike Easton, his sister Nijah Easton, Willie Leonard, DJ “The Kimura Kid” Jackson, and of course master Lloyd Irvin. Well to say I train with them makes them sound like they are peers, more like they train me but I learn something new every day. It’s my goal to get 1% everyday and then pass that information on to you. Please take a look at the site and let me know what you’d like to see more of or any questions you’d like me to try and get answers for you, thanks for looking!

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