Goodbye to a dear friend…my first training journal.

As much as I hate to do it I have to say good-bye to a dear friend this week. This friend has been my constant companion on my BJJ journey for over a year and I’m really sad to see them go. Luckily, though, I already have another one to take their place.

The “friend” I am referring to is my Jiu-Jitsu Log training journal. As you can see it has been well used over the last 14 months of training and I can honestly say it has made a bigger impact on my BJJ than just about anything else.

I first read about the Jiu-Jitsu Log and the idea of keeping a training journal in the book Zen Jiu-Jitsu: How to Improve Your Game 100% in 30 Days. Like most white belts I was looking for any edge I could find to speed up my learning curve and this book was a gold mine of tips that I recommend to every new white belt I talk to.

Having nothing to do with techniques, it instead focused on the habits that would make the strongest foundation for you to learn techniques from. While I am simplifying things a lot, it broke down to 3 steps:

1) Figure out what you need to work on.

2) Develop a plan to drill and practice those techniques.

3) Keep a training journal to force you to be mindful about your practice.

The key to the whole thing was being mindful when you are rolling and drilling and while you could do it without it, the training journal makes the whole process so much easier.

For starters, if you know you are going to have to write something down in your journal you will start to pay a bit more attention when you train and drill. Sitting down and drawing a blank about what you worked on that day isn’t a good sign about your level of mindfulness.

Second, the act of writing some key points down about a technique you learned or some refinements you made to a technique you already knew will literally activate the brains subconscious memory. This means that you are able to impress the memory of those techniques and lessons deeper than if you didn’t write if down in a training journal.

The truth is that 5-10 minutes after class writing some things down in your journal is worth far more than an hour of watching techniques on YouTube. And that, my friend, is the key to speeding up your learning curve in BJJ.

Now, a quick word on what to look for in a journal. I personally feel that there is a lot of value in actually writing your notes in a journal rather than using an app on your phone and typing them in. Again, the brain makes a connection with the act of physical writing it doesn’t with typing and this is one case where low-tech trumps high-tech methods.

You can get a simple spiral bound note book and use it to keep track of:

– The date

– Who taught

– What drills you did

– The techniques you learned/ practiced

– Who else was in class (this is especially helpful in learning new people’s names)

As you can guess, I personally use and recommend The Jiu-Jitsu Journal. I have no affiliation with them, I just found their journal to be really easy to keep track of things and plus it just feels cool pulling out a journal made for BJJ.

Whatever you end up using, make sure you are keeping a training journal. I’ve logged almost every class, seminar and private lesson I did over the last year in this one and I plan on filling up this new one even faster.

So how about you? Do you keep a training journal and have any tips on using them or what to keep track of? I’d love to hear your thoughts, just leave a comment below this post.

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Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson

BJJ Strength Training Systems

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