I have had the honor of watching a lot of people start Jiu Jitsu. Some will start like a bull out of the gate and go to as many classes as possible whenever they can. Others will find a couple classes a week and that will be their set schedule that doesn’t change. Some will start and stop with what seems like a random fashion. The question comes up a lot of how often should someone who is new to Jiu Jitsu be training. People have busy lives and want to make sure they set aside enough time to get good at the new hobby they have started. Unfortunately, finding the perfect balance can be hard because there is a lot of things to consider.
Learning Jiu Jitsu or any form of self-defense is a large undertaking. You will need to spend time learning the strategy of the martial arts and then you will also have to spend the time drilling the techniques to perfect the movement of your body. Once you have done that, you will need time to practice in a sparring situation to develop the practical side of the technique. That is why it is important to keep the long term in mind when you start training Jiu Jitsu. Most people will ask me how many days a week they should be training when they start. I think that scope is too small. I would love for people to think of months and years instead of days and weeks. There are so many things to learn and the long-term focus is important. Each week can have its own complications in them. In some weeks, it may be easier for you to train more than others. That doesn’t mean the week your couldn’t train much was a waste. It is very important to keep the long-term goals in mind because it can help take away the anxiety of not know what you are doing. You are not expected to remember everything you learn in the beginning. Many of the techniques you will forget until you revisit them again in the future. But that’s the trick. You will revisit them in the FUTURE and you when are ready to understand and remember you will. A bright future in Jiu Jitsu is much more likely with some long term thinking and goal setting.
Ok, now for the real answer. How many days a week should someone who is knew with Jiu Jitsu be training? Simple answer is 2-3days a week but it’s not that easy. You need to consider a lot of things when coming up with your own answer. Thinking about things like age, diet, physical abilities, work schedule, marital status, kids, and all other general life situations. The 40+ year old man starting Jiu Jitsu will not have the same situation as the 20-year-old ex-wrestler. Kids bounce back faster than adults and can handle doing a physical class more often in the begging but their scheduling may not allow them to train as often as an adult. You can use the 2-3 days a week as a general guide to starting and see how your body and your life adapt. The most important thing is to look at yourself individually and be honest with yourself of what your capabilities and goals are. The worst thing you can do is watch everyone else and have the though “if they can do I can do.” Even if it’s true and you can do it that doesn’t mean is the most efficient path for yourself.
The Over Trainer
This person is in ever age group and gender and includes myself. The over trainer will charge head first into starting Jiu Jitsu. They will go to every class, day or night, rain or shine. The idea of “more is better” is very strong with this person. This attitude comes with a lot of benefits to starting Jiu Jitsu but it also has a couple very distinct downsides.
The first downside is how much can your body handle. We all have our limits. Maybe your limit it 2x a day 5 days a week. Maybe your limit is 2 classes a week. Where ever your limit is you should respect it and not go past it. Sometimes are minds are very excited about a new move you learned in Jiu Jitsu class but your body has had enough. The likely hood of inquiry is so much higher if you have pushed past that limit kept going. Or, your immune system would take a dive because it can’t keep up with the new demands and you get sick (that was me). Either way you are out of training longer then it would have been had you just taken a day off. Working your way up to training more often is important. Don’t be in a rush to get to the end result.
The second common issues the over trainer has is taking to much time away from your personal life. Most people have a whole bunch of stuff going on in their lives. It is important to remember those things when starting Jiu Jitsu or any new hobby. Between both Gracie Carlsbad and Gracie San Marcos we have a very full schedule and can allow for classes every day, evening, or night. It can be easy for someone who is excited to neglect some parts of their lives and spend all the time with their new hobby of Jiu Jitsu. Sadly, dogs don’t walk themselves and significant others done take themselves on dates. Inevitably those neglected things will come back at you and eventually want your attention. Now your Jiu Jitsu hobby and your personal life are conflicting and pulling on you for your attention instead of building your life to be stronger. Time management is important.
The Under Trainer
There is so much to learn in Jiu Jitsu and its a perishable knowledge. If you don’t use it you will lose it. This idea is important for everyone who trains Jiu Jitsu but is even more important for the person who is within the first year. Repetition is how you develop martial arts. When you take a week off here and a month off there you will lose what that repetition has given you. You may not lose it all but having the idea that you could do something better 2 months ago and now you are somehow worse is not going to give you a positive feeling towards what you are working on. Life gets busy and if you are used to training 3 or 4 days a week it is ok to go once a week for a couple weeks so you can take care of things. It is not good to just stop Jiu Jitsu all together. Not only will your game suffer but Jiu Jitsu give your more than that. The exercise is a great stress relief and will help clear your mind of the outside world. Gracie Carlsbad and Gracie San Marcos are blessed to have a great family atmosphere and being around like minded people is also a good break from the day. Generally, the busier you are the more stress goes along with that and the more you need to keep training. Don’t forget to burn all that extra energy off by staying consistent with training. The martial arts can be used to heal your body and soul.
Discovering how often you should be training to coincide with your life and health is important. If you can accomplish this then it will help secure a long-term practice with minimal plateaus within your Jiu Jitsu life.