BJJ Progress Review: 1 Month

Learning basic sweeps, injuries, and how I'm accelerating my BJJ growth with only being able to attend class approximately 3 times per week.


📆February 1, 2024

Overall Training:

🎓Number of Classes Attended: 11 (approximately 3 per week)

⌛️Total Training Hours: 14

🥋Belt: white

🏋🏽‍♂️Training Focus: sweeps and guard escapes

Learnings & Accomplishments:

Top 5 Techniques:
1. Escaping closed guard

2. Scissor sweep

3. Pendulum sweep

4. Americana submission

5. Arm bar submission

  • Biggest Aha Moment: learning what the goal of BJJ even is (escape/pass opponent’s guard, sweep and submit when you have opponent in your guard).
  • Improvement Noticed: my ability to roll for longer without getting completely gassed is definitely improving—part of that is due to reducing my spastic urges to roll like a wrestler.

Struggles & Challenges:

Top 3 Frustrations:

1. Getting my body to do what I want it to (few moves come naturally)

2. When opponents are in your closed guard and they just bear their entire weight on your throat via their elbow

3. My bad habits lingering from wrestling resulting in guillotines

  • Injury Update:
    Wrist: an acute injury I sustained about midway through the month when I was rolling stupidly. I tried to extend my arm too quickly through my partner’s armhole resulting in a hyperextension. Lesson learned is to slow down and be more intentional with my movements.
    Lower back: what will likely be an ongoing battle during my BJJ training, my lower back has been consistently sore the morning after class.
  • Overcoming a Challenge: just learning the basics of BJJ and what classifies a successful roll has been, in itself, a tremendous challenge. Breaking my counterproductive habits and tendencies from a past with high school wrestling has been a struggle.


  • Short-Term Goal: Work on passing people’s guard
  • Long-Term Goal: Get my first submission

Things I Like:

  • Favorite Technique/Concept: Although way above my level of expertise, I went to a class that started with working technique on the baseball choke. Like everything in BJJ there’s more than one way to skin a cat but seeing one variation of this choke opened my eye to the beauty and creativity in how many ways there are to submit someone.

Free Thinking:

Overall this month has been a lot of fun. I actually changed gyms about halfway through which was a great decision. The first gym I went to was pretty small and not a ton of students resulting in inconsistent partner availability and coaching. I also wasn’t too pumped on what seemed to be a sub-standard level of cleanliness. The second gym I tried out (a chain) was awesome in every way that matters to me at my current ability level and I’ve been much happier with the training across the board.

I watched a video of Ryan Hall (I think this one with Lex) and he mentioned he got really good at BJJ really fast by just drilling a ton in the beginning. That caught my attention and so in this first month I would say on top of class I also would drill with a buddy separately about once a week for an hour. We would work basic drills I learned from class in the beginning to hammer our muscle memory and then we’d goof around and show each other cool YouTube videos we had seen during the week of techniques that we wanted to try. I think that’s been huge in my growth.

So far I’m loving this new sport I’ve found and am definitely sticking with it for the foreseeable future.

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