BJJ Progress Review: 6 Months

Dropping in to new gyms, battling lingering injuries, and finally seeing improvement from bottom.


📆July 6, 2024

Overall Training:

⌛️Total Training Hours: 70

🥋Belt: white + 1 stripe

🏋🏽‍♂️Training Focus: sweeps from mount and open guard defense

Learnings & Accomplishments:

Top 5 Techniques:
1. Upa Escape (Trap and Roll)

2. Tripod Sweep

3. Ezequiel Choke

4. Reverse Kimura Grip Setups

5. De La Riva Guard

  • Biggest Aha Moment: One Saturday I went to roll at a bigger local gym with more experienced athletes. These guys were only multi-stripe white belts and lower blue belts but they absolutely had their way with me. The biggest learning lesson: when on bottom, extend and frame your arms as necessary but always return to a protected position with your elbows in your chest. Lest you want to end up in an easy Kimura or arm bar…
  • Improvement Noticed: A big focus for me has been getting better at being on bottom in someone’s mount or side control. What leverage is available to sweep my opponent? Where do I need to keep my arms right now so I don’t get submitted? How can I shrimp out to create some space and frame? All things I still am working on but am seeing great improvement in.

Struggles & Challenges:

Top 3 Frustrations:
1. My wrist😭

2. My complete inability to sweep from closed guard

3. Not being able to finish submissions I know I have setup correctly (usually the triangle)

  • Injury Update:
    Wrist: Stopped wearing a brace for the better part of the last three months but the acute/dull pain seems to have reared its ugly head once more. I’m back to wearing a brace to help prevent it from being squeezed/bent when rolling. Frustrating.
    Lower back: Through rotational exercises, hamstring and lower-back stretches, krill oil, and overall adaptation: this seems to be a thing of the past mostly.
  • Overcoming a Challenge: Not a physical BJJ challenge but when I was in town visiting my parents, I decided to check out a local academy where they lived. I was a bit nervous to drop in and roll with strangers but it was one of the most fun classes I’ve had yet. The instructor was incredibly welcoming and the other students were friendly and kind. None were keen on giving me a “special welcome” to their gym and all were good training partners. It showed me the Jiu Jitsu community is overwhelmingly positive and welcoming and I can’t wait to continue dropping in to gyms in the future.


  • Short-Term Goal: Get my wrist back to a good place
  • Long-Term Goal: Figure out how to reliably sweep from closed guard

Things I Like:

  • Favorite Technique/Concept: Since my last update I’ve definitely made progress on takedowns/throws/whatever you want to call it. I watched a few videos and practiced with a buddy who helped me expand my repertoire beyond just single/double leg takedowns. Learning how to use the balance and inertia of your partner and the precise times you can stick your foot behind their ankle for an effortless takedown has been exciting.

Free Thinking:

I’ve now trained at three different gyms for various reasons during my first six months of practicing this martial art with pros and cons at each. But there’s one thing I can definitely say people were right about: the most important aspect to picking a gym to train at is distance to your home/work. Even a thirty minute commute proved to be an hour wasted each time I wanted to train. This never deterred me from going when I wanted to but the time and cost savings of now being at a gym only seven minutes from my home are significant.

Something that’s been kind of funny and noteworthy is the amount of compliments and jealous eyes I get on my Origin, a.k.a “Jocko Gi”, as it’s often referred to by people that roll with me. It’s the only gi that I have ever owned so I don’t know any different but people can’t stop talking about how soft and cool it is… So I guess that’s a plus. If you can’t be good at BJJ, you might as well be “soft and cool”.

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