Restarting Jiu-Jitsu After a Break

Start Slow. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Sometimes life will catch up to you and you will miss a week, two weeks or maybe a few months or a year of Jiu-Jitsu. I have had several starts and stops over the years. I lost a year of training due to my time fighting in Iraq, 8 months to getting a new ACL, a solid month to bruised ribs, two weeks at a time here and there to vacations. It happens to us all. Maybe you just got tired or bored of Jiu-Jitsu or you met a girl and just didn’t have time to train for a while.

Getting re-started can be hard. You might have put on some weight. You are afraid you forgot everything you knew and are afraid of getting hurt.

The truth is Jiu-Jitsu is not like riding a bike. You don’t just pick it back up and start where you left off. It is a process of waking up your muscles to what they remember resetting your timing; waking up all of the little muscles you only use in Jiu-Jitsu; regaining your conditioning and stamina. Often your conditioning might be less than it was when you left and your mind will remember what to do, but your body won’t be able to execute like it used to do. You will be anxious and less confident than you were when you left.

The following tips helped me get back on track:

1. Think like a white belt again. Take everything slow. Remember, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” No matter what your level start with the basics. Focus on your highest percentage moves from each position. Don’t worry about what you don’t know for a few weeks and just start the process of remembering. You don’t actually forget anything. The connections to muscle memory just weaken over time and after they are woken up the connections will strengthen again.

2. Focus on relaxing while you roll. I have written about the importance of relaxation ad naseum, but it is a vital skill and will help you save enough energy to get through class; especially, if your conditioning is not what it once was.

3. Review your Jiu-Jitsu journal. If you don’t have one now is a good time to review previous lessons. If you have been training for a number of years pick a few of your favorite positions and read up and study them again. Concentrate on the details.

4. Have fun! Jiu-Jitsu is a blast. It is the main reason you keep restarting every time you leave.

Good training to you,

Anthony Butler

2 Responses to “Restarting Jiu-Jitsu After a Break”

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  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for the good info in this post. I wanted to ask of any tips or exercises you might use or know of for when actually away from training. My schedule’s been a little crazy lately, and I’ve missed out on some classes. I have a few grappling exercises I like, but I’m always looking for more–solo drills, stretches, workouts, etc. Any ideas? Thanks!

  2. Anthony Butler says:

    Hi Bill, I have been thinking on this one for a long while and I have a post in the works. Check back over the next few weeks.

    take care,