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  • Writer's pictureBJJ Report | Matthew Tropp

Why Plateauing in BJJ Can Be Considered Good!


Plateauing in BJJ
Can Plateauing in BJJ Be Good?

If you've been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) for a while, you may have experienced the dreaded plateau phase. It's that period where it feels like you're not making any progress, no matter how hard you train. While these plateaus can be frustrating, they can also be incredibly beneficial for your growth as a martial artist. Here are five reasons why hitting a plateau in BJJ can be good for you and how it helps you become more comfortable with your current skillset, even though you don't feel like you're advancing.


1. Refinement of Existing BJJ Techniques


Plateauing provides an invaluable opportunity to focus on refining your existing techniques. When you first start learning BJJ, there's a lot of emphasis on picking up new moves and submissions. However, as you advance, it's crucial to perfect the fundamentals. During a plateau, you have the chance to polish your techniques, ensuring that they are executed with precision and efficiency.


Example: I once faced a minor injury that forced me to take a break from intense training. Although it felt like a setback, this period allowed me to focus on refining my existing techniques. I spent hours revisiting the available moves I had in my arsenal, and this led to a deeper understanding and improved execution when I returned to full training.


2. Greater Understanding of BJJ Strengths and Weaknesses


A plateau phase can help you gain a better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. Without the distraction of constantly learning new techniques, you can take the time to analyze what you're good at and what needs improvement. This self-awareness encourages a more strategic and thoughtful approach to both training and competition.


Example: There was a time when consistent training didn't seem to yield visible improvements. However, I realized that my muscle memory had significantly improved, and I was more comfortable with the techniques and timing. This newfound awareness of my strengths and weaknesses helped me strategize better when rolling.


3. Mental and Physical Recovery In BJJ


Plateaus can serve as a much-needed opportunity for mental and physical recovery. BJJ is a physically demanding sport, and continuous training without breaks can lead to burnout or injury. Use this plateau phase to rest, recover, and come back stronger. This approach promotes longevity in the sport and ensures that you stay injury-free.


Example: During a particularly intense training period, I hit a plateau and felt mentally exhausted. Instead of pushing through, I took the time to rest and focus on lighter drills. This break allowed me to return to the mats refreshed and with renewed enthusiasm.


4. Building Resilience and Mental Toughness In BJJ


Overcoming plateaus requires perseverance and adaptability. These phases are not just about physical skills but also about mental fortitude. Learning to push through these challenging times builds resilience and mental toughness—traits that can be crucial for success in BJJ and martial arts in general.


Example: I vividly remember struggling with a specific move during a plateau phase. It took months of strategic adjustments and mental toughness to finally break through. This experience made me more resilient and taught me the value of persistence.


5. New Learning Opportunities In BJJ


Plateaus can be gateways to new learning opportunities. When you feel stuck, it's a great time to seek guidance from more experienced practitioners. Whether it's your coach, a senior belt, or even peers, learning from others during a plateau phase can lead to breakthroughs and introduce new perspectives and strategies.


Example: During one of my plateau phases despite feeling like I hadn't made much progress during my rolls, I realized my technical precision and calmness under pressure had improved significantly. This success motivated me to continue seeking guidance from experienced peers, leading to further growth.


Conclusion


While plateauing in BJJ can be disheartening, it's important to recognize the hidden benefits it offers. By focusing on refining existing techniques, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, allowing for recovery, building resilience, and seeking new learning opportunities, you can turn a plateau into a period of significant growth.


In my opinion everyone is different. Some need a break, some need to push through and some should just be patient. Remember what it was like to be a white belt? The never ending wait for a break through or getting your first tap? Is this also a plateau? Food for thought....


Train safe and train often...


Matthew Tropp | BJJ Report


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