Creating your own BJJ Planner: The simple act of note taking doubles your chances of success

The simple act of writing information down is scientifically proven to vastly increase your odds of permanently retaining that information. The same is true when it comes to BJJ. The reasons for this and what studies suggest is that when we write we are using different neural pathways to digest the information, cementing it more firmly in the mind. That process, and not the notes themselves, is what helps fix ideas more firmly in our heads, leading to superior recall down the line.


Even if you’re too busy or too tired to log, you must take time to do so. Here’s the scenario: Beginner A does not have a planner while Beginner B keeps one everywhere he goes. Beginner A attends the instructions, rolls, drills, and forgets 25% of what he learned while B put down his specific rolling and drilling goals and tries to achieve them every day. Who does better in his training?


If you don’t have structured plans and goals, you tend to drift in your jiu-jitsu training. Whereas if you have a planner, you’re more focused, more informed with your progress, more skilled in prioritizing your activities, and more chances of achieving your goals on the mat and out of it. You might be the future BJJ champion. Yay!



Benefits of A Planner


  1. Manage Time Productively

If you’re a high school or university student training on BJJ, you still have other activities.  You need to attend your classes, do your homework and projects, and study for your exams. Besides, you also need recreation time with your family and friends. When you have a job, you need to divide your time between your career, personal life, recreation, and your martial arts.


As a white belt, you can use the planner to organize your schedule such as putting a time slot for your drilling and rolling. So, if you have a strict schedule, you’re less likely to be sidetracked. You don’t have to skip school for your martial arts activities and vice versa. You can go to your BJJ classes and training regularly and not tend to forget you need to go to the gym.


Life is full of distractions, so if you’re a serious jiu-jitsu practitioner, you can use the planner as a reminder. You can check it out daily: what you need to do for the day, where to go, and who to meet up. In short. You can put all your activities in the planner, assigning the time and the date, the duration, and the place. It may look like this:






Daily Activities                                                                                              Date: April 16, 2019

Good morning world! Time for another challenge and success.

Things To Do

Duration

Time

Place

Attend classes

3 hours

8:30-11:30

Eng’g Building

Lunch break

1 hour

11:30-12:30

Cafe

Study for exam

1 hour

12:30-1:30

Library

Attend classes

3 hours

1:30-4:30

Arts Building

BJJ training

2 hours

5:00-7:00

Gym

Eat dinner with family

1 hour

7:30-8:30

Home

Review my BJJ moves and techniques

1 hour

8:30-9:30

Family room

Time to get a good night sleep. Looking forward to another day and learning another technique.


You can be more specific to include other mundane things if you dig to write. Treat your planner as your close friend, someone to talk to, share your activities, feelings, dreams, and aspirations. If you put your schedule into writing, you can find time for unforeseen situations such as fetching your younger brother if both of your parents are not available.

 

You can create your own BJJ Planner by building something like this:


Daily Activities                                                                                             

 Date: April 15, 2019

Good morning world! Time for another challenge and success.

Things To Do

Duration

Time

Place

Attend classes

3 hours

8:30-11:30

Eng’g Building

Lunch break

1 hour

11:30-12:30

Cafe

Study for exam

1 hour

12:30-1:30

Library

Attend classes

3 hours

1:30-4:30

Arts Building

Fetch Liam

30 minutes

4:30-5:00

High School

BJJ training

2 hours

5:15-7:15

Gym

Eat dinner with family

1 hour

7:45-8:45

Home

Review my BJJ moves and techniques

1 hour

8:45-9:45

Family room

Time to get a good night sleep. Looking forward to another day and learning another technique.


  1. Set Realistic Goals

You can also set your goals and make action plans to reach them.  When you have a planner, you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve. Instead of just a hazy idea in your mind, it comes into focus when you write it down. It does not only remain as an idea but becomes a reality. So, at the end of the day, you can compare your actual performance from your goals.


You will figure out the techniques that work for you with the use of a training planner. When the key detail of a certain technique impresses on you, it can have a profound effect on how you play your game. It can become one of your go-to or “A-game” techniques. Smart training is the most effective and efficient way to progress to a blue belt. You can create it like this:


          Date: _____________                                                            Trainer: _______________

Quote of the Day: ______________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Training Goals: _________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Technique 1:______________________________________________________________________________________________

Steps: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Critical details: _________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Technique 2:______________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Critical details: _________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Other important details: ______________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


My progress for the day: _____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


On the next page after your daily activities schedule, you can compose your BJJ mat goals for the same day, with steps on how to achieve them. You can also put quotations or motivating ideas to uplift your spirit and encourage you. Also, with the planner, you can prepare yourself to be in a proper mindset early in the morning for your training later in the day.


Put down all the critical details of your rolling: what are the moves that you did well, what are the moves that you need to improve, what grappling techniques you have mastered, and what techniques you need to work on. You can put your short-term and long-term goals since it takes an average of 2 to 3 years to pass to the next level if you are a white belt.


At the start of the month, note down your monthly goals. Break it down into weekly goals, then to daily goals. As you review your notes for the whole month or week, you can see the progression of your training and the improvements you’re showing. You can also see how regular you are in your BJJ training and how long you develop your skills and abilities.


If you do not own our Jitsu Planner, I suggest you compose your own notes something like this:


          Date: April 15, 2019                                                                                  Trainer: Stan

Quotes of the Day: “Progress, however small, is still progress.”

                              “Don’t underestimate your opponent. Always fight to win.”       

My training goals: 1. Avoid being submitted when I find myself in the bottom of a side mount.

                             2. Maintain my control over my opponent on a side mount.            

Technique 1: Side control


Step 1: Perpendicular to my opponent as he lies on his back.

Step 2: My chest on his chest, increase pressure to stabilize my position.

Step 3: Execute head and arms control to make him submit.


Critical details: My opponent Ethan is also a fast learner. He almost escaped but I was pretty quick since I already memorized my moves and it was just reflex for me.

Technique 2: Arm-lock from side-control.


Step 1: Start from the side-control position.

Step 2: Make sure my leg is tight against his shoulder.

Step 3: Use my hand to push his wrist down.

Step 4: Pass my bottom leg (left) over the top of his right wrist and lock his arm.

Step 5: Place my right leg over the left to lock the triangle.


Critical details: I need to develop my reflexes and flexibility. More stretching, strengthening and range-of-motion exercises to improve my skill in side-control to prepare for a bigger and stronger opponent.

Other important details: I made Ethan submit after 3 times of rolling. At the first and second try, I wasn’t quick enough, so I need to exercise my muscles to make them strong and agile.

My progress for the day: Learned the armbar from side-control and made Ethan tap. High five for me! Note to self: Ethan is a bit bigger than me.


It’s clear in your mind the techniques to execute if you wrote them down. You have realistic, achievable, and structured goals so you can develop action plans to reach them. If you train this way, you can easily learn and remember the basic techniques of jiu-jitsu. You might be ahead in your training and you can be promoted to blue belt earlier than the average training period.


The critical details show you the areas where you’re weak or strong. There’s still room for improvement so you enhance both your weak spots and strong points. By writing them down, you can analyze the outcome of your training on that day. It’s called “directed training” because you have the goal, the purpose which is based on facts, not gut feeling.


  1. Track Your BJJ Journey

Below your BJJ goals, make another line for your rolling progress with your teammates or fellow students. You can track your daily, weekly, and monthly progress if you have the planner. You don’t need to try to remember when you perfected the side control. You only have to flip your notes and there it is, complete with steps, partner, and the date.


Not only you can track your skills, but you can also track how many hours you have mastered the technique, the number of hours you’ve have spent rolling, drilling, and attending BJJ classes and seminars. It’s a known fact that the best BJJ players spent thousands of hours rolling on the mat and drilling techniques. So, you can quantify this if you have a planner.


If you have a planner, you can also track your physical and mental health. It can be informative if you’re under stress, busy with other activities, or you’ve been injured. You can be more specific and personal. Detailed and relevant information are better than general and vague. Remember, you’re not the only one who can benefit from your notes but the next generation to come.


When you become a champion, you can go back to your notes and share with your students your best practices. When you have retired from competitions, you can use your planner to become the best instructor you can be by using your actual experiences. You get insights on how you’ve overcome difficult training and matches and teach them to your proteges.


  1. Retaining Information

Can you rely on your memory to retain several years of information? Surely not. There are so much to learn and memorize it’s possible you might feel overwhelmed with information overload. That’s why you need to take note and write down your training activities, goals, and progress. Your planner helps you to develop a step by step approach in learning BJJ.


The planner gives you a venue to record information such as new moves or techniques. You make an external memory in the form of your planner. It gives you a factual basis to make decisions such as what technique to use as your “A-game” or “B-game”, resolves training issues, and making intelligent decisions to progress on your jiu-jitsu.


Having a planner makes you concentrate, to focus on your training and set your priorities. When you write down what you need to do before going to the mat, you are more confident because you have already decided what technique to use and how to execute them. According to Sir Francis Bacon, “Knowledge is power.”, so use it to have an advantage over your opponent.



Ways to Improve Note Taking


The savvier you are in writing on your planner, the more successful you will be in your training. It’s just the case of getting into the habit. Once you develop the routine, it comes to you as second nature. After a while, you already know the format, the style, what contents to write, and what details to note down after listening to your trainer, drilling, and rolling on the mat.


  1. Write in the Morning

Your mind is still fresh early in the morning and free from stress. A stress-free mind is more creative, alert, active, and full of ideas. Keep your planner on your bedside table. Once you’re fully awake, reach it and start to log your thoughts. You still remember yesterday’s training which you reviewed the night before, so it’s easy to conceptualize another goal and action plans.


If you’re not a morning person, set the time of the day where you’re most productive which obviously at night time. So, after you review your training before bedtime, you can jot down your activities of the day and your training plans for the next day. Or whenever is comfortable for you, you can write on your planner as long as you make it into a habit.


  1. Make It Into A Routine

Whenever you schedule to write on your planner, whether evening, midday, or evening, the point is to make it into a routine. You perform it regularly and become part of your daily activities. That’s a great idea! Why don’t you put it into your “things to do”, so even if you don’t feel like writing, you are required to do it. Even if you’re busy you must make time for your planner.


Sometimes, you could not avoid deviating from your routine due to unavoidable circumstances. However, make use of your free time like waiting for your dentist’s appointment or in your car at the parking lot. The point is, never let the day go by without writing down on your planner. It takes discipline and you need to develop it if you want to progress in your training.






  1. Keep It Simple But Detailed

No need to write in long sentences with every mundane detail (well, if you’re a writer why not). Keep it simple, precise, and direct to the point. You can use a highlighter to emphasize important details. Try not to use a lot of lines and arrows. They make your notes disorganized and messy. Use bullet points or number system for effective note writing.


Bullet points and numbering can help highlight important information and direct you quickly to the main idea. They make your planner more readable and organized than the prose type. If you need more details of your training such as your diet and exercises, you can make another templates on the next page of your planner with the same date.


  1. Be Positive

Keep your planner with a positive attitude. Granted you won’t always achieve your daily goal such as learning a technique because it takes time. However, when you wrote down that you failed, bring positivity into it such as “Tomorrow this is going to be my goal again and again until I learned the right move. Don’t give up!” Learn to talk positively to yourself.


How to start positive thoughts through your planner? Don’t be too hard on yourself by knowing your potentials and limitations. Also, give yourself a pep-talk. Now you understand why you have the ‘quote of the day” portion? It’s not just being cute, but to evoke your enthusiasm and increase your determination to succeed.