I’m just over three years into training Jiu Jitsu, coming from a background as a college football player and an author of a book on data analytics in football. For the first few years of training, I didn’t create any sort of studying method for the sport other than showing up, being taught, and knowing that as I became more familiar with the language of Jiu Jitsu, I would find my way for studying the game.
Thankfully for me, I know the creator of The Jiu-Jitsu Planner, Ben Potesky, and over the last few months it's helped give me a better framework for studying the game.
There are seven sections in the planner with each serving a purpose that lends itself to improving your ability to practice Jiu Jitsu:
- Training Tracker
- Training Schedule
- Training Autopsy
- Pay Attention to Your Body
- Supplements & Medication
- Competition Tracker
- Extra Notes & Indexing
I recently had a conversation with Brandon Mccaghren of 10th Planet Decatur where he expressed that his learning process came with the philosophy of how you learn anything is how you’ll learn anything. As a football player, I repeatedly took notes when we installed our offense every spring and fall. With studying the game of football, I took on the philosophy of writing about the domain of NFL contracts and the salary cap as a means for gaining the understanding that has led to my position in the industry as a sought after analyst.
The Jiu Jitsu Planner is the piece that finally gave me the context to study the game in a way that flows with how I’ve learned other domains. When I came to football, I came with years of time spent studying the game which led to my understanding there, but in Jiu Jitsu, my novice perspective needed the perspective this planner provides.
The planner provides all of this perspective in one place as well, which gives me one notebook to collect all of the details that go into my training, so I can continue to learn and adjust. It’s provided me the space to track things I’ve been trying to track in my head for years with the act of putting it in one place providing me the data to work towards my objective of working towards becoming a highly competitive 10th Planet black belt.
First, the training tracker and training schedule provide me the ability to, obviously, track what I’m doing for training on and off the mat. For years, I’ve loosely kept track in regular calendars what I would do each day: Jiu Jitsu, lifting, cardio, yoga, etc. Along with the “Pay Attention To Your Body” section, this book provides me with the data to understand how training was affecting my body and stay accountable to each aspect of training as to stay healthy for the mat.
With the various injuries I deal with (don’t we all), understanding the balance between yoga, lifting, stretching, and cardio work with my Jiu Jitsu practice is critical for me. I had begun to feel a bit run down, looked at my planner and recognized the need to cut back on heavy, mass building lifting, but instead scale back my lifting towards higher reps.
Those sections provide me with the ability to understand how to structure my training for health. The Training Autopsy and Competition Tracker sections allow me to understand how to structure my mind around the sport of Jiu Jitsu.
Training autopsies provide us with the space to compartmentalize the night’s lesson from class into its most concise form, raising key questions to a Jiu Jitsu player that helps get to the main point of the day. When I write an article about football, I create an outline of what the main points of what I’m trying to say are, then I put every other point below that.
This book gives me a quick way to generate the main points of the day’s lessons from the mat, which creates the framework for understanding the 10th Planet system.
Essentially: “We did standing passes today. I need to rep out more standing passes as I’m too reliant on pressure passes. I need to give myself more options. I need to write down what the main standing passes are, so that I cement them into my head for every time I’m in a position to use a pass.”
The competition tracker helps you track the main points of every competition that you enter. In a recent competition that I won, I was able to acknowledge the strengths I displayed, while also recognizing my need to get better.
Essentially: “Cardio is great. My concept of cardio, strength, and consistently rolling with people who are better than me in practice to solidify my defense is a strong strategy. But I need far more attention to detail on submissions. This is the only way to take the next step.”
It’s one thing to think about something. Yes, we all know we need to do X. But research, whether scientific or intuitive, has shown that when you write something down, you are more apt to hold yourself accountable to that goal.
I had a mentor during college that helped me turn around my football experience by writing down my goals for the spring semester of my sophomore year every morning with the daily actions that I would take to get there. I already knew what I had to do, of course I did, I’m not stupid. But writing it down provided the reminder and the accountability. As a reader of stoicism with the knowledge of the importance of journaling, this planner provides the same purpose.
Throughout that semester I wrote my end goal of becoming a scholarship player and establishing myself as a starter. And the way I was going to get there was via the daily work ethic that I expressed on that paper.
The end result of that spring was a scholarship and I started as our punt returner that season. My season as a wide receiver was hampered by torn ligaments in my right ankle.
Writing out your goals works. You can’t control your talent level or injuries, but you can control holding yourself accountable to your objective. The first step in that process is writing it out, so the first step in your staying accountable to your progress as a Jiu Jitsu practitioner is via this book.
On top of the prompts sparking these thoughts I’ve discussed, the quality of the book is unmatched. It’s well worth the $32 as it will withstand any sort of transportation you use for your Jiu Jitsu gear allowing you to put your thoughts on paper immediately following training.
The cost of The Jiu Jitsu Planner is an investment in yourself and your Jiu Jitsu. And in turn, The Jiu Jitsu Planner will make an investment in the Pygmy tribes of Africa via Justin Wren and his Fight for the Forgotten charity.
Improve yourself. Improve the world. Buy yourself a Jiu Jitsu Planner today.
Zack Moore is a blue belt at 10th Planet Austin at Onnit Gym MMA under Curtis Hembroff. He is a certified NFL Agent, a writer for OverTheCap.com and OnnitGymMMA.com, the host of The Zack Moore Show podcast, and the author of the book “Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions” (available on Amazon).