This year, the virus that causes COVID-19 has spread across the globe. As the virus spreads through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales, social distancing is the only effective way to stop the transmission.
However, with social distancing in place, many countries allowed only the essential industries to function. Several employment sectors, including martial arts such as BJJ and Muay Thai, came to a shocking halt as most gyms and Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes have had to close their doors temporarily.
However, in August the UK government allowed gyms to start up again and all over Essex BJJ and martial arts gyms opened their doors.
Although no one knows how long this crisis will last there and there still may be further disruption to your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu BJJ classes there are still alternatives to complement your training at the gym.
For most jiu-jitsu students, drilling and training at home is a viable option to complement their training.
Here are a few tips that will help you continue your training during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn Solo Movement Drills
As you may already know, jiu-jitsu is a contact sport and martial art that usually requires a partner. A training partner can provide you with the feedback on whether those joint locks you are doing work or not.
However, there are plenty of solo drills you can practice as a part of your home exercise routine. These solo drills are one of the first things you should start practicing to improve your ground fighting.
For some drills, you will not require any equipment. You can also use a grappling dummy (if you can buy one) for some of the more advanced stuff. You can also use a stability ball, a punching bag or even build your own dummy.
However, don’t attempt to do any of the solo drills unless you have some jiu-jitsu experience. You don’t want to do solo drills that may result in pulling a hamstring or breaking something.
If you already know how to take safety precautions and have taken jiu-jitsu classes for beginners, you can try the following solo drills as a part of your home workout.
a) Shrimping or Hip Escapes
Hip movement is one of the most critical jiu-jitsu techniques that a BJJ practitioner will need to master from the very beginning. The best way to learn this basic skill is shrimping or hip escapes.
When done correctly, shrimping can help you stop guard passes, create your guard sweeps, and also escape bad positions when wrestling. In a solo drill, first, you should lay flat on your back with your feet pulled out straight.
Now, get your hands up while keeping your elbows tucked in. Then, while moving slightly to your side, you should bring both your feet closer to your hips. Move towards your head by lifting your hips off the ground, and straighten your body. Keep repeating this movement.
Bridging is another basic technique that most white belt students taking a BJJ class know. You should try to do this solo drill every day at home.
To practice this movement, bring your feet closer to your hips. Come up on the balls of your feet while keeping your toes out. Now to bridge over your shoulders, you need to push off your feet while shooting your hips. Repeat this movement.
c) Sit Outs
It is another simple, yet essential home workout for jiu-jitsu students. With this technique, you can escape from the bottom of the turtle position when your opponent is holding you under a body lock.
Lift one hand and swing a leg through. Keep repeating this movement. You need to focus on moving smoothly while performing this drill.
Perfecting sprawls can help you sharpen your defending takedowns and can also be seen alot in wrestling and mixed martial arts. To perform this drill, drop your hands on the mat and kick your both legs behind you. Next, drop your front hip on the floor while keeping your chest off the floor. Also, keep your back leg based out, and front on the floor flatly.
Focus on Perfecting Simple Moves
Whether you are a black belt world champion or have just begun your lessons, most students are eager to learn new concepts to keep making progress.
While that could have been the right approach when you were learning jiu-jitsu in personal training sessions, a self-taught home workout is no place to develop new skills or drills.
If you decide to learn new jiu-jitsu techniques all by yourself during this lockdown, you are likely to face the following consequences.
- The most significant risk is physically hurting yourself, which may end up badly in some cases if you are not careful with movement next to furniture.
- Learning new jiu-jitsu skills and perfecting the ones you have already learned takes time, practice, and patience. You certainly can’t do it without an experienced and professional trainer.
- Even with that sort of training, it can take years for most students to develop contextual intelligence and creativity to master the art of jiu-jitsu. As a result, you are most likely to end up learning an improper form. That, in turn, will affect your future training.
So, what can you do if not learn new jiu-jitsu techniques?
You can start focusing on perfecting the ones that you are struggling with right now. There are several basic jiu-jitsu moves that you need to perfect to get the most out of your training.
You can learn to perfect your armbar, which is a fundamental submission in this form of martial arts. The anatomical mismatch it creates makes armbar a lethal submission technique. You can easily exploit your opponent’s weakness with this basic jiu-jitsu move. However, you need a lot of practice to master this skill. So, why not do it while you are working out from home.
b) Pivot Movements
As mentioned earlier in the point on shrimping, hip movement is the bedrock of learning jiu-jitsu as self-defense. The best way to perfect your hip movement is to master the various pivot techniques.
c) Breathing and Relaxation
Another fundamental skill that you can improve in your home workout is staying relaxed while training. If you ever watched Rickson Gracie in Choke you’ll know how important breathing during training is.
If you feel exhausted or overworked during your training, you are likely to lose your form, or worse, get hurt. In other words, the ability to stay relaxed plays a critical role in determining your jiu-jitsu learning progress.
Focus on your breath and try to stay calm throughout your solo drills. Your breathing needs to be smooth and even while training. If you are gasping for air, you will tire yourself out before your training is over.
You also need to be patient if you are unable to master a skill quickly. The most crucial point is not to let your emotions get in the way of your training.
Work on Other Aspects of Your Training
Apart from the fundamental jiu-jitsu techniques, you need to focus on certain other aspects of your training. The two most important aspects include stretching and strength training.
Stretching different parts of your body is necessary to develop your ability as a martial artist. Unfortunately, it often remains overlooked. While you are at home, you should focus on stretching the different areas of your body. Make sure to perform both pre and post-workout stretches.
b) Strength Training and Cardio Exercise
Improving your strength is also a necessary part of your Brazilian jiu-jitsu training. Cardio exercises and strength training may not result in a higher belt, but they will allow you to improve your physical and mental endurance. However, most people often don’t look for other alternatives to improve their strength.
With a little creativity, you can perform a variety of cardio and strength training exercises to increase your stamina. Some of the common ones include skipping, jumping jacks, jogging in a stationary position, burpees, toe taps, box jumps, dumbbell rows, and squat jumps. Make sure to do these exercises regularly from the comfort of your home.
You can also perform calisthenics. These are exercises that focus on improving your strength by using your own body weight. You don’t need any equipment or a partner, making them suitable for home exercise. A typical calisthenics exercise routine consists of different workouts that provide an excellent activity to your large muscle groups.
Connect Virtually with Communities
While you can continue your home training on your own, you will still feel the need to connect with fellow jiu-jitsu wrestlers and students. You may want to get tips and insights and discuss your progress with your teachers and classmates. With everyone staying home, you will need to take advantage of online resources in this regard with Zoom classes.
Fortunately, since before the pandemic began, there have been plenty of online resources provided by Gracie barra online and gym zoom classes. You can connect with the Facebook group.
It is a challenge to keep your fitness up and your jiu-jitsu training going in the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, these tips will help you continue your training both in and out of the gym. Just make sure to take all the necessary precautions while doing so to avoid any potential injuries. And if you find these tips helpful, make sure to spread the word. If you have a few ideas of your own, we would love to hear them in the comments section.