Yes, 2020 was a harrowing year in many respects. Especially for small business owners and jiu-jitsu schools particularly. Depending on what area you reside, it may still be impossible to train in a normal way at your home academy. So, I decided to give you some insight into the training regimen my training partner and I came up with during COVID. It is not perfect, but it allowed us to move forward despite the obstacles. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas, insight, and goals to achieve in your jiu-jitsu training in 2021.
When this whole pandemic started, I never imagined the shutdowns would be long term. Fortunately, I sort of fell into a training plan regardless of circumstance. And, as a result, my jiu-jitsu skills and knowledge are light years ahead of what it was at the beginning of 2020!
Even before the pandemic, I would meet with a friend of mine from our academy once a week or so to study leg locks. We each have mat space at our homes, which made it easy to train outside of our academy. The curriculum we used, of course, was, “Leglocks: Enter the System” by John Danaher. If you are going to study leglocks, why not study from the coach of the well-known DDS (Danaher Death Squad)? I am not going to get into a review of Professor Danaher’s instructional series (I do plan to write about such things in the future), but I will give credit to his teaching on the bjjfanatics.com platform for much of my advancements in 2020.
Well, my training partner and I made great progress in the leg lock game by just training it once a week. Then, right around St. Patrick’s Day, everything is shut down. Now what? Well, we decided to train every morning during the week. We had just finished with Professor Danaher’s leg lock instructional, and so we decided to add to other areas of our jiu-jitsu, while still practicing leg locks. So, we started with Professor Danaher’s Kimura series Monday through Thursday and then made Friday our Leg Lock Day. The more knowledge we gained from Professor Danaher’s instruction, the more skill we acknowledged needed to be gained. Knowledge is one thing, but it takes tedious repetition to gain skill! So, we came up with a system of adding only three new techniques per day at most. We would start each training session by doing 5 reps of each technique we added to our arsenal the previous day. Then, we would watch the instructional and add 3 more techniques. Practicing those three techniques for 5 reps each. And, finally, we would finish by each doing 4 sets of 10 reps to include any technique we wanted to work on. To make it easier to disseminate, I will put an outline of the training below. As the pandemic rolled on, we moved forward continually.
We ended up going through the following instructional series by Professor Danaher in 2020:
- Leg Locks: Enter the System (on our second time through the instructional)
- Kimura: Enter the System
- Closed Guard: BJJ Fundamentals – Go Further Faster
- Guard Retention: BJJ Fundamentals – Go Further Faster
- Pin Escapes and Turtle Escapes: BJJ Fundamentals – Go Further Faster
- Half Guard Passing and Dynamic Pins: BJJ Fundamentals – Go Further Faster
- 5 Reps of each move learned in the previous days’ training session
- 5 Reps of each new technique for the day – we add three new techniques each training session
- 4 sets of 10 reps – any technique
- 70 total reps
*we also added sparring (mostly positional sparring) at the end of our session at least once per week.
Over the course of the year, this training schedule not only improved our jiu-jitsu, but gave us something to look forward to each day. Something to work towards and gave us a sense of accomplishment.
Even though there was stress with the uncertainties many felt during this time (isolation from family & friends, job unpredictability, etc.) the daily routine provided some much-needed stability. My training partner and I are both brown belts and climbing towards that goal of black belt. And, thanks to Professor Danaher’s instruction, we both feel like we are moving towards being not only black belts, but good black belts!
The goal is to continue this path in 2021 and see what adjustments we can make to become even more efficient in our training methods. My goal is to get input from any other jiu-jitsu practitioners out there that are also studying Professor Danaher’s material and training it regularly (feel free to drop me a message on my IG – @300jiujitsu). Perhaps even be able to travel and train one day with the “Squad.”
My training partner and I have at least made progress in 2020 through jiu-jitsu and here is to continuing it in 2021 and beyond. We may not be at the level of the Danaher Death Squad (DDS), but we are working to make the most as part of the lesser-known group – the Danaher Distance Squad!