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How To Set Goals to Improve JiuJitsu Training

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How To Set Goals to Improve JiuJitsu Training

How To Set Goals to Improve JiuJitsu Training

Goal setting is an integral component of successful training in Jiu-Jitsu. It provides a clear direction and gives purpose to your pursuits. Without well-defined objectives, progress may be minimal or absent, leading to a lack of motivation and a sense of aimlessness. To help you avoid the issues that can come from not having goals, this post outlines the importance of goal setting for Jiu-Jitsu. It provides a basic framework and some recommendations for its effective implementation.

The first step in goal setting is to identify a specific, skill-oriented target that aligns with one's overall training objectives (This could be a physical or mental skill). Examples may include improving one's proficiency in a particular position or technique, enhancing one's defensive and escape abilities, increasing one's frequency of competition, or even feeling comfortable in uncomfortable positions. Such goals give the practitioner a clear sense of direction and purpose while challenging them to expand their abilities and competencies. This skill-focused goal setting isn't to say that you can't have more philosophical or mental acuity-type goals, such as more confidence, better problem-solving skills, or less stress. Try not to fall into the trap of getting a belt as a goal; focus on skill development, and the belt will become the second-order effect.

Once a goal is selected, set a realistic and challenging deadline. The deadline creates urgency and helps maintain focus and motivation throughout training. Deadlines are powerful tools for goal attainment and self-improvement, encouraging you to strive for continuous growth and development.

It is worth noting that success in Jiu-Jitsu is not solely predicated on achieving one's goals. While goal attainment is a significant accomplishment, it is the process of striving towards these objectives that ultimately leads to personal growth and progress. As such, it's crucial to remain committed to the training process and to view goals as a means of fostering self-improvement and enhancing one's abilities rather than a finite endpoint (because in JiuJitsu, there is no endpoint).

Goal setting is a key aspect of successful training in Jiu-Jitsu. Goals provide a clear direction and a sense of purpose, facilitate personal growth and development, enhance motivation, and promote continued progress. It is a good practice to identify specific, skill-oriented targets, set realistic and challenging deadlines, and view goal attainment as part of a broader training process to foster continuous self and skill improvement. Remember, there is no end to Jiu-Jitsu; there is always something new to learn and develop – re-visit and adjust your goals often, and enjoy the process.


Here is a short checklist to help you start developing your goals:

Step 1: Assess your current level of skill and identify areas for improvement

The first step in setting goals is to evaluate your current level of Jiu-Jitsu skill. Consider your strengths and weaknesses and identify areas where you need improvement. It is essential, to be honest with yourself during this assessment to ensure that you set meaningful and achievable goals.

Step 2: Determine your overall Jiu-Jitsu objectives

The next step is to determine your overall Jiu-Jitsu objectives. Think about what you want to achieve long-term and what skills you want to develop. Examples of long-term goals may include competing at a certain level, achieving a particular belt rank, or mastering specific techniques. Again, re-visit these often; they will change over time.

Step 3: Break down your objectives into smaller, achievable goals

Once you have identified your long-term objectives, it's time to break them into smaller, achievable goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, if your long-term objective is to compete at a certain level, a specific and measurable goal could be to win a particular tournament within a specific timeframe.

Step 4: Prioritize your goals

With a list of smaller, achievable goals, prioritize them based on their importance and relevance to your overall Jiu-Jitsu objectives. This process will help you stay focused on the most critical goals and ensure that you are making progress toward your long-term objectives.

Step 5: Develop a plan of action

To achieve your goals, you need to develop a plan of action. The action plan includes identifying the steps you need to take to reach your goals, such as practicing specific techniques or participating in tournaments. You should also determine the timeline for completing each step, so you can track your progress and adjust your plan if necessary.

Step 6: Monitor your progress and adjust your goals if needed

As you work towards your goals, monitoring your progress regularly is essential. It helps you stay motivated and able to make any necessary adjustments to your plan of action. If you are not progressing towards a particular goal, reassess your approach and determine whether adjustments are needed.


A mistake I often see people make is their goals are just a list of items. That alone isn’t much more than a list; you need measures and timetables to make that list actionable. Remember, this is a living process that will adjust as time goes by. Have fun, enjoy the ride, and remember this process applies to other aspects of your life, off the mat.

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