Focus. What is it? What does it mean in the context of Jiu jitsu training? The best definition I have found for focus is: “the concentration of attention or energy on something” . That sums it up nicely for me. Now, how we could apply this to your Jiu jitsu training? I like to think that when you are training Jiu jitsu, whether it be warming up, drilling techniques, rolling, competing or cooling down that you give your complete and undivided attention to the task at hand. This may sound relatively easy but it’s much, much harder than it sounds!  Now let’s think about applying “focus” to your Jiu jitsu training and how it can help you.

Before you walk into class and step onto the mat, it’s great if you can take a few minutes at some point in the day to “focus” on what you wish to learn, work on, or improve in your training. It might sound like a waste of time at first but believe me, taking a few minutes to think about what you need to work on (be it a technique, concept or strategy) will rapidly enhance your learning, give your mind some direction and most likely improve your retention of techniques and skills learned. Your mind directs your body and by “focusing” your mind on a particular goal, you set the tone for a more productive training session. As you get more experienced, you may come to training with a couple of points to “focus” on. For example it could be something as simple as “focusing” on using technique and leverage over strength and power, or working on your escapes from a particular position. You could even “focus” on keeping in mind a few key points when passing the guard, such as:

-Keep your head up and back straight with good posture

-Take strong grips and maintain hand control

-Always look to establish good, stable base before moving

-Keep your elbows in and close to your body

-Always strive to move with balance and purpose. 

If you have done this and thought about what you wish to “focus” on for th day, then the warm up is the perfect time to think about your “focus” as you get your body warm and ready to practise your Jiu jitsu skills. Breathe, relax and think about keeping your “focus” in mind through out the session. Getting your mind into a good state to train and learn is just as important as warming up the muscles in your body. When your instructor teaches a technique, really try to “focus” and pay attention to:

-What are the key points that make the technique work?

-Why are they moving the way they are?

-How are they placing head, hips, body and limbs in relation to their partner?

-How is their weight distributed?

-Where does the leverage for the technique come from?

-When are they changing their grips and or shifting their weight?

Then when drilling the technique, keep these key points in mind. Strive to execute the technique with minimal effort and as smoothly as possible. Aim for perfect execution of technique, focus on being technical. When you start to feel like you are executing the technique smoothly ask about the timing and set up for the movement, that way you have something to “focus” on when you begin to apply the technique in a live roll! It may sound like a lot to think about at first but no one said you have to master it all at once. Relax, take your time and “focus” on what you can. As you practise and get better you will slowly begin to “focus” on more and more details and concepts. This is great because it generally means that you are starting to understand the technique on a deeper level!


One of the most focused Instructors and competitors of all time!

One of the most focused Instructors and competitors of all time!



When rolling, the first point I like my students to “focus” on is being technical! Always try to relax and use your technique. Another point I like my students to “focus” on is breathing. Relax, breathe and think, if you do this you will begin to feel your opponent’s movements and what is available to you. From there it is up to the individual to have his own goals and points of “focus” depending on what stage of the journey he/she is at in their training as well as what they are working on and trying to improve. One day you may “focus” on your escapes by letting your partners put you in some bad positions so you can work on your survival and defense. Another day you may “focus” on sweeping from various guard positions and attack openly with submissions from the top as it wont matter if you get put on your back because that gives you another chance to sweep! 🙂 Your “focus” is entirely up to you but generally speaking you get a lot more mileage out of improving your weaknesses than just always playing your strengths!

Generally speaking, in competition your “focus” will change. You will still “focus” on being technical and breathing but if your like most your “focus” will probably be on trying to win! To give yourself the best chance of wining, it is still important to set your “focus” prior to your match. Some key things to “focus” on could include:

-Playing your game and bringing your opponent into the strongest areas of your game (eg pulling closed guard)

-Scoring points and putting pressure on your opponent

-Setting up and attacking for submissions(particularly your best techniques) from both top and bottom 

-Establishing dominant grips and controlling positions

-Having a solid game plan and strategy for victory as well as a back up

-Focus on your game for the entire match until the referee pulls you up! I dont know how many times I’ve seen someone easily controlling their opponent and winning the match, lose “focus” for a few second and get submitted or have the tide of the match turn on them and get beaten by their opponent.

Lastly even when cooling down and stretching after training, it’s always helpful to think about what you learnt that day and “focus” on remembering the key points and details. This is a great time to write in your training journal(topic of a future post) if you have one because it will really help you remember the techniques that you have learnt, improve your retention and even allow you to brush up on a few key points if you forget! So next time you go to training, take a few moments to “focus” on what you want to achieve that session, direct your full undivided “focus” on what you are learning, “focus” on key points, timing and principles while rolling and “focus” on remembering the details for next time when you finish training! Try it for a couple of months and watch your game improve dramatically!!!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!


Jiu jitsu Kingdom


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to ““Focus””

  1. chale Says:


    good blogs, buddy!!

    thanks for the insights!!

  2. jiujitsukingdom Says:

    Thanks Chale, we missed you at training last thursday night mate! Hope all is well and I’ll see you on the mat this week!
    Kind Regards

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: