Using Mental Rehearsal or Visualization To Improve your Jiu-Jitus

I’ve been blogging a lot about throws and takedowns for use in BJJ.  I’ve ordered a few books and done some training in class.  But I don’t get enough physical practice.  I just don’t have the time or partner to do it as often as I would like.  In fact I’m still sore from the last class.  I was thinking about one of the winter Olympics where I saw a downhill skier practicing for the race with his eyes closed standing in place.  He was mentally going down the slope in his mind.  He would weave and bob as if going around turns.  I begin to wonder if I could do the same with techniques in BJJ.  I Googled to find out if there was a technique to it.  I found Improve Your Sport Performance with Visualization Techniques.  It was a quick read and reinforced what I was already thinking.  In fact I realized that each night after class when I am having trouble falling to sleeps its because I am doing just that, visualizing what I did in class, both the good and bad.  I find myself tense and twitching as I go over it.  With that in mind I have begun to consciously think through the throws I want to master.  I try to see it in my minds eye and feel it in my body as I go through the technique.  Will it improve my BJJ?  I think it already has.  Yes, its lead to some insomnia and hasn’t been well ordered but now that I recognize what I’m doing subconsciously I’ll stream line it.  If it works for Olympic champions it can work for me.

Throw, Throw, Throw Again

Hip Throw, Double Leg takedown ("Baiana"),  Single Leg takedown, Seoi-Nage, and Osoto-Gari to name a few of the throws or takedowns employed in BJJ.  What do they have in common other then taking your opponent to the mat?  They take a lot of practice.  Last night we worked on take downs.  We started off by practicing how to land correctly.  It hurts when you slap that hand to the mat but its a lot less painful then landing incorrectly.  We then went into the 3 basic throws or takedowns used in BJJ.  First was the hip throw from a "T" position.  Next was a leg hook and driving back to take your opponent down.  Last but not least the foot behind the far foot of your opponent and sitting down.  They all look so simple, so why is it someone always gets hurt? We had a few minor injuries at class.  I think it is because we don’t practice them as much.  All the more reason to throw, throw, throw again.  After I tore my MCL I had a fear of throws and takedowns.  I decided I couldn’t let that ruin my love for Jiu-Jitsu.  Last night in class I got the chance to do the very takedown with my instructor that tore my MCL.  This time I was a experienced blue belt.  I didn’t make the mistakes I did before.  My fear is gone and I have a new love for throws in particular.  What changed my fear to enjoyment was my desire to over come adversity.  As with anything in BJJ you need to try, try, try again.  John B. Will said it best ". . . It is difficult to extend ourselves to the point of being uncomfortable, but the rewards can be more than worth the risks." (Rogue Black Belt – Book One, pg. 77)

Review of Judo Throws and Takedown Books for Jiu-Jitsu

I got my books that I talked about in my post Should I Learn Judo to Excel in Jiu-Jitsu.  They are:


Judo for Mixed Martial Arts: Advanced Throws, Takedowns, and Ground Fighting Techniques


Throws and Takedowns for Sambo, Judo, Jujitsu and Submission Grappling

The "Judo for Mixed Martial Arts" was the book for me.  Its large color step by step pictures were perfect for my visual learning style.  I thought the organization of the throws and takedowns was excellent with its color coding of pages into sections.  The descriptive text was short and to the point.

"Throws and Takedowns" had a larger collection of just that, throws and takedowns.  It was smaller in size and didn’t have color pictures.  I think in order to really see what is going on its helps to have color.  Its like tying a knot with two pieces of white string or tying one that has two pieces of different colored string.  It is much easier to understand the knot when you see how it interlaces.  It also didn’t show enough pictures.  Where "Judo for Mixed Martial Arts" might show 20 pictures of the throw with different angles "Throws and Takedowns" only showed 6 to 8.  "Throws and Takedowns" had much more descriptive text to make up for the lack of visual content.  Having never done Judo before and I am new to takedowns and throws, it was hard to visualize how a technique was done.

Karo Parisyan got it right in my opinion.  I will be using his book in my quest to improve my BJJ with a arsenal of takedowns and throws from Judo.

Should I Learn Judo to Excel in Jiu Jitsu?

Is this a true statement "BJJ practitioners are terrible at takedowns and throws"?  It seems like that is the case.  I keep hearing things that lead me to believe it.  I know I’m deficient in takedowns and throws.  In fact when I sought advice on my first tournament I was told to go for the "flop".  The meaning was to jump into guard or just go for something that quickly brought us to the ground easily.  My instructor realized we needed more work in this area and we had a special seminar on takedowns (click to see one post I did on it).  It was very educational and I enjoyed it.  But what do we spend most of our time doing in BJJ?  Not takedowns or throwing, they are just a few techniques in the vast array of Jiu-Jitsu techniques.  So I’ve begun to wonder if Judo wouldn’t help me.  I’ve decided to investigate by ordering these books:

Judo for Mixed Martial Arts: Advanced Throws, Takedowns, and Ground Fighting Techniques

Throws and Takedowns for sambo, judo, jujitsu and submission grappling

I tried to find books on Judo but they all seemed specify for the sport of Judo and I didn’t think they would have the twist I wanted.  These two books looked like the closest match.  I will continue this post after I get them and have some time to read them.

I also sent a e-mail to John Will of Will – Machado BJJ asking what would be a good book or DVD on takedowns in his opinion.  He responded with:

"If I had to pick just one – I would go for John Smiths DVD entitled:
‘How Low can you go?’

I think I’ll try it next if these two don’t fill my needs.  I don’t want to be a flopper and I don’t want to fear takedowns.  I think Judo with a emphasis on BJJ and MMA side of things is important to make a efficient BJJ practitioner.