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  • Writer's pictureJess D

5 Ways to Remember Jiu-Jitsu Techniques After Class

There are many ways to remember what you've done in jiu-jitsu. Here are some methods to remember the techniques you learned after your BJJ class.

Remember finger with know around pointer

When you start off doing jiu-jitsu, you might learn one or two techniques at a time. But as time goes on, what you learn in your BJJ class starts to compact into so many techniques to remember.  In my 12+ years of training, I've gotten multiple tips, lots of instruction, and many methods of doing certain techniques. You can imagine how much information that is for one person to hold in their head.


You won’t remember everything but remembering and acquiring techniques you can always go back to is important for being good at jiu-jitsu and growing with the sport.  I was always told that your jiu-jitsu knowledge is like having a toolbox. At first, you’ll only have a screwdriver and a couple of screws to work with. Eventually, you’ll get some other tools to fill up your toolbox. The old tools you’ll forget about, and they will start to collect dust.


This post is meant to highlight some of the ways to remember jiu-jitsu techniques as well as the massive amounts of information you’ll get, from regular classes to jiu-jitsu seminars. There are a couple of things in this post that work for me but there are also methods that have worked for many of my jiu-jitsu friends as well.



Why Remembering BJJ Technique is Important

two male bjj black belts sparring

    When it comes to remembering jiu-jitsu techniques, we must think about why we’re doing jiu-jitsu in the first place and what we would like to accomplish. Everyone’s why is different but based on this answer you’ll know which techniques are important. 

If you’re doing jiu-jitsu for self-defense and want to remember techniques that you’ll need to use against a potential attacker (God forbid), you’ll focus on remembering techniques that can be applied to self-defense. Suppose you’re a competitor or someone who wants to compete in jiu-jitsu and want to capitalize on your physical advantages. In that case, you’ll want to learn techniques that help you utilize your advantages and dominate during jiu-jitsu competitions.


Another thing I like to think about as a motivator to remember technique is the amount of money I pay at seminars from world-class jiu-jitsu athletes.  If I’m paying $100 for an hour of learning, I’m going to make sure I remember that information for years to come.


Figuring Out How You Learn


  Although there are many methods for remembering the BJJ techniques you learn in class or by watching instructional videos, figuring out how you learn is the best way to retain all the information you’ll get doing jiu-jitsu. There is visual, reading and writing, auditory, and kinesthetic learning.  Sometimes combining one or more styles of learning is the best way to remember all your BJJ techniques. The best way to find out is to try multiple methods and see which one works the best.



Ways to Remember Jiu-Jitsu Techniques



1. Drilling BJJ Techniques

two men training Brazilian jiu-jitsu

First and foremost, you should always drill jiu-jitsu techniques. Saying that you know the technique without doing it multiple times is not possible. If you are in the position to do the technique that you say you can do and forget, then you don’t know it.  Taking the time to do the technique and go over it again and again is the way for your mind and your body to connect in doing the technique. 


In addition, it is important to go through the move multiple times slowly without resistance, then gradually add resistance as you drill.  As you drill, you should be noticing how your body feels and going through each detail of the move. They say that practice makes perfect but, in reality, practice makes permanent. If you practice the technique the wrong way, then it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve practiced it if it’s wrong.  In these times, make sure that you ask the professor or coach to watch you do it once or twice to make sure you have the details down.


I’ve noticed that sometimes people go from dead fish to rigid when it comes to doing jiu-jitsu techniques which doesn’t help you or your partner. We should all strive to find a good balance in training especially when it comes to realistic reactions and performing the move. That means doing the move slowly and precisely before trying it live is important.




2. Writing or Drawing the Technique Down

writing and drawing on a notebook

 One method people use to remember Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques is putting their pen to a piece of paper. This method depends on what is good for you.  Some people write down every detail they learned in class verbatim as the coach said it. Others might include terminology only they understand with abbreviations and specific terms.  I’ve seen some people who even use stick figure drawings and diagrams to describe what they’ve learned and show what the technique looks like.


I believe that writing down jiu-jitsu techniques in a notebook is the most common.  If you like to try this method, you can purchase a regular notebook and write everything down you did in the class. There are also jiu-jitsu-specific journals on the market that help people track their training as well as other factors that might contribute to the quality of the training like their nutrition, mood, injuries, and more. 


The benefit of writing stuff down is that you will have a collection of notes that you can always refer to and remember how to do the technique.


If you’re not a pencil and paper person, you can use your notes app on your phone. There are even martial arts training apps like Marune to help track your training and how much you’ve been doing during class.


3. Recording Technique Videos

iPhone on small black tripod


Another method to recall technique is by video recording in the class. I saw this a lot when I lived in China. Many people would record the coach teaching the technique and have it to recall later when drilling.  I think this method is great and best for people who are more visual and auditory learners.  Some people will record themselves doing the move, compare it to how the instructor did it, and make the adjustments as necessary to perfect the move.


The issue with recording video is that some gyms do not allow you to record the technique you’re learning during the class. I’ve had coaches in the past that were very strict about video recordings. They didn’t like the distraction of many people having a phone or what they were teaching being available for others to watch without coming to class.  I didn’t record videos of the BJJ techniques taught during class until I arrived in China. 

To get around these restrictions, you can record yourself doing the technique at home or at open mats (if that’s allowed) or take pictures of each position in the move and make a diagram with the pictures.  There are so many different apps where you can combine the pictures and create a video for yourself with the pictures you take.


4. Voice Record Yourself Talking Out the Technique

indian or hispanic woman wearing purple shirt happily recording voice note on phone

  If you can’t be bothered to sit down, write notes, record a video, or edit pictures together, then audio recordings might be the method for you.  I know that a lot of people tend to spend time after class writing down all their notes. I like audio recordings because they allow you to talk through the techniques you’ve done in the class, so you have to go back and think about what you did as well as use proper terminology while recording.  I am a person who tends to say “thingy” and “whatchamacallit” a lot so with this method I am forced to use proper terms.


I also really like this method because you can do it as you get ready to leave the gym so you’re talking out what you’ve done in training while you stretch, change your clothes, or as you get ready to go home.



5. Combing Multiple Methods Together 

multiple hands putting big puzzle pieces together

As I mentioned before, there might be different styles of learning that work better for you and to reinforce what you’ve learned in your jiu-jitsu class, you might have to use different methods together. For example, you can record yourself doing the technique while talking out everything you’ve done. You can take that recording and review it while taking notes. You can voice record yourself as you read the notes you’ve taken. You can talk yourself through the drills as you work out the technique.  There are so many different methods, and you have a backup of all your notes, which then reinforces what you’ve learned. I suggest trying multiple methods and find the best combo.


Bonus: Technique Visualization in Jiu-Jitsu


black woman with green headphones wearing yellow shirt closing eyes and visualizing while laying down

Visualizing has a huge role in remembering your techniques. When you actively put your mind in situations where your body has to use the techniques, this is super powerful in putting everything together. Many professional athletes use visualization to put themselves in the winning mindset.  This method can be specifically powerful for jiu-jitsu competitors.


Remembering in Order to be Better at Jiu-Jitsu

two men doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu one in white gi, one in black gi, purple belt jiu- jitsu del a riva

   Doing jiu-jitsu isn’t just about coming to class, doing the technique once, and hoping you commit it to memory.  Remembering your technique is what is going to help you grow within the sport of jiu-jitsu and help you be better each day.


How do you remember the jiu-jitsu techniques you learned in class, a seminar, or an instructional? Tell me in the comments or tell me on Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj


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