Training BJJ in the Boondocks

It can be difficult to improve your Brazilian jiu jitsu if you live very far from your gym or are unable to find one in the area. Fortunately, due to the power of the internet, it is possible to find all of the resources that you need to train effectively.

The first thing to decide is if you would like to train solo or to find some partners to train with you. In either case, there are plenty of ways to practice and improve your game.

Where to Train?

Having a space to train is obviously essential, whether at home or at a local gym that has some sort of mat space. There may be some judo, taekwondo, or other types of martial arts classes at local gyms.

These mats may be available when there are no classes in session. Buying a mat for training at home can be expensive, but it is a great investment if you plan on training frequently at home.

There are stories of people going to local high schools and buying used wrestling mats for dirt cheap. You can also buy quality mats online from martial arts suppliers.

Maybe you are frugal or just comfortable with training on a carpet or a tarp, as some grapplers do. Now that you have decided where you will train, the next step is finding some drills and techniques that you can practice.

Solo Training.

A simple way to improve your game is to practice the basic movements in jiu jitsu. The solo warm up drills can be used to perfect your technique for live rolling.

Bridges, shrimp crawls, front and back rolls, and even berimbolos can be trained in many challenging ways. Add in a grappling dummy and a gi or belt for drills and you have more than enough to get some good training. There are hundreds of drills that can be found on YouTube just by searching.

Maintaining your conditioning and strength by doing functional exercise will also help supplement your game. Kettlebells, resistance bands, and calisthenics are great for functional training.

Movement training has also become very popular for martial artists. BJJ Black belt Alvaro Romano created his own BJJ-influenced movement training system called Ginástica Natural. Ginástica Natural is a unique workout that combines flexibility, strength, and agility with jiu jitsu.

You can also train with several different online academies like Gracie Academy for starters.

Training with Partners.

If you have a training partner already, then it really shouldn’t be difficult to train once you find or create a training space.

If you are looking for a training partner, you can use a few different methods. If you are good enough to teach, you can offer to train others, either for free or for a small fee.

One thing that seems obvious but needs to be stated about training others: Do not lie about your credentials!

People will still want to learn and practice with you if you know a few tricks or even if you are simply using a book or YouTube to find techniques to practice.

You don’t need to be a black belt to create a group. The BJJ community is a very tight-knit group, and it is quite easy for lineages to be traced thanks to the internet. You will be exposed if you are not who you say you are.

To find partners, you can use online and offline methods. Facebook has many groups that are created specifically for certain cities and counties. Try joining a few local groups to see if you can generate some interest or find out information about grappling in your area. Craigslist is another great resource for finding training partners.

Try posting about training in the community and service sections for best results. You can also create a group on and invite people that may be interested to train with you. Flyers are one of the oldest and easiest forms of marketing, try creating a few flyers and passing them out or leaving them on cars.

Get a grappling dummy for solo training when you can train with a partner.

Mental Study.

If you do not have the opportunity to physically train, then that isn’t the worst thing in the world. Multiple studies have proven that mental imagery and visualization can drastically improve performance.

One of the most famous studies features a group of basketball players that were divided into 3 groups and tested to make free throws. The first group practiced free throws daily, the second group would only visualize themselves making free throws, and the final group would do no practice or visualization. The results confirmed the power of visualization, as the 2nd group showed dramatic improvement with no physical practice.

As a group, the improvement was slightly less than the 1st group, but significantly better than the group that did nothing. If you cannot train, then instead try dedicating time to watching technique breakdowns or matches and visualize yourself going over those movements in your mind.

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