Sawtooth Progression - 08/09/2012

A Saw Tooth Progression
By Kev Capel

While chatting with a friend and student after rolling we got on to the subject of progression and like most people that train Bjj he wanted to make sure he was on the right track and making improvements. 'How do you feel you're getting on?' I asked. 'Well it's a saw tooth progression as you know' - he replied. I'd never heard this term 'a sawtooth progression' before but it was obvious what it meant, Imagine an upturned carpentry Saw and you have a steady upward incline but with lots and lots of small ups and downs on the way up and I feel it's one of the best phrases to describe the Bjj journey for most people. 
As long as you are consistant in your training then I can almost guarantee that you will make progress and somewhere between 5 and 10years you'll have a deep understanding of grappling and be able to train with a wide variety of people and styles and comfortably hold your own, but there is going to be alot of ups and downs on the slow upward slope of progress. 
Some pointers to keep your progression heading upwards (sorry no short cuts as I don't think there is any)

Stay consistant - Everyday twice a day for 3 months followed by a hiatus of 6 months will not help you as much as 2-3 times a week over a long period of time.  

Quality over Quantity-similar to above, don't just come to the gym to get your card marked, be as fresh as possible, pay attention,train with good intent and most importantly be present in the moment!
Pay attention to Injuries-you're going to take some knocks, Bjj is a contact sport no different to rugby,football or judo but if your knees are hurting avoid playing rubber guard find a good training partner and drill lightly or just work specific positions.
Don't compete in the gym-Tapping a training partner or getting tapped is not winning or losing its just part of the learning experience, going 100% all the time in training will only lead to injuries and ultimately slow your progress, train hard but smart and save your 100% for competitions. 

Rest- If it feels like you are over doing it then you probably are, Over training is a real issue and can lead to avoidable injuries, 1 day a week of complete rest is probably the minimum. It's better to be 10% under trained than 1% over trained. 

Obviously this isn't  an exhaustive list but if you stick to the above advice you should be able to continually improve your ground game regardless of the small peaks and drops that you will experience along the way, and remember - A black belt is a White belt that never gave up.