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How to Keep a Journal for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, MMA, . . .

Keeping a journal for you BJJ, Judo, MMA, or any martial art is a great way to improve your technique, document your progress,  and understand your art.  I’ll talk a little about each of the 3 and give some hopefully helpful ideas to help you start or improve on your own journal. But first some basics on journal writing.

Your journal can be a note book, a digital text file, a blog, or anything you feel the most comfortable with.  Just make sure it is something that you can keep a copy of or that is durable in some fashion.  Why?  Lets say you just received your black belt.  For years you have compiled your knowledge and history of your labors.  It would be a crying shame to lose it all to a hard drive failure or because you left somewhere and it disappeared.

Figure out a recording style you like.  This for you only, after all, so experiment until you are satisfied.  Don’t get discourage when you don’t feel its not formatted correctly.  Try different formats.  In time you will work out a style or system that is pleasing to your thoughts and eyes.

Now what should I write in my journal?  As you start working on it your journal will be come rich with information.  You will start to have ideas and see how you could record information you would like to keep.  Read over your journal often to help you get the big picture.  Don’t be to critical of previous entries, use them in a constructive manner to create a better style in future entries.  Your skills will not only increase in your martial art but in your journaling.

According to a poll conducted on, The Fight Works Podcast,  52% of the 273 people who responded to the poll said they keep a notebook, diary, or journal for Jiu-Jitsu.

Improving Your Technique

The old saying “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” still rings true.  The mistakes you made at your last tournament or in your last class need to be recorded so you can set goal to correct them.  You don’t want to keep repeating them.

We can also alter the saying to be “Those who forget the technique may never repeat it”.  In other words, if you went to that great seminar by Andre Galvao but didn’t journal about the new things you learned you might as well have never gone.  You won’t remember that sweet submission, escape, or sweep unless you record it in your journal and ponder on it.

Knowing your history helps you direct the future.

Document Your Progress

My Jiu-Jitsu instructor wrote a excellent post that applies to documenting your progress.  I will summarize it for you and you can read the full post later called “The Dip and Jiu-Jitsu”.  What it boils down to is you have to go through a learning curve on anything.  While you are in the “dip” or learning you become depressed or unhappy about your progress.  When you reach the top you have learned and now you feel like you are on top of the world.  By documenting your progress you understand when you’re in the dip, you can also look back on other times when you were in the dip and remember what it was like to get out of it.  This will help give you strength to go on and succeed.

Seeing your success over time drives you onward to new heights.

Understanding Your Art

Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, MMA, or what ever it may be isn’t just a series of moves to be memorized.  I’ve often heard people say “Jiu-Jitsu is life.  Life is Jiu-Jitsu”.  The philosophy of your chosen art can change your outlook on life as it did for a friend of mine.  He explains it in his post “My name is Miles and I am a meat head”.  Write in your journal what impresses you and how you feel it changes you as you assimilate it into your life.  When you go back and read your journal you might be surprised how over time you have evolved.

Internalizing correct concepts creates a greater whole.

When all is said and done the point of a journal or diary is to help you as a person and practitioner of your chosen martial art to grow, progress, and enjoy it along the way.  I know it does.  That is why I created my blog JiuJitsuMap.com and why I keep a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) journal.

Please share with me your success stories.

4 Responses to “How to Keep a Journal for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, MMA, . . .”

  1. […] drive home.  Some thing always distracts me and I don’t get that nights class into my BJJ Journal.  A day or so later I remember and try to write down what happened.  I forget or lose a […]

  2. […] Keep a Jiu-Jitsu Journal. […]

  3. […] is another reason to keep a Journal.  The old adage "If you forget history your are doomed to repeat it" applies.  […]

  4. […] Smart phones have become the mainstream.  I’ve found my iPhone is only as limited as my imagination.  I can find new and productive uses for it all the time.  The other day I realized how handy the Voice Memos application is that is standard on it.  To often thoughts come to me and I am no where near my computer or pad and pencil.  But I always have my iPhone with me.  Thus began my audio journaling.  I found it easy to quickly record my thoughts on a voice memo.  It was great because when the thoughts strike me if I don’t record them some how I lose 75% of them.  Its just to busy a world and my memory too over crowded as it is to keep everything in.  Now that I had my audio journal going I came across the problem of “How do I index them so I can find the one I want?”  This lead me to transcription and How to Transcribe iPhone Voice Memos with Dragon Naturally Speaking along  with a free way iPhone m4a Transcribing (Switch Audio Converter and Express Scribe Transcription).  Either way works nicely.  In the end I have the audio recording and a transcript of it that is searchable.  I edit the transcriptions to fill in the gaps and clear up what is said on the audio.  I then reference the audio records that make up the transcript.  All in all I really find it easier and more enjoyable then typing my thoughts up after the fact or at the end of the day.  Please see my first post on journaling at: How to Keep a Journal for BJJ. […]