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Guide to Utilizing a Journal for Jiu-Jitsu

Keeping a journal is an invaluable tool for BJJ practitioners to enhance their understanding, track progress, and refine their techniques. Here are some of the best tips for using a journal in BJJ, helping you maximize your growth and become a more skilled and mindful grappler.

First, my journal of choice is the Vanilla Gorilla Journal. If you haven't already, I would check out our review of the product here.

Set Clear Goals

Begin your journaling journey by setting clear and achievable goals. Whether it's mastering a specific technique, improving overall endurance, or preparing for an upcoming tournament, having well-defined objectives will guide your practice and provide direction to your journal entries. Write down your short-term and long-term goals, and review them regularly to stay focused and motivated.

Record Your Training Sessions

Document each training session in detail. Include the date, time, location, and duration of your training. Describe the techniques covered, the drills practiced, and the sparring partners you rolled with. Note down your feelings and emotions during the session, and be honest about your performance. This information will help you analyze patterns, identify strengths and weaknesses, and formulate strategies to overcome challenges.

Analyze Your Progress

Regularly review your journal to track your progress. Look for improvements in techniques, stamina, and overall performance. Celebrate your successes and use them as motivation to keep pushing forward. Additionally, pay attention to recurring obstacles or areas where you are struggling. Analyzing setbacks can reveal patterns that need attention and allow you to adapt your training approach accordingly.

Reflect on Your Learning

Beyond just listing techniques, delve into the learning process itself. Write about the key insights you gained during each session. What new concepts did you discover? What adjustments did you make to your game? How did you feel when executing certain moves? Reflection will deepen your understanding of BJJ, enhance your retention, and foster a more mindful approach to your training.

Take Note of Tips and Advice

Throughout your BJJ journey, you'll receive valuable tips and advice from instructors, training partners, and online resources. Incorporate these insights into your journal. Whether it's a new grip, a strategy for escaping a position, or mental preparation techniques, jot them down for future reference. These nuggets of wisdom can be invaluable in refining your game and broadening your skill set.

Track Your Sparring Sessions

Sparring is where you put your skills to the test. Record your sparring sessions, noting the positions you started from, the submissions attempted, and the escapes executed. Evaluate your performance objectively, focusing on both successful techniques and areas that need improvement. Studying your sparring sessions through your journal will help you identify recurring mistakes and develop a more strategic approach to rolling.

Maintain a Health and Nutrition Log

In addition to technical and tactical aspects, BJJ performance is influenced by your physical health and nutrition. Use your journal to track your workouts, diet, and recovery routine. Note how certain foods or habits affect your energy levels and performance on the mats. A well-maintained health and nutrition log will aid you in fine-tuning your lifestyle to optimize your BJJ performance.


A journal is a BJJ practitioner's secret weapon for growth and success on the mats. By setting goals, tracking progress, reflecting on experiences, and documenting valuable insights, you'll elevate your understanding of BJJ and accelerate your development as a grappler. Remember, consistency is key, so make journaling a regular practice and watch as it transforms your BJJ journey into an enriching and rewarding experience.

Happy rolling!

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