Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling martial art that allows a fighter to gain positional control of his opponent and use leverage, balance, and weight management to enforce his will.
As a combat sport, one would believe that this is a martial art that you can only practice with a partner to practice the techniques you work with. But, is it possible to learn Jiu-Jitsu by yourself? Yes, you can learn Jiu-Jitsu by yourself, but it will be more difficult and you will likely not reach the same level of proficiency as if you were trained by an instructor.
Let’s see why.
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What To Expect When Learning Jiu-Jitsu Alone
These are the details that you must have in the front of your mind when you decide to learn Jiu-Jitsu on your own, and we are going to explain each of them so you have a better time getting used to the idea.
Not having a partner means that you don’t get the ‘feel’ for the techniques
This one is pretty simple to understand, but it makes a lot of difference between practicing in class with teammates or directly with the instructor and not having anybody.
Having a training partner means that you feel your opponent whenever you are doing a technique, be it a guard pass, a hold, a submission, a throw, or a takedown.
As simple as that statement is, it significantly changes the picture; if you work the triangle from guard drill with and without a classmate, you will have notable differences.
Without a training partner, you push the hand away, lift your leg into the air, cross the “triangle lock” with your legs, and squeeze. And depending on how you close it, lift the hip or “pull the head.”
The technique will be the same as it always is, but once you do it with a teammate, you get a lot of factors to consider.
When placing the leg over your opponent, you don’t leave it hovering. You rest it on him and then close the other leg, which could be easy or complex according to how big or small they are.
If you have their arm placed correctly under the neck when you close the triangle lock, you will be able to feel if it is tight already and have visual confirmation from your partner before you do the final squeeze to choke him out.
As mentioned before, the technique remains the same. Still, the feel and visuals will allow you to confirm if it is applied correctly, and you will be comfortable putting it into practice with anybody.
Adapting the techniques to the lack of a partner
Some techniques work differently based on your partner’s size and whether you are practicing Gi or No-Gi.
If you are looking forward to learning lapel chokes without a partner, you may find it quite odd, primarily if they use the opponent’s lapel as a holding point to pull their weight and sweep.
There are just some techniques that will be impossible, like doing a mid-air flying armbar, as we do not expect you to be able to hover and finish the lock before you hit the ground.
Whenever you practice techniques where you have to pull or push the opponent and fight against their pressure, it’ll be tricky to transport into live rolling if you decide to compete.
How Can You Learn Jiu-Jitsu By Yourself?
Jiu-Jitsu is one of the youngest martial arts, and it hit the spotlight not so long ago.
You have countless hours of classes by tons of instructors online. From lesser-known professors to renowned world-class competitors, they give you their best insight into the techniques they have found success with.
This alone won’t make you better at BJJ. However, nowadays, you can gain exposure to as many techniques as possible. If you have a mat at home and maybe a grappling dummy, you can move forward in your practice. Yet, this cannot replace your time on the mat with training partners.
Bjj Exercises And Drills You Can Do Alone
There are multiple exercises and drills that you can do alone if you are trying to start Jiu-Jitsu at home, and I’ll do my best to offer the drill and explain where you can use it in standard techniques.
Hip-Ups (Upa) & Bridges
The Hip ups are the most simple exercises that you can do for BJJ. All you have to do is lay down on the floor, bend your knees, and rest your shoulders close to your body.
As simple as it sounds, just lift your hip from the ground and reach as high as possible.
You can also turn it into another ” Bridges exercise,” which adds a roll to the equation, lifting one of your arms and rolling to the opposite side.
The hip ups and bridges are an essential part of Jiu-Jitsu, and they work in most positions in which you have your back on the ground.
The “Shrimps” are a move that all Jiu-Jitsu practitioners know and love due to their practicality and the number of openings they create during rolls.
The technique consists of curling up onto one of your sides and then using your feet to push yourself from the ground and bring your hip towards your head, pushing away with your hands.
The hip escape is one of the most common drills as it is necessary to escape from side control, open up possibilities on the half guard, or adapt the move from guard to get an armbar; these are just a few of the multiple options.
The Berimbolo Roll
The Berimbolo roll is a technique that adapts to standard techniques and more high-level ways to take them back and such, but it is also a move that you’ll be better off mastering early, as it allows you to control your core and balance in different ways.
This move allows for back chases, getting out of difficult positions, and controlling your balance, which transfers nicely into rolling once you have it down.
A little list of basic drills that you may want to look into include:
- Kicking Up
- Rocking S Sit
- Forward and Backward shoulder Rolls
- The Technical Standup
- Monkey Shuffles
- Knee Cuts
- Long Steps
- Ski Slopes
- Spiderman Pushups
- Breakfall and Variants
Most of these drills will not only help you advance technically before you go into actual techniques, but drilling them constantly will help your speed, resistance, and the mechanical memory will help a lot when you go for actual techniques.
Also, just as an extra detail right here, if you want good instructional options, I’ll give you a free option and one you’d have to pay for.
For the paid option, ‘BJJ fanatics’ offers a ton of content, but I’d recommend any of the instructionals by John Danaher.
The free option comes from two practitioners who post many content and breakdowns on their Youtube Channel. Wiltse Brothers BJJ
If the name rings a bell, they are two of the competitors from “Daisy Fresh” (Pedigo Submission Fighting), and Andrew is currently reaching the top of the ranking at no-gi.
Can You Learn Jiu-Jitsu At Home With A Partner?
This is the perfect way to learn Jiu-Jitsu by yourself if you don’t have an academy close by but are eager to learn.
As we mentioned before, there is such a massive library of Jiu-Jitsu tutorials and instructionals. All you need to get going is to have a bit of space to practice and a partner to make sure that your techniques are working correctly.
If you have a friend who is also eager to learn Jiu-Jitsu, you should get your schedule set and start training together.
With enough time invested, you’ll both grow in BJJ, and even if you aren’t able to get a belt promotion, you’ll be more than ready for when you first enter an academy.
Learning BJJ By Yourself Final Thoughts
Taking the time to learn BJJ by yourself is a task that not many are willing to try, but it is an excellent experiment for those who do it and may even result in great things.
To mention one success story, I’ll have to point out how Heath Pedigo, the coach of Pedigo Submission Fighting (nicknamed “Daisy Fresh”).
He started in Jiu-Jitsu by dissecting techniques and DVDs with his older brother Randy Pedigo after seeing the UFC 1 event and becoming interested in Grappling.
If such a successful coach started Jiu-Jitsu learning with his brother in the house’s garage, why not take the chance to begin your journey on your own until you can get into a formal academy?
If you find this article interesting, share it with friends and teammates to see if they also enjoy it.
Be it on your own, in your academy, or while visiting different schools. We just hope you enjoy and make the most of your mat time.