The answer to this question really depends on your situation and goals so we have broken this down by whether you are doing BJJ as a hobby or to compete. Generally sessions in BJJ last an hour for class and sparring sessions can go longer than that. Finding an amount of training that fits your goals and lifestyle for the long run is what is best. That doesn’t mean that more is better. Consistency is the main ingredient to growth as a Martial Artist. When you are starting out, go slow and then dial up your training to meet your goals.
Types of Jiu-Jitsu Practioners
-Train 1-3x days a week
-Balance it with other activities you enjoy like Yoga, Rock Climbing, hiking
-Train 3-4x days a week
-Potentially add strength and conditioning (4-6 total session a week)
-Train 4-6x days a week
-Add strength and conditioning work on the side as well (8-10 total practices a week)
If your main goals for Jiu-Jitsu are to get in shape, learn self-defense, enjoy community and have fun, then you are probably a recreational practitioner. That is great! My goal for my children is to be recreational practitioners, if they chose to do more that is a choice I want them to make.
For people looking to branch out and compete in local or regional tournaments, you will need to be training more consistently. The level of Jiu-Jitsu has come up a lot over the years and even local tournaments present quite a challenge. You will need to be training consistently and potentially adding a session or two of cardio/strength training to your regime.
People who want to compete at the regional, National, or International level need to be much more committed and center their lives around training. This is involves being at virtually every team practice and also being dedicated to a strength and conditioning program off the mats.
I found very early on in my journey that I wanted to be a competitor. This has meant training 2-3 times a day 5-6 days a week for over 15 years. This path is not for everyone and for good reason. The people who are competing at the highest levels of Jiu-Jitsu have to make it a major focus of their lives to be competitive.
Remember not matter your path in Jiu-Jitsu and Martial Arts there is no “right” path for everyone. If you want advice on training or what path is right for you, please reach out. We are here to support you no matter what type of practitioner you are.
What about for older athletes
I usually think that older athletes could probably take off a session a week per 10 years. So if they are 30-40, maybe they are doing 8 sessions a week when they used to do 9 sessions a week as a younger international competitor. Obviously this is going to vary tremendously by athletes and I trust older athletes to listen to their bodies more than younger athletes.
How many years does it take to get good at BJJ
So good is a pretty wide range. I like to think after 6 months of training you will definitely be able to beat your previous self pretty handily. It takes 1-2 years to earn your blue belt and that will put you ahead of a large majority of the population. Then about 4-5 years after you will probably get your purple belt and even if you are giving up significant amount of strength and weight, you will be able to handle them. A brown belt will take a few more years to achieve and you are really only concerned with other BJJ artists at this point. Brown to black is pretty much the finishing school. You realize how many levels there are to this. At black belt you have a whole world of other black belts to compare yourself with, most have full-time jobs and families by this point. Some black belts are teaching Jiu-Jitsu and competing full time. I believe it takes most world champions at least another 3 years to get to that world class black belt level after getting their black belt. So good is pretty relative. When you just start out, everyone with just a few months of experience seems good and it takes a while to be able to discern why one good guy is better than another.
This may seem like it will take so long to achieve, but I always say that 10 years is going to go by either way, you might as well have a black belt to show for it.
What is the breakdown between Strength and Conditioning and BJJ Training
This will depend on the experience level of the athlete. In the beginning, mat time with Jiu-Jitsu is much more important than extra time in the gym. It is the age old story that a blue belt loses their first competition and decides that CrossFit will give them the edge they need to win the next one. Like if you were to give me a white belt to blue belt recreational competitor I would say 5 of 6 six sessions should be at the academy, then as they go up the belt ranks would could shift a bit more to the gym. As an international competitor would think more like 6 sessions would be on the mat and 3-4 would be in the gym. With most of the gym workouts going to strength and sprint work with 1 day to aerobic conditioning to build a base.