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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Why you should keep a training log

    I'm double posting this outside of the BBC-only Training Log forum for broader reading.

    This advice is BJJ centric. All of the authors are from BJJ. Maybe Silat has a bunch of gurus recommending you keep a training log and I've just missed it. But at as it stands, I have found at least two BJJ black belts and a brown belt who highly recommend keeping notes and a training log. I thought I would collect their words and post them here for everyone to read. I trust you can make the leap of logic and figure out how to apply their advice to something other than BJJ.

    BJJ Q&A 66 by Roy Harris:
    Take notes. It is impossible to remember all of the details to each and every technique in BJJ. Take notes and re-write your notes.

    This is another area where I've had people argue with me. Many have said, "Oh, I don't learn that way." Well, one truth of the matter is this:

    Writing notes is not designed to help a person learn. It is a method retention, designed to help a person remember the quantity and quality of information he or she received.

    Another truth of the matter (regarding those who say, "Oh, I don't learn that way") is this:

    Those who refuse to takes notes are just too lazy to make the effort! They would rather have someone else explain everything to them in intricate detail, practice and spar with the information, AND THEN be able to (or should I say, "have the luxury of being able to) ask for the details again at another time (just in case they forget). In other words, these type of students only want to EXPERIENCE the euphoria of learning something new, practicing it until they FEEL they understand it and then EXPLORE its use in sparring (just to see if they can make it work right away). They have little desire to do the hard stuff (i.e. practice the information until they can do it live, write, re-write and maintain notes, etc..). All they want is the FUN stuff.
    BJJ Q&A 0054 by Roy Harris:
    The process to performing the reps is simple: Do the reps. Start out slow. Build up your speed with time. Don't spar right away. Don't talk. Stay focused. Do them on each side of your body. Pay attention to each and every movement. Write down your observations and epiphanies. Keep a record of them and periodically review them. Spar with this newfound knowledge only after committing four to ten hours of repetitions. Add one form of resistance as you master each movement. Spar with it and keep track of your progress. Add variables as you progress. Review your notes and observations. Do more reps. Repeat the process.
    Quantify Your Grappling Experience (Part One) by Roy Harris:
    In addition to all of the training areas listed above, I have also taken copious amounts of notes. For example, I have over 800 pages of notes on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. That's alot of typing!
    BJJ Q&A 0025 by Roy Harris
    I hope this discussion has prompted you to grab a notebook and start taking notes. I also hope it will inspire you to do some critical thinking on your own!
    Ripped from Lloyd Irvin's Grappling Blueprint:
    Everyday you come to grappling class you're given

    What do you do with it? Why do you think I told you
    to write everything down in a journal? It's a must so
    anytime you want you can call on the information to aid you.

    I've been doing this for 7 years now. I have hundreds
    of completely filled black and white composition books,
    with very detailed notes. I have complete descriptions
    of moves that I've probably forgotten that I ever new.

    One of my students Ken Parham was showing me a move
    that he has been having great success with about a month
    ago and I was like man that's cool. Where did you get
    that move from?

    He said

    "Lloyd you showed me that move about 4 years ago
    and I just finally realized why you wanted me to do this

    I was like I don't even remember that move.

    I've been telling my own students this one principle
    of taking notes for years and still to this day only
    a handful even attempt it.

    I had one student who's notes were so detailed and
    structured it made my notes look like elementary scribble.

    He was an attorney so I'm sure that had a lot to do with
    it. His notes were amazing and everyone at my school saw
    the results he was getting before he stopped.

    I have people from all over the country that come and
    do private lessons with me. The very first thing I
    tell them is to make sure they bring a notebook.

    Guess what? Only about 10% bring a notebook.
    everyone else says I'll write it down when I get home.

    Well that's fine and dandy if they actually did it,
    but by the time they get home if they actually wrote
    it down they would've forgotten many of the crucial

    People are more interested in feeling like they're
    getting their money's worth of the private by not
    taking the time out to write down the details.

    Whenever I did a private lesson with anyone almost
    half of the time I would be writing notes.

    The same thing goes for seminars. I'm not there to
    see all of those moves. I'm there to make sure
    I leave with something that will benefit my grappling
    career. I stop and take notes during the entire

    I remember when one instructor told me that I couldn't
    take notes during the seminar and only could do it
    after the seminar was over. I told him that I'm going
    to need a refund on the seminar. Well all of a sudden
    I was allowed to take notes.

    It's amazing that I've never ever seen anyone take any
    notes during any seminar I've ever seen.
    Accelerate Your Jiu Jitsu Path To Black Belt by Eddie Edmunds:
    Keep a notebook. During college I came to class each day with a notebook and a pen/pencil prepared to take notes. I needed to remember the material presented to me and taking notes allowed me to review the material over and over again. Is there any other way to remember the lecture? Well you can video tape the class or use a micro-recorder but you will still be taking “notes” in order to remember the content of the lecture.

    A. Getting a notebook and taking notes will allow you to review a move as many times as you like. Through consistent review my ability to remember the move in detail is enhanced. In addition, there are numerous scientific studies that clearly show a vividly imagined event triggers our nervous system and aids in the embedding of a technnique in our muscle memory

    B. Keeping a notebook also provides: 1. A place where you can write down the techniques your working and be able to track your improvement. 2. A forum to record the development of your trademark moves and comments on your teammate’s strengths, weaknesses and what strategy works best against each one. 3. A history of the progression of your Jiu Jitsu game. It will show you where your skill level was six months ago with regards to a position or a move your working to perfect and the progress you have made since then.

    Thus, the path to black belt can be shortened by performing these two, simple tasks. Asking questions will build your ability to understand and remember Jiu Jitsu better. Keeping a notebook will also enhance your memory and aid you in executing a technique easier. And it gives you a blow-by-blow history of your progress.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    BC, Canada
    Jiu Jitsu
    Sounds like a great idea. I agree that the best part of it is not HAVING the notes, but the actual act of writing them down helps you remember.

    After class I always have about a 25 min ride home, so I think along the way of the exact details of every technique we learned that class. Sometimes I cant remember the technique until I really think about it, or I cant remember all of what we learned until I thnk hard. If I didnt do this after every class I would probably have not remembered half the techniques taught.

    Actually, now that I think about it. We have a guy who brings a camcorder to every class and films the techniques. Thats one way to take notes!

  3. #3
    NSLightsOut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    I tried this earlier this year. It didn't work for me.

    Why? It wasn't due to my personal resistance to the idea, it was more that my primary learning style is tactile. I can look at a technique description all day, and still not be any more the wiser as to how to actually execute the tech with any degree of skill. However, if I get the feel of the technique, it's not something I'm going to forget anytime soon.

    I think that note-taking may be valid for people with more visual and auditory learning styles, but for myself and other more tactile individuals, I'm not convinced of it's efficacy.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Brisbane, australia
    BJJ - ex-Judo ex-Karate
    i'll give this note taking idea a try, i have done a few sketches in the past, but with my terrible drawing skills it seems to take forever to draw it

    i'll report back in a couple of weeks

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Melbourne, Australia
    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    I take notes of all the techniques I learn. I've found that quite often when I am taught something it might not be immediately applicable to my game, but in a few months, or years, I'm at the point where that technique is suddenly useful and if I've got notes I'll know all the important details. Notes also help when I'm trying to remember all the details before I teach a class.

  6. #6
    Yes Koto got his name changed, quit asking... supporting member
    VikingPower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Kyokushin Karate
    These do help out a lot, as sometimes when you're looking back at something that you're struggling with but have done before, you'll read an idea or variation on it that you wrote down before and it'll hit you like a ton of bricks and you'll get it down.

    This just happened to me with tai makra <sp>, a move I saw O'Sensei pull off in film of him on a DVD and worked with my sensei a bit to get. It was tricky at first due to the angle and movement, but now I can pull it off a lot easier than before.

    They're also great for physical training, you can compare numbers and see how you've improved and it can be really motivating.

  7. #7
    Moleculo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Did the Gracies take notes? No.
    Did Mas Oyama take notes? No.
    Did Bruce Lee take notes? Well yeah, but he did WC.

    The reason note taking works is when the other see you with a little notepad thay are more inclined to want to beat you up and you must fight harder to survive.
    Last edited by Moleculo; 5/19/2005 10:52pm at .

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    mas oyama wrote books

  9. #9
    Moleculo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge
    mas oyama wrote books
    Not while learning he didn't

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Melbourne, Australia
    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    If you don't have constant access to your instructor, as in my situation and Lloyd Irvin's situation, then note taking is imperative if you want to improve.

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