I haven't blogged for a few days as I've been busy with other stuff (I'm currently organising a competition and have been trying to advertise it online etc), but as always I've been training a lot.
Something which has recently been mentioned to me by a few people, and I regularly see spoken about on forums, is that they feel they are not improving and their skills are plateauing. Now, I'll tell you this straight, no such thing exists! If you are actually training and are training properly then you will be improving all the time. It might be slow, it might be hard to notice and you may not even realise or believe it, but trust me you are improving.
There are a few reasons people think they're not improving, with the biggest being that most people tend to judge themselves by their performance against others (which is natural but not always sensible). If someone is training more than you, they will usually be improving faster than you, so if you judge yourself by how you get on with them in rolling you will think you haven't improved but they have. The truth is you have both improved, just at different rates. Don't judge yourself directly against others, think about stuff like "Am I harder to submit now?", "Can I move my hips better?", "Do I hit techniques and transitions smoother?" etc...
Another big part of this, and I think I've mentioned it in a previous blog at some point, is that jiu-jitsu is based on your performance in the moment, and we all vary day-to-day on this. The higher level you get the more consistent you will be but there will always be minor variation every session, and when you're a novice the variation can be massive. What affects this even more is that it's not only your own performance which matters but that of your competition opponents or sparring partners. If you perform below your peak and they are at the top of their game, you're going to feel like you've just taken two steps back, but all you're really experiencing is normal random variation. If you roll with the same person again in two weeks time you might find things go very differently.
What you have to always remember is that jiu-jitsu is a long game. You shouldn't be too concerned with session-to-session variation, or whether you've improved since last month. Always look to the future and instead of worrying that you're not improving, just try to focus on any specific areas you struggle with (I used to have privates with my instructor to fix these when I was just starting out).
Plateaus don't exist, keep training and enjoy it.