Developing good habits isn't just for your business or love life. Whether you have ambitions to make jiu jitsu your livelihood, or it's just a weekend/evening hobby that keeps you from killing your co-workers, developing good habits is crucial to laying the foundation for a long and successful career.
There are undoubtedly lots of habits that could be considered important, but we've compiled a list of the five that we consider to be among the top. Check them out...
Competitor or not, consistency is the most important habit for a successful practitioner. That doesn't mean that you have to step on the mats every single day, or that you have to be "ready for war" each time that you do. Consistency will be different for everybody, but whether that means six days a week or two, keep it up... rain or shine, whether you feel like a million bucks or something the cat drug in. When the class is over, you'll never regret having done it. And sometimes, you might even find that you learned the most when you felt your worst.
Sure, Kit Dale might not believe in it - and it might be the most mind-numbing part of your jiu jitsu routine - but there's no denying the science of muscle memory. If you perform a specific task repeatedly enough times, it takes less and less conscious effort for your brain to instruct your body do that task in the future. This is incredibly useful during jiu jitsu competition or rolling/sparring, when you often have a split second to react appropriately to your opponent's attack or defense. How do you develop muscle memory in jiu jitsu? Through drilling.
Unless you were one of those whiz kids who aced every class in school without doing a lick of homework, you had to actually study in order to learn the material and pass the tests. Right? Same thing with jiu jitsu. You can't expect to learn all there is to know just by attending class. Indeed, you might see a technique, then not ever see it again until it pops back up in the curriculum sometime next year. So study is your best friend, and today there are so many great resources at your disposal; anything from your own academy's online website, DVD's, books and magazines (do kids these days even read anymore?), to the ultimate repository for free visual knowledge: YouTube. Basically, there's no excuse not to study.
This is a big - and highly underestimated - one. Yeah, you may be "OMG SO EXCITED" to have found jiu jitsu, but simmer down, white belt. Training every minute of every day does not equate to an exponential increase in knowledge and ability. There is a point at which retention will level off, and there's also a point at which increased training is actually detrimental to your progress, both for your mind as well as your body. Rest is absolutely crucial for preventing mental fatigue, keeping your immune system healthy, allowing your muscles time to recuperate and/or repair, and allowing you to step on the mat ready for the next challenge.
Jiu jitsu is one of the few physical activities in which you get really up-close-and-personal with your training partner. It is so important to maintain a certain standard of cleanliness, both for your sake, as well as that of your teammates. Preventing the spread of illnesses and skin-borne infections is the obvious benefit, but there's also a little thing called human decency. Nobody wants to roll with the stinky guy/gal, and it's hard to improve in a partner-based activity, if you suffer from a lack of partners.
If you already actively cultivate these five habits for successful jiu jitsu practitioners, then congratulations. If not... hopefully you'll put them to use.
Train on. Oss.