Balancing your BJJ goals and dreams with your life commitments is not always easy. It can be hard to find the time for meaningful hobbies like BJJ. It’s made even more difficult by the culture of BJJ which promotes training everyday and making sacrifices in the name of progression.
With this culture as a backdrop it sometimes can feel like if you aren’t doing 2 a days and smashing out 10 rounds of sparring each night then you may as well not train at all but is this true?
Is Training BJJ Once A Week Enough?
Training BJJ once a week is enough if you are looking for a fun hobby, a place to meet friends and learn some martial arts skills. However, training only once a week is not ideal for BJJ progression. If you want to consistently improve your BJJ skills you should train at least 3 times a week, ideally 5 times.
When determining if your BJJ training volume is suitable you have to be aware of your goals on the BJJ mats and in other areas of your life.
For example if you are 18 years old, you are single, live at home with your parents and your goal is to be a BJJ world champion and professional athlete then training once a week is never going to help you achieve your goals.
If you want to be a world champion then you should be training BJJ 6 times a week with each session lasting 2 hours. If you train significantly less than this your technical mastery and physical preparedness will be too low to compete against other professionals. If you train significantly more than this you risk suffering from overtraining, becoming injured and seeing your physical condition diminish.
Now not all of us want to be BJJ gods, but most BJJ practitioners still have the goal of making consistent progress and traversing through the different belt ranks before eventually earning their coveted black belt.
If that sounds like you then you should aim to average 3 training sessions a week. Now while this may not turn you into a submission hunter overnight if you are consistent with this schedule you will achieve your blue belt after 2 years, purple belt after 4 to 6 years, brown belt after 6 to 8 years and finally black belt after 10 to 12 years.
If you want to speed up your progression you can always add in 1 to 2 extra training sessions a week. This will see you shave years off the time it takes you to be promoted to the different belts.
If you are just looking for a fun hobby, an interesting workout and a place to meet friends and you are perfectly happy with slow progression then training BJJ once or twice a week is perfectly acceptable. You shouldn’t let other students try to pressure you into training more if you find this is the perfect amount to reach your goals.
You do need to consider though that BJJ is typically more fun the better you become. If you only train once a week your progression is going to be very slow and it may take you much longer to receive the belts than other students.
If training BJJ once a week is due to a scheduling conflict or too long of a commute you can look into training wrestling or Judo alongside your BJJ. This will help you achieve consistent progression and prevent you from falling behind some of your training partners.
When deciding how much you train BJJ you also need to think about what else is going on in your life. If you are trying to run a business, start a family and practice other hobbies you may not have enough time in the day to hit the BJJ mats.
You need to work out how important BJJ is to you and then come up with a priority list as a way to structure your day. For most people family and work come first then serious hobbies. Unfortunately for many after work and family commitments are taken care of there is little time in the day for anything else.
If you have little time to train BJJ you need to be honest with yourself. You can’t have fantasies about training 6 days a week if you work so much that it is a miracle you make it to training twice a week.
If BJJ is really important to you then you need to rearrange your schedule and be super efficient with your time so you still have enough space in your day to scratch your BJJ itch.
You don’t want to be one of those miserable people on the mats who is constantly complaining about how their job prevents them from training as much as they want. Either accept the amount of times you can train a week or make changes so you can live out your BJJ dream, don’t anguish in the middle.
How much you train BJJ is totally up to you. The ideal BJJ training volume is going to be based on your specific goals. If you are looking to become a professional then you better be on the mats 5 to 6 times a week, for at least 1.5 hours every session. If you are a serious hobbyist chasing that black belt and consistent improvement then make sure you are training at least 3 times a week and you are disciplined with your training schedule.
If you aren’t too concerned with getting better each training session and you are just along for the ride then training BJJ is perfectly fine. It will still be a worthwhile experience and a lot of fun. You can always increase your training volume if your BJJ goals change or you have some more free time in the future.