Note This

If you are anything like me, you can quickly get overwhelmed learning the multitude of techniques and struggle to remember the minute details involved with jiu-jitsu. We all learn differently. Some people learn by watching and drilling, others by having the technique executed on them and others, okay me, learn best by a little bit of both along with writing everything down.

I have been taking notes for as long as I have been training jiu-jitsu, and I still have all of my notebooks. And yes, I use plan Jane spiral notebooks, although recently I’ve moved to a three-ring binder. I know that are many products out there for taking notes. I have never had the opportunity to review these, so I have no opinion. I know what works for me and I believe “if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.”

If you are new at jiu-jitsu or have trained for years, the information and details taught can be overwhelming and hard to keep straight. I strongly recommend to anyone, at any belt rank, if you are struggling to retain and recall techniques to start taking notes. I have found writing has helped me remember, even if I never re-read my notes. It is a way to keep the details from the various techniques straight.

I’m not sure how other people take notes, but this is what works for me. I use an outline, just like I learned in grade school when mapping out a research paper. It is the same technique I use to outline my books and in-depth blog posts. Here is an example of a recent class:


I don’t know the specific term for the outline technique I use, but I’ll call it an alphanumeric sentence outline. I start with the date, which class I’m taking and who taught it if it’s not the head instructor. At ‘A’ I site the general technique we are learning: Basically, the theme of the class. If there is a starting position we are working off of then I would list that under ‘A’ as ‘1’. Under ‘1’ I write out the specific details in sentence form. I repeat this for each technique learned for that theme. If there are multiple ‘themes,’ for example, often we will do positional sparring to drill the technique we learn. I would list this as a new ‘theme’ write out what I was successful at and where I struggled. This helps me focus on what I do well and where I need to improve.

I do this every time I take a class, regardless if it’s an instructional class or straight training rounds. If the class is a review of technique that I learned the previous day. I still take notes, noting any details I might have missed.

IMG_4014.jpgAs you may wonder, how is it possible to take detail notes, outline form, and make them legible during a 60-minute class. It’s not. My final notes are written off other notes. I always have a small notepad I keep by the side of the mat so I can take rough notes and then when I get home I sit down and write them out in the formally.



This is what works for me. It might not work for you. Find what works for you and use it. I don’t care what rank you are. At some point, you just won’t be able to recall all of the information. If you are having any trouble either remembering techniques, struggling with a position or submission, or want to develop a specific game, I strongly encourage you to get a notebook and take notes. If that means dropping $15 on a jiu-jitsu notebook; do it. Or $7 on a fancy journal at Half Price Books; do it. Do what works for you. It’s your money and time you are putting into your journey, and it is no one’s responsibility to track what you are learning, expect you.


One thought on “Note This

  1. I also take notes for jiu-jitsu. I started a few months into my training. It has been super helpful. I also use a spiral-bound notebook. I get so excited and feel so proud of myself when I complete a book and move onto the next. I am the only one at my gym who takes notes during class. My main training partner does a good job though of taking notes all after class.

    Liked by 1 person

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