Bruno Pucci is a first-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), a no-gi world champion in the discipline, as well as a professional MMA fighter in ONE Championship’s featherweight division with a 4-2 record.
As a BJJ coach at Evolve MMA, just what does he expect his students to know? We speak to him to find out.
#1 Always Come To Class With A Clean Gi
It is simply basic courtesy to your training partners. While you are at it, make sure your nails are trimmed to prevent cuts, injuries, and the spreading of skin infections.
#2 Be On Time
While it is understandable that you may be held up every once in a while because of traffic or work, it goes without saying that you should not make being late a habit.
Your coach and training partners make an effort to be punctual – so should you. It is part and parcel of building discipline, which you will need in spades when you are training in martial arts, says Pucci.
#3 Respect Rank & Seniority
That means lining up according to your belt rank before and after class. During sparring, it is also the responsibility of the lower-ranked belts to move to a less crowded space on the mat if they bump into higher-ranked belts during a roll.
#4 Don’t Talk While The Coach Is Teaching
First, this is extremely distracting for the coach and your training buddies. Second, even if you’re already familiar with the technique that is being shown, you should pay attention all the same, because you just might pick up a new detail that that may help sharpen your game.
#5 Communication Is Everything
During the session, the coach is accountable for each and every one of his students, and as such, it is always a little disconcerting for him if a student leaves the mats without first informing him.
Whether you need to leave the class early, have a drink of water, or use the washroom, your coach will always appreciate the heads-up.
#6 Be A Good Training Partner
Allow your partner to do the drills as your coach shows it, and react as you are instructed. Drilling is not the time to see whether that counter you watched on YouTube works for the submission your coach just taught. That is something that should be left for sparring.
#7 Don’t Treat Every Sparring Session Like The Finals Of A BJJ Competition
That does not mean you have to go easy on your partners; rather, it is about finding the sweet spot between strength and technique. Do not worry – you will be in a better position to gauge what this balance is as you gain more experience.
#8 Venture Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Even if you have high success rates with certain techniques, the only way for you to grow as a BJJ practitioner is if you make the effort to try new things all the time.
#9 Training Plateaus Are Part And Parcel Of The Journey
There may be weeks or months where you do not feel like you are improving despite your best efforts. This could be because you are stressed at work, or preoccupied with personal matters.
Regardless, when you are stuck in a rut, do not stop training, and take comfort in the fact that even some of the most accomplished black belts have had to deal with motivation issues at some point.
#10 It Helps To Keep The End Goal In Sight
Whether you are training for an upcoming competition, or have your eye on the next belt, constantly reminding yourself why you do jiu-jitsu in the first place should help get you through those tough periods.
Images: Mark Teo
Venue: Evolve MMA