Using Your Training Journal

Using Your Training Journal:

When you take the time to use your Training Journal after class, learning is easy and fast.

Using Your Training Journal

My retention is probably 3x-4x higher and valuable lessons are easy to find, review, and incorporate.

The Point of Your Training Journal:

The goal of writing things down in your training journal is so that you remember the important small details that you learn from one class to the next.

Several times recently I have written down techniques and been able to recall them immediately to hit recent techniques from class.  The details were fresh and allowed me to use the moves quickly and smoothly.

The Cost of Not:

Romelo Barral Seminar Notes
Romelo Barral Seminar Notes

GB Texas has hosted at least 15 seminars since I started training nine(+) years ago.  Each seminar is usually around $100.  That is fifteen seminars at about $100 each for about $1,500 invested.

I correctly remember a grand total of 5 techniques!


Because I wrote those five techniques down in my journal the MINUTE that Professor Romelo Barral’s seminar and school pictures ended!

Don’t be me, throwing away all that money, and remember your seminars by taking notes in your training journal! 😛

Writing Down Adds to Memory:

The more ways you try to commit things to memory the better they will stay with you.

The Army for example uses a ‘teach – show – do’  training method.  Soldiers are taught in a class setting.  Then the tool, process, or weapon is demonstrated.  And finally, the do phase arrives where you get to blow things up with your new toy.

Every JuiJitsu class I have attended has followed the same method, compressing the teach & show into the same iteration.  And then we do it in class.

By adding writing to the end of the process, when I’m tired, sweaty, beat up, and my hands are shaking it forces me to think about those class details and then accurately express them before I can leave class.  That way when I’m calm and recovering after class my mind visualizes back through the techniques as I write them down in the Training Journal.

The Parts of Your Training Journal:

Week’s Training Goal:

The ‘Week’s Training Goal’ section is pretty self-explanatory.  The goal you set should tie into the rest you are learning and support your development.

For me, I am using the spider guard techniques from Prof. Barral’s seminar in August.  Because so many parts of that seminar worked with my existing style it is important to practice that skill set.  Spider is also a nice transition into and out of closed-guard.  That means I see it all the time.

Therefore, with my recent experiences, for me using the ‘Week’s Training Goal’ supports recent learning.  You are probably somewhere else in your journey and might for example work on ‘control in close guard’ or ‘knee slice passing’ or whatever you want to keep in mind and practice during classes.

Week’s Strength & Cross-Training,

The ‘Week’s Strength & Cross-Training‘ is there because it is important to see what you have been doing in support of your training.

For example, my goal is to ‘break people’s posture and catch triangles from spider-guard’.  That means that I need to:

  1. Improve my grip strength, to hold the spider
  2. Boost core strength, to react better when pressed

The cross-training goal supports my overall weekly & monthly training goals.

Session: Technique: Critical Concepts


This is where I write the day of the class, who taught, and which lesson it was for that day.  That helps me visualize the teacher and recall the technique better.


Then I put the full name of the technique and from what position it starts.  These descriptions are necessary to help recall.  They set the tone and situation for the concepts taught.

Critical Concepts:

These are the words that come out of the Professor’s mouth!

When your Professor says, ‘Grip their collar and pull the opposite sleeve up to your ribs, while you drive your knee as high as possible’, Prof is probably telling you to pull that sleeve up to your ribs for a reason.

If you forget that detail, suddenly you get wrapped up in your own sleeve, they get under you, they knee you in the butt, and you get to embarrassingly faceplant on the mat because you did not listen to Professor!

Your Training Journal:

Your training journal is as streamlined, simplified, and flexible as I could possibly make it.

If you give it a try and take good notes, the worst thing that happens is that you get a record of all those practices that you can look back on quickly and easily.

The best thing is that you start to improve your game, and that is priceless!

Doug F

Dad. Little green Army guy. Over-thinker. All I want out of life is an honest week's pay for an honest day's work!

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