The Art of Jiu-Jitsu Preparedness

image of a Japanese woman in traditional blue kimono with flowers and an orange and yellow umbrella

As I slowly and painfully master jiu-jitsu I also start to master other skills (also slowly and painfully) that I didn’t know would be necessary for my journey. Like the prep work and foresight that goes into ensuring that myself, as well as my family, make it to class regularly. Somehow through a weird connectivity, it becomes unavoidable.

It’s something that’s easy enough to dismiss because when people think about jiu-jitsu they think about collar chokes and sweat angles. What they fail to see is all the hard work that goes into just getting there! And being prepared is the only way to preserve my (and their) long term success.

So what exactly goes into preparing for practice and what can be done to streamline your efforts?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”

Benjamin Franklin

Clean Training Clothes

Imagine training on some idle Tuesday night, heedlessly unconcerned with your surroundings, when the ghost of the unkempt spartan warrior next to you suddenly escapes the sweaty shackles of its gi prison and creeps towards you from across the mat. Imagine tapping, not to the armbar that your partner was working for but to a fetid stench, like none you have ever imagined, as it violently assaults your senses and sends you gagging and gasping for anything pure.

It sounds extreme, but if you’ve ever rolled with someone who doesn’t maintain proper gi hygiene and maintenance, well, this is what you have to look forward to.

No one wants to roll with “that guy” and because of this, clothing care should be high on your priority list. General care and maintenance will keep partners coming back and extend the lifeline of your gi. Prep work and foresight is a necessary key to this.

For me and my family, we start the second we get home from class. The gis go straight into the wash. By the time we’ve finished dinner, they’re ready to be hung. After a quick shower, another load is started for rash guards, under armor, etc.

And if you plan on getting your family out of the house stress-free and on time, having a central location where all the uniforms and rash guards are stored will help minimize the chaos. Believe me.


You’ve just finished your training session and you can’t hear the car radio over the growling in your middles. You’re starving and need calories fast. The easy solution is to hit the nearest drive-through and wolf down whatever sounds good, despite the little bit of mommy-fluff you’ve been trying to outrun every morning because this bacon cheeseburger is only a choice. You can choose to quit whenever you want.

OR, you could go home to a healthy, balanced meal.

Having time to cook especially on class days can be almost impossible. This is where meal prepping and an instant pot or slow cooker can save your life or at least that pair of jeans you’ve been trying to get back into.

I like to plan my meals on Thursday and shop on Fridays. This allows me time to meal prep over the weekend and it only takes me an hour to prep 6 days worth of dinners.

I toss all the ingredients into containers (even the meat), label and freeze for the week. I pull a meal out the night before and toss into the instant pot during my transition period between getting home from work and leaving for practice. And that’s it!

Seriously, it’s a total lifesaver and when you get home, you have a fully cooked, healthy meal waiting for you!

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet”

Bobby Unser


You didn’t think I was going to have a post and not talk about self-defense, did you?

Hopefully not to get too philosophical for anyone but, Sun Tzu said “He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them”

Sun Tzu knew the value of being prepared twenty-five hundred years ago.

If you’ve never heard of Sun Tzu he wrote a book you might have heard of called The Art of War. (It’s not exactly a page-turner but I recommend it if you’ve got a couple of hours to burn). The book covers many topics like attacking with fire and the use of spies, but largely the book is based around the concept of being prepared. The fact that there even IS a book called The Art of War means that by reading it you are preparing for war.

However I feel like on a smaller scale, a more pedestrian and modern scale, where opponents are not armies, but kidnappers (or worse), Sun Tzu’s words about being “captured by them” still ring true.

We should all maintain a state of readiness and practice and prepare, and exercise forethought lest we be “captured”. Because when the 21st century equivalent of “Jack the Ripper” jumps out from that dark alleyway you damn well know I’ll be prepared; because believe me “Jack”, I’m the scariest most pissed off woman you’ve ever had the misfortune of being armbar’d by!

And besides, if some ancient Chinese philosopher said it, it must be true! Right!?

The online dictionary says this about preparedness:


a state of readiness, especially for war.

Especially for war… True story look it up! I thought that was fitting.

Everything Else!

A master of one thing is a master of all things. Pretty sure its a quote I heard somewhere but for the life of me I can’t seem to find it, which is terrible because I like quotes. This one I especially love because it’s the opposite of “Jack of all trades master of none.” Which for whatever reason has become desirable by the same people who watch life hacks.

Anyways wherever I heard this quote the concept stuck and this post is kinda born from that, because as I learn another variation of the baseball choke I’m also learning to be prepared for the next class and the next baseball choke.

I think things like; Does my car have gas? What day is my daughter’s orchestra concert? It’s the 14th, okay that bill doesn’t come out until the 20th? The weather says it’s gonna snow on Tuesday so ill need to get to bed earlier so I can be awake for class.

And being prepared suddenly becomes a foundation of my jiu-jitsu just as much as any guard pass or wrist fold.

And then I start thinking about the long term about how my journey to blackbelt could be 20 years; Is my career going to last me until then? Am I gonna have to fly to continue some of my advanced training? Gonna need to maintain my health so I don’t gas out during testing.

Being prepared is one of those skills that affects almost every area of your life and will need to be mastered if anyone hopes to master jiu-jitsu. I’m not saying it’s easy (nothing in jiu-jitsu ever is) but like most things, the juice is worth the squeeze.

So ask yourself, what are you doing today to prepare for tomorrow?

Oh and I found it, I think.

“If one is a master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.”

Vincent Van Gogh


Image of a women standing on a mountain top watching the sun set