Breaking Through the Plateau

When it comes time to think about training to the advanced level in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it’s important to set your expectations correctly and be aware of some of the challenges that lie ahead.

There is an initial honeymoon phase with training where your progress is linear and very exciting. You attend a lesson, you leave energized and better than when you came in. It feels great! You were born to do this! It normally takes people 4-5 years to get to their advanced ranking, but at the pace you’re going hey, maybe it’s only going to take you 3 years!

Then one day, out of nowhere, it hits you. You feel stale. You’ve seen these techniques already and get the general idea- why are you practicing them again? The rapid pace of your progression has slowed to what feels like a grinding halt. Everything just feels off and you might even start to feel like you’re getting worse. Now you can’t help but think- maybe you were wrong. Maybe this isn’t your thing.

Ah… Your first plateau. I’d say it comes in around the 4-6 month mark of training if you’ve been diligent with your practice- it’s different for everyone though.

It’s a normal part of training towards being advanced at anything to plateau. Just part of the game. You plateau, then you bust through and you have the juice again. Back on top! For a while at least. Then you plateau again, bust through again, and the cycle continues on and on for as long as you keep training.

The difference between the beginner and the advanced student is that the beginner gets discouraged by the plateau and the advanced student learns to look forward to it. They learn to see it for what it is- an opportunity to reflect, assess what is going right, what could be going better, and then make the effort to course correct.

Sometimes it can be a really easy solution, like being more consistent with attending a specific practice session, or creating that vision of yourself of how you will be different- how your life will be better- as an advanced martial artist and setting the goals for yourself that will help you get there.

Other times it’s not so simple to figure out, but that’s part of the reason you have coaches and senior students to ask for help and direction in your practice. When you’re feeling like you’re on the plateau, don’t be shy about communicating it and asking for some help to bust through. Literally everyone with an advanced rank has been exactly where you are many, many, times. No one else can do the work for you, but there’s a lot of help and support for you along the way.

When you see the plateau for what it is, a brief resting place (not a final resting place), you can relax, enjoy, and then start preparing to make it to the next level!

Will Caldwell

Dojo Kyle


Goal Setting for Jiu-Jitsu and Life!

One of the areas we focus on teaching at the dojo is the importance of setting goals. One of the big benefits of the martial arts belt system is the ability to set a concrete goal for yourself. To be a white belt today and be able to say, I’m going to be a black belt- and here are the steps I have to take. The progression through the colored belts between white and black belt are your mile markers on your journey and help you chunk down your goal.


When I was a white belt, I knew I would be that black belt in the future, but in the near-term I just had to focus on earning that next belt in front of me- my blue belt.


And what does it take to earn my blue belt? Consistent practice, learning to be a good training partner, technical proficiency, and a healthy attitude about progressing (on the path to mastery there are some bumps on the road). After earning my belt I can start to set my sights on the next step. What new skills do I need to learn, what are the areas of my training and life I need to improve?  


Learning how to set and achieve a long-term goal in jiu-jitsu, karate, taekwondo, or any martial art carries over into other areas of our lives and allows us to follow the same blueprint to achieve success in our schooling, work, and our personal lives.


In my own experience, earning my jiu-jitsu black belt has been THE most challenging goal I’ve accomplished in my life and after doing it, other big goals doesn’t seem quite as intimidating because I understand the process for achievement


Something we talk about with students  is having SMART goals:


Specific (say exactly what you want to accomplish)

Measurable (be able to track your progress)

Attainable (goals should be challenging but not impossible)

Relevant (fits with your other goals and life plan)

Time-bound (what is your deadline to achieve this goal)


The key for your SMART goal is to keep in mind that thinking about it isn’t enough! You need to write it down and review it on a regular basis!


Call to schedule your free orientation 512-504-3354 or read more about Dojo Kyle at


Thank you,


WIll Caldwell


Dojo Kyle is the top martial arts school in Kyle/Buda. Founded in 2011 by Ryan Shinto, Dojo Kyle offers classes for kids ages 5 and up designed to develop the critical building blocks they need for school excellence and later success in life. Dojo Kyle’s adult program is structured as a complete fitness and conditioning program for adults  who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Will Caldwell is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and Judo black belt. He graduated from Texas State University and became involved in martial arts while in college. He was one of Ryan Shinto’s first students at Dojo Kyle and believed so much in the life changing results of training (from experiencing it himself!), that he was offered a larger role at the school and became part owner- dedicating his time and energy to introducing more and more people to martial arts!