Shark Tank Training Method

Shark tank training is one of my favorite forms of rolling.

I’m sure you’ve heard of it although it may go by different names at your academy.

I want to delve a little bit deeper into the specifics of my own training because it’s something that I get asked about a lot.

I just want to start off by saying that this type of training isn’t just for competitors. It’s great for all level of students and an easy way to organize rolling.

Shark tank training usually involves groups of three or four, and is designed to give students more rounds of sparring than they could achieve from normal training rounds.

Typically the rounds are short. Not more than three minutes. In order to allow for lots of sparring without having one person sit out for too long. I’ve also seen really short rounds ranging from 30 seconds to one minute. This is great for serious competitors but probably not good for students just wanting to train for fun.

With groups of three, one person will stay in for two rounds allowing the other partners to alternate resting and rolling. After completing two rounds. That person then rests one round. Repeat for as many rounds as you want.

The benefit to this type of training is multi-layered.

For one, you don’t have to pair students up after every round. This can be time consuming and honestly takes time to develop. Pairing partners is an important part of teaching that often gets overlooked. It’s a skill in itself.

Two, students get a lot of rounds of sparring. With normal training rounds you might roll at most 10 times assuming you go for 6 minutes. That’s 1 hour for my math shy friends. Now, say instead of normal training you do the shark tank training instead. At 3 minutes a piece for a little over 1 hour you could squeeze in 21 total rounds if everything goes perfectly. With about 14 sparring rounds per individual.

Again, you’re gonna save a lot time pairing partners. Even if you have the students pair themselves it never goes smoothly. Some students are shy and have trouble getting partners. Some students will use the time in between the pairing to get water or to use the bathroom. Further slowing down the pairing process.

I don’t know about you guys. But I’m really conscious of my management of the time during my classes. I want to offer the best instruction and class I can for the time that I am allotted. Because I fully understand that time is a precious commodity.

With groups of four, the concept is essentially the same. However, instead of having one individual rest. Both pairs of students will roll twice. Making sure to alternate partners accordingly within their group. Then taking the third round off for rest. Rinse and repeat.

Again, this is a great method of training. It’s excellent for pushing students out of their comfort zone. During a long training session many students will take their time and can play it safe. But with the shark tank training you can push your students a little bit harder. There’s less time to work with so students will have to take more risks in passing, sweeping, and going for submissions.

Try adding this to your training and watch your level rise.

Losing Members

This isn’t a topic that I’ve heard spoken about often in the martial arts, especially in Jiu Jitsu.

When you first start an academy. It’s often a small, tight knit group of loyal members that decided to believe in you and your vision.

And if you’re lucky, your program and your academy will begin to grow as you become more successful.

Gaining new members is great and is a sign of a great business.

But what about losing students?

No matter how good your retention is or how awesome your customer service is people will both flow into and out of your academy.

As an instructor, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself in the past to do everything in my power to keep students pumped and excited to train. Which every instructor should strive towards.

But we can’t control everything that happens in the lives of our students.

Some students move.

Some students have families to support and to think of.

Some students don’t like how long it takes to get promoted.

Some students don’t want to train past a certain level.

I’ve written a lot about why many students stop training at blue belt. Which you can check out here.

In reality, it happens at all levels. I’ve seen people quit at white belt all the way to black belt.

Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes your teaching style or personality doesn’t mesh well with the student.

You can’t possibly please every student and that’s okay.

That’s what I want you to take from this post.

It’s okay if your program isn’t right for everyone.

As an instructor, we never know what role we’ll play in the lives of our students.

Sometimes we are a mentor to students needing guidance.

Or a father figure to students with no strong (male) role models.

I’ve been a strict taskmaster for students needing a kick in the pants.

I’ve also been a sound board to students needing someone to listen to their problems or business ideas.

When you become an instructor you will have to fulfill many roles. Some less desirable than others.

Just try your best and give your best everyday.

There’s no secret to keeping students. Create bonds with them and keep providing the best possible service to them.

If they leave it’s okay.

Maybe it was their time to leave and start on some other journey.

Thoughts before a competition

Just finished competing at the first major tournament of the year. The IBJJF European Championship.

My results didn’t go the way I wanted them too. But as I often tell my readers. We can learn a lot from our tournament experience.

We can’t control what happens on the day of the competition. No one can. But we can control our actions and thoughts leading up to our event and what we do after the competition.

For this post, I decided to focus primarily on what goes on in the mind of a competitor before a major competition. Drawing from my own experiences and those of my close friends.

I think the last few days leading up to a competition are some of the most important and stressful.

It’s that period of time when you’ve done all of your physical preparation and there’s really no more time left to add anything new to your game.

All that’s left is the last bit of mental prep.

The more I train. The more I’ve seen the importance of the internal aspects that develop from our training. Some might call it fortitude, or poise. Whatever you want to call it.

This last bit of mental prep can make or break your tournament experience.

I’ve seen athletes that were beasts in training. Beating everyone.

Go into competition looking like a shell of their former self.

The hard truth is that not everyone competes well. Sometimes it isn’t due to their techniques or skill level. But everyone can bring their best self on the day of the competition.

I had to narrow down my list a bit. But these are some of the major thoughts that I’ve had before big competitions.

Did I train hard enough?

No matter how hard you prepare for a tournament. All the drilling, rolling, strength training and cardio. All athletes are going to have some level of doubt in their preparation. You’re always going to feel like you could’ve done more or pushed harder.

A lot of tournament success depends on your preparation. You prepare the best you can but the second part of the equation that many competitors miss out on is believing in themselves.

Believe in your training. Believe in your training partners. Believe in your instructor. Believe in your techniques. Above all believe in yourself.

This is easier to talk about than to develop. It will take time.

The other competitors are more well known

There’s been many times coming up through the ranks when I would have someone approach me. Often before a match. To inform me that my opponent was so and so or won such and such title.

I honestly believe these people were trying to help me. But it often had the adverse reaction. If I was super focused, this would often be enough to let doubt enter my mind.

I’m also sure many of those people wanted to throw me off in order to help their friend I was competing against.

Regardless, you can’t let your opponents past success or your own cloud your mind. Each tournament is different. Believe in yourself and go for it!

What’s my game plan?

This one is highly dependent upon your style. Some competitors follow a strict move A plus move b equals c formula while others have a more improv style.

Figure out what works best for you and stick with it.

I always suggest using techniques that you practice and use during your training.

If you normally play spider guard. Use your spider guard in the competition. Don’t play fifty fifty or some other guard as your main move if you haven’t practiced it.

Will I be on or off the day of?

There’s no way to control this one. The best we can do it try to keep our routines as close to normal as possible.

Have you ever experienced a great roll or day of training where everything was going your way and you performed way above your normal abilities?

If so, try to recall everything that happened on that day like how you slept, what you ate, and anything special that you did to help you perform well.

Once you’re able to pinpoint these things. Try to replicate these factors consistently in your training.

If you’re able to nail this down you will be ready for comp day.

What will I do if I lose?

Again, we can’t control this. In fact, it’s best not to even worry about it. Losing happens. Everyone loses in Jiu jitsu at some point during their career. Don’t dwell on the negative. Even if you lose you hopefully won’t die during the tournament. Although your ego/pride might get a little bruised.

What will I do if I win?

This is a better use of your energy. Instead of worrying about losing. Worry about winning and what you will do after you win.

I know I usually think about how I’ll celebrate after the tournament or how many followers I will gain on social media or how many academies will want to host me for seminars.

For me, each tournament and every competition is a chance to showcase my skills and show the world that I am one of the best.

If you master this mindset you can beat anyone.


There are so many thoughts that will run through your head right before a competition.

You can kill yourself worrying about every possible thing that could go wrong or how good your opponent(s) will be.

Or you can focus on the things that you can control like your preparation before and your mindset going into the competition.

There are times during a match. Especially really close ones where you are evenly matched in skill. When believing in yourself and having a positive mental outlook could be the deciding factor in winning versus losing.