BJJ Mental Models Review | Is Premium Worth It?

BJJ Mental Models Premium is really cool. It offers a unique way to get better at BJJ quickly. It has audio courses on topics that you can’t get anywhere else. It also has a platform where a black belt analyzes your sparring footage. And it has a community where students and teachers talk to each other. I tried out everything on this platform and in this BJJ Mental Models Review I tell you exactly how everything works, and why I like it.

Explore audio courses, black belt sparring analysis and more on BJJ Mental Models Premium

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BJJ mental models review: Quick summary

I really like BJJ mental models premium a lot.

It’s one of the best ways to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu online and I highly recommend that you try it.

Why I like it

The things that I like the most about BJJ mental models premium are:

  • Audio courses save me so much time. Because the courses on BJJ Mental Models are all audio courses, I can listen to them while driving or cleaning my house. It’s really much easier to make time to listen to an audio course than to watch a video course for me.
  • The conceptual approach is unique. I really like that the courses focus on abstract things such as mindset, goals, how to train effectively and overarching mechanical principles in jiu jitsu. (Don’t get me wrong, I love a good technique instructional too but I think it’s also really good to get a broad perspective on jiu-jitsu and it’s hard to get that anywhere else).
  • Unlimited black belt sparring analysis. This is my favorite feature. You can send in a video of yourself sparring or competing and a high level black belt will analyse it and tell you what you can do better. This made me improve faster than anything else I ever did in jiu-jitsu.

My advice

I highly recommend that you try BJJ Mental Models if you want to improve your jiu-jitsu.

You can try the platform risk-free with the 7 day free trial. And you can use the code ‘MAX’ (my name) to get 50% off your first three months after the free trial. (Steve gave me that code because he’s a great guy 🙂 )

Use code ‘MAX’ at checkout to get 50% off your BJJ Mental Models subscription (after the free trial ends)

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What is BJJ mental models Premium?

logo bjjmentalmodels

BJJ mental models premium is a premium service that helps you improve your jiu jitsu with the help of mental models. The service includes audio courses, sparring analysis and a community. You may also know the name ‘BJJ Mental Models’ from their podcast, which is free.

What are mental models?

Mental models are what Steve calls the abstract concepts, principles or ideas that help you think about BJJ more clearly. These mental models can be mechanical, such as ‘the knee elbow space’ and the theory of allignment. Or they can be strategic, such as double trouble and the 3 phases of guard passing. Or they can be psychological (my favorite kind), such as the 80/20 principle extreme ownership. You can read about all these in the BJJ Mental Models database.

A lot of these mental models apply to everything in life, but the point of BJJ Mental Models is to teach you how you can apply them to jiu jitsu.

Who is Steve Kwan?

Headshot of Steve Kwan: owner of BJJ Mental Models
Picture of Steve Kwan (owner of BJJ Mental Models)

Steve Kwan is the creator of the BJJ Mental Models Platform, a tech CEO, a BJJ black belt and host of the BJJ Mental Models podcast. He created BJJ Mental Models when he realised that the same mental models that lead to success in BJJ, also lead to success in business and life. On his platform he explores these mental models with other successful people in BJJ.

What do you get with BJJ mental models premium?

BJJ mental models Premium includes the following content and services:

  • Audio courses by world class black belts
  • Unlimited sparring analyses
  • A community of online teachers and students

Let me tell you how these work.

The audio courses

The audio courses are basically podcast series about a topic in BJJ. The audio format is really nice because you can listen do it while doing something else, and it leads to new topics that aren’t covered in traditional video instructionals. I have a full list of the available courses below, but they’re about things like ‘game planning’, ‘rhythm training’ and ‘financial jiu jitsu’.

These are all the courses on the platform:

  • Guard Retention (by Jon Thomas): Jon explains the core concepts you need to know to never get your guard passed again.
  • Drilling strategies (by Andrew Wiltse): Andrew explains how to train to become better quickly, and which kinds of drilling do and don’t make you better at BJJ.
  • Jiu Jitsu Polarities (by Emily Kwok) (coming soon): When should you be loose and when should you be tight?  When should you be relaxed and when should you explode?  These types of questions are called polarities, and they’re everywhere…including Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Rhythm training (by Margot Ciccarelli): Margot introduces her philosophy around time and tempo.  A really interesting look into the mind of one of Jiu-Jitsu’s most innovative players.
  • Defensive positions (by Priit Mihkelson): Priit explains his famous new defensive positions, such as Panda and the running man, and how to apply these defensive principles in any position.
  • Game planning series (by Steve Kwan and Matt Kwan): a 7-part audio intensive that guides you through the creation of a systems-based gameplan. If you’ve ever gone into competition feeling like you don’t have a real strategy, or if you feel completely reactive to what your opponent does, the Gameplanning Series is your solution.
  • Introduction to Mechanics (by Steve and Matt Kwan): a 9-part series of brief audio courses intended to quickly ramp you up on BJJ systems thinking.  If you’re a beginner at BJJ, or if you’re new to the BJJ Mental Models system, this is the best place to start.
  • Old Bastard Jiu-Jitsu (by Mike Mahaffey): all about that classic, crushing, methodical style that the older grapplers made famous, and that you can do no matter how old you are.
  • The triple threat (by Claudia de Val): Claudia breaks down the classic “triple threat” guard game: the armbar, the triangle, and the omoplata.  
  • Competition and emotion (by Dominyka Obelenyte): all about the mindset and psychology of a great competitor.
  • Jiu jitsu for imbeciles (by Rob Biernacki): a jiu jitsu for dummies course, focussed on mechanics that apply throughout BJJ.
  • Optimizing the self (by Emily Kwok): about competition mindset and what goes into the life of a competitor.
  • The Purler way (by Nick Purler): Nick Purler systematically deconstructs the concepts from his amazing wrestling mindset book, The Purler Way.
  • Financial Jiu Jitsu (by Meg He): Meg He (a founder, centrue capitalist and BJJ competitor) provides a framework for launching and growing your Jiu-Jitsu business.
  • Creating gym culture (by Jeff Shaw): why are all gyms so different, and how do you create the gym culture that you want?

Unlimited sparring analyses

The sparring analyses work as follows. You upload a video of yourself sparring or competing, and a black belt analyses it. The black belt then records a video where he talks over your video, pauses it to point arrows on the screen, and explains what’s happening in your roll. He shows what your most common mistakes are and how you can do better. (I personally think this feature is AMAZING.)

The community

The community is a Discord server with all the students and teachers of the platform. It’s a very nice area where you can discuss the courses and ask questions to the teachers.

Is BJJ Mental Models Premium Good?

I really like BJJ Mental Models Premium. Even more so than I thought I would. Here are my reasons.

Why audio courses are (sometimes) better than video courses

The courses from BJJ mental models are unique because they are audio courses. so they are basically podcast series about a particular concept or position in BJJ. The audio format has a few unique advantages:

  • You can listen to it while doing something else.
  • It’s better for conceptual discussions.
  • Is opens up many new topics that you would never talk about in a video series (such as mindset, psychology, overarching concepts and principles).
  • The content speed is much quicker because the instructor doesn’t have to show anything AND repeat himself multiple times (like when showing at technique).
  • You get very high level instructors because this is the only place that they can give an audio course.

Why the black belt sparring analysis is the best feature

The black belt sparring analysis feature is very unique, so maybe you don’t fully understand what it is. So let me give you an example from myself.

Here’s a sparring analysis video that Steve did for me. I’m the guy in the purple gi. I uploaded the video and made a comment that I wanted general feedback. Check out the result for yourself.

I found this analysis insanely helpful. I think you can see why.

Steve identified my biggest mistake (standing too upright instead of crouching more) within a few minutes. I fixed this mistake and it really makes a big difference on how much pressure I put on my opponents, and how easily they can reguard and sweep me.

It’s crazy how much 1 good tip from a good black belt can help you. That’s why I like the video analysis so much.

Why I Like the BJJ Mental Models community

I really like the BJJ Mental Models community because you get to talk with high level black belts, such as Steve Kwan, Jon Thomas, Priit Mihkelson, Stephan Kesting and many others.

These teachers are more accessible than I expected. For example, I asked a question in the community about one of Priit Mihkelson’s courses, and the first guy to reply was Priit himself. I continued to ask him questions about the course and his ideas about BJJ more generally for over half an hour. This was insanely helpful.

I don’t know any other digital learning platform where you have such close contact with the instructors. I think this is very helpful because asking questions leads to much deeper learning.

What could be improved?

 I really like the platform but I think some things could be improved, such as:

  • Get John Danaher on the platform. The platform already has 2 of the most famous conceptual speakers in BJJ on the platform: Jon Thomas and Andrew Wiltse. I feel like John Danaher and Lachlan Giles are 2 other perfect candidates for giving conceptual courses. Can we get them on? Please?
  • Make an app for Android. I actually know that they’re working on this already but at the time of writing it’s not done yet. It’s very easy to listen to the audio courses on an iPhone, but on android you have to go to the website through your phone browser.

What does BJJ Mental Models Premium cost?

BJJ Mental Models Premium costs $20 per month. You can cancel your subscription monthly. And you can try out the service for free with the 7 day trial.

AND you can get 50% off your first month if you use the coupon code ‘MAX’ (my name) at checkout.

Is BJJ Mental Models worth it?

Yes, definitely. It’s actually underpriced if you ask me. You get access to 14 BJJ courses, unlimited sparring analyses and the community for only $20 per month. (Or $10 with my discount code.) If you compare that to any other BJJ instructional, it’s a really great price.

Explore audio courses, black belt sparring analysis and more on BJJ Mental Models Premium

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