BJJ is not a hard core martial art, hell it’s less physical than wrestling and less painful than Muay Thai and perhaps that’s why it takes the longest to learn for so many. Jiu Jitsu means gentle skill. It’s takes many years to just untrained ourselves to not use brute force. That “if I just try harder” mentality and even the occasional “I’m made of glass” so be careful slows us down or rather keeps us in a box.
“True knowledge comes from accepting one’s ignorance”-Confucius
I often roll with people and hear them say something to the nature of “I get to this spot and my mind goes blank”. Often times the suggested cure all is to drill it. To develop those techniques into muscle memory. Sooo somewhere around 5,000 times. 😬 you know, along with all the other million possible scenarios.
My suggestion? Figure it out! Every scenario has its own unique variables. Don’t hesitate to try something just because it might not work. Don’t be afraid to get tapped. We win or we learn. In which case it’s a win win situation. If the choices you made results in you loosing position or getting submitted then you now have great confirmation as to know it’s not very effective. However, that’s where genius is born.
I will often polish a technique or discover a new one by changing variables of how I approach and apply it. Many are absolute failures but they get me to that smooth one typically with a few options if my opponent throws me some curve balls. This is what I believe is meant by the old adage “A master has failed more times than a beginner has even tried”.
Will there be droughts? Hopefully! There will be periods where it seems like you’ve gone months maybe a year or two without your ideal improvement or noticeable “successes against your partners. That’s ok and that’s where you need to adjust your perspective of success. We often measure it be simple win or loss. I either tapped another or got tapped by another. Maybe, you’ve learned that often times rolling to a draw is a win. Especially to advanced and or bigger belts.
I try to gauge my students success the latter but take it deeper. Maybe they they get tapped by me but how many techniques did I have to link together for that submission. How many subtle submission or techniques attempts did they defend, before I got the ones I could. Are they picking up on the cues from me to choose the right technique to defend or attack?.
Often times a student will come to me with a technique/submission and state “I’m having trouble with____”. Now it could be they’re doing the technique wrong but often times they’re either choosing the wrong technique or simply not setting it up/using it at the wrong time. A fight is albeit crude a form of communication. My attacker/opponent is telling me something with his actions and if I can listen and interpret correctly then my response is more likely to be ideal. Think 🤔 How many arguments you’ve won by raising your voice over another rather than remain calm and listen.
Listening/feeling/seeing what your opposer is doing gives you so much knowledge as to what to do and honing that can be a great success in itself. Now it gets tricky as advanced belts we learn to redirect or give false statements to our intent but that’s for another blog. Bjj is tough but not dangerous. Those who get hurt are typically to rare accidental collisions, or more commonly are broke by their pride. So if your getting smashed by many or most in class take solis in knowing your growing learning and winning faster than your opposer.
I personally take pride in practice when I let a student or even another advanced belt at an open mat take a dominant position and I can just conserve energy and defend his attacks. I’ll test myself to give them multiple opportunities to submit me and each time they fail I win!! Eventually they may submit me but I know it took them several if not many attempts. Remember BJJ is self-defense first not self-offense. Measure your wins by defenses not by submissions. So be the stone that gets polished!!! 🙏🏽🤙🏽💯❤️