Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when you are training correctly can indeed be the “gentle art”; and when in competition it can be not so gentle, and understandably so!
In November I will have been involved in BJJ for 28 years, having started at 37 years, you can quickly see that I’m no spring chicken.
If I had to do it all over again, there are 3 things that I personally would have done:
1. I would have worked at taming my ego much quicker than I did. (Actually my training partners tamed my ego over time). Unfortunately for me my learning curve was very long and it was my ego that held me back. I treated training like it was a war and I had to win on every occasion. However, with that attitude I was not learning anything, except how to tap. (Which actually is a good thing!)
I was using strength to compensate for my lack of knowledge, mat maturity, and ability, and I risked injuring myself and my training partners in the process.
If I had it to do over again, I would have left any strength that I had in the car, and I would come in the Academy with a humble attitude and a heart for learning the Jiu-Jitsu the Gracie Way.
My recommendation: Check your Ego at the door.
2. I would also have realized quicker that the rougher that I was, the more pain that I would have to endure after each training session, and in the long haul. At 37, I recovered much quicker than I did in each successive year. I found that the adage: “slow is smooth and smooth is fast” was the key to calming down, doing the reps and drills to improve my BJJ game versus trying to smash and try to ‘beat’ my training partners. I would have realized sooner that it’s not about winning in the Academy, it’s about learning.
This breakthrough is what allowed me to train healthy, reducing the risk of injuring myself and others and waking up the next day not feeling like I got hit by a bus the day before.
My recommendation: Calm down and become a student of the game. Assume the people you train with are bigger, faster, stronger and more athletic than you. How do you accomplish this?Dedicate yourself to becoming a ‘technical machine’…..your Jiu-Jitsu will improve dramatically and you can relax knowing that you’ll be okay in most positions or threatening situations. Calm Down!
3. Trust the process: the Gracie’s and Machado’s of the world are the pioneers of this game. If I could do it over, I would concentrate every ounce of my being on learning everything EXACTLY as it was laid out for me in classes, private lessons and seminars.
I wanted more technique, before I could do the technique that was just presented to me. I would not be the guy who does 2-3 reps and sits and waits for the instructor to show another technique. I was called out for doing this in a seminar with a very well known Instructor, and it certainly changed my outlook, in a very embarrassing way…lol
My recommendation: put the work in, do the reps, trust the process and have fun in the journey!
The mat doesn’t lie my friends. I hope you can use this information to better your game.
”Train hard, train smart….train for LIFE!