Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ten quick tips for you, who is practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I am trying to organize a ton of notes for my upcoming book, The BJJ Globetrotter, on which I am writing like a maniac at the moment. It is containing a lot of my thoughts and philosophy on Jiu Jitsu, and looking at the notes, I decided to quickly boil some of them down for a blogpost.

So here are ten quick tips to make your training and life easier:
1) Don't worry about getting good. There is always someone out there, who will kick your ass anyway, no matter how "good" you get. Just enjoy the daily training, that’s the real value of Jiu Jitsu.

2) The number one factor to really learn Jiu Jitsu is time. Talent and hard work will get you nowhere without time, and there are no shortcuts. Everyone has periods, where they feel like they have stopped improving or are getting worse. Frustrations like that, are a part of the journey and they will pass. Stick with it and eventually you will be a black belt too, it’s just that simple.

3) Don't try to learn too many things at once. Focus on really learning a few things, maybe only four or five a year. Make a commitment to yourself to always go for these in sparring, and with time, you will end up with a handful of solid a-game moves, that you can pull off against almost anyone. As a beginner, trying to learn a hundred moves off YouTube is a classic mistake. Pick out a few basic things, that you have been taught in person instead.

4) Trust experience. The advantage of having a more experienced teacher is, that he made all the mistakes for you in the past. Even though something might initially not make sense or seem to work for you, trust what he tells you, keep trying and it will pay off in the end.

5) Don’t worry about the color of your belt and number of little tape stripes on it. It really doesn’t make sense to try and sharply divide the skill level of individual athletes into so many categories. Imagine a ranking system like that in any other sport, like maybe tennis, golf or basketball? Measuring your expectations of performance against who ever you clap hands with, through these nonsense visual indicators is impossible. Despite being a cute idea, belts symbolize many other things, than just how you are “supposed” to do in sparring and competition. We are each on own our own journey, and you can confidently be proud of where ever you have personally gotten to. It is normal for many people to feel, that they don’t deserve a promotion, but you have to trust your instructor on that. He probably trained a lot longer than you, and most likely knows better. There will be plenty of time to mature in your belt, and it is a part of it.

6) Compete, even though your brain tries to convince you not to. You will lose and you will suck, but it is an important and non-avoidable part of competing, that pays off in the long run. For us normal people, it takes everything from 20-40 matches to start getting a hang of competing. Everything up until that point is full of nerves, irrational thoughts and lots of bad results. And don't wait till you feel “ready” to compete. No matter how ready and prepared you might think you are, there is still a very good chance, that you will lose anyway. Just jump in the deep water as early as possible and learn how to swim there, instead of spending all your time practicing on land. The experience - no matter the result - is worth way more, than giving in to your natural fear of failing. You will agree, when you've done it.

7) Train with everyone. There isn't one correct way to do Jiu Jitsu and you might have ten different black belts show you ten ways to do the same technique, before you settle on how it works best for you. Also, the people in that other gym in town have similar interests as you, and could very likely become great friends and training partners. Why not pay them a visit next week? Jiu Jitsu politics makes zero sense, except for those, who are worried about losing money or status in a fantasy hierarchy, which basically only exists in their own heads. In the real world, where most of us lives, grown ups should be allowed to play with any other grown ups they like. Especially, if they pay for it.

8) Jiu Jitsu is a fantastic vehicle for social life and traveling. With this sport, you posses a special key to experience other worlds. You can walk into any academy on the planet and you will have an instant network of local friends. That is a bulletproof recipe for lifetime experiences, memories and friendships. Do it.

9) The final answer, on wether you should train gi or no-gi is here. Just do whatever you enjoy most.

10) If you come by a waterfall, always do a cool Kung Fu pose under it. It will improve your balance and sweep defense.


Anton Emery said...

Great advice, especially number one. Really looking forward to the book.

slideyfoot said...

Good list, although I'm still not sure on the competition thing: I did it once and hated it, though I would agree everyone should at least give it a try.

Like everyone else, I'm also really looking forward to the book release! :D

Christian Graugart said...

Yeah, thinking about it today, I have been thinking I should have written something about "try to compete", instead of just "compete" :)

Jmozaic said...

I really think you hit the nail on the head about competing personally. I don't see how you could hate competing, unless there are some underlying issues there. Like me for instance...I grew up a very sheltered child and I was afraid of my own shadow. I started jiu-jitsu for this very reason. When I found out about competing I figured what better way to get over my anxiety. I still get extremely nervous before competition and next year I will be coming up on my 12th competition...but I know eventually it will make me stronger, less anxious, and a better fighter!

cmikuta said...

I don't need a waterfall to hit a Kung Fu pose!

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