Little by Little

“The mat is my church, the ground is my heaven, Jiu-Jitsu is my religion. And once you hit the ground you’re in my world. My world is like the ocean, I’m like a shark, and most people don’t even know how to swim.” – Draculino

In our school Karate is taught through a set curriculum, with each student being exposed to certain details only when they are ready to receive them. Jiu-Jitsu, on the other hand, can’t really be taught this way, so from the beginning you’re just thrown right in with the sharks.

Lately I’ve been noticing many details in Jiu-Jitsu that I don’t know (or more accurately, that I don’t remember). At first it made me feel like a bad student, because there are all these things that I think I should know by now, but don’t. Then I realized that up until now I haven’t been ready to receive those details, which is why they didn’t stick with me. When I first started Jiu-Jitsu I was so overwhelmed that in order to not drown, I had to limit the amount of information that was coming at me, by subconsciously ignoring the things I wasn’t yet ready to learn.

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim. So the fact that I am now noticing these details is actually a good thing, because it means I’m starting to process Jiu-Jitsu on a higher level. A person can only absorb so much information at one time, and as some of it becomes second nature, more space opens up for new info to process. Conan always says that he doesn’t expect us to remember all of the details to everything he teaches in any given class, but with time, things will start to click. “Just keep doing what you’re doing”.

Yesterday in class when I was drilling with Mike, he told me he had read a post on BJJ Today that said Jiu-Jitsu is completely different for “little people” like us, because we have to maximize every bit of what we have. It might take me longer to learn how to make things work, but with every new detail, I become more technical. Little by little, I am learning how to swim. I may still just be doggy-paddling, and the sharks may bite my ass all of the time, but I haven’t drowned yet.

“Little by little, the air clears,
Little by little, I can breathe again.” 
-Robert Plant
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