"The Principles of Jiu-Jitsu"

Basic principles of Aikido

I haven’t been to the dojo all week, because I apparently picked up some kind of bug at the Jiu-Jitsu tournament.  Not the kind that are fun to step on, but the ones that infect your head.  Thankfully not the type that crawl in your ear and burrow in your brain, I guess that would be more of a head infestation than an infection.  I picked up the type of bug that mainly just makes your ears and throat hurt, and gives you a bad headache.

Anyway…during this week I’ve been reflecting on some of the advice given to me prior to the tournament, especially by Ray Petersen-Sensei.  At the last women’s class before the competition, Ray was kind enough to stay after the no gi class to help me with preparation, and one of the things he talked about was what he called “The Principles of Jiu-Jitsu”.  He said if I stuck to them, I couldn’t lose.  He also said that the same principles hold true for most martial arts.  He pointed to the Aikido sign hanging on the wall, and said it was a simplified version of exactly what he was talking about.

1. Maintain One Point:  Stay centered and focused.  Play your own game, and don’t allow your opponent to play theirs.

2. Relax Completely:  “Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” -William S. Burroughs

3. Keep Weight Underside:  Get low, get low!

4. Extend Ki:  Ray said that regarding Jiu-Jitsu this also means “In a scramble, always end up on top!”

So, how did I do sticking to those principles in competition?

1. I think I did well, I felt like I was in control of myself, and the match, most of the time.

2. I was more relaxed and calm than I’ve ever been in the past (but still far from “completely”).

3. Yeah…not so much.  Unless by “underside” you mean under my opponent when they were in my guard.  I heart my guard!  When I was on top, I had a bad habit of being on my knees.

4. Fail!  Ray said I ended up on my back in every scramble, but that’s not entirely true…maybe 94.7% of them.  Have I mentioned I love me some guard!

When this head infection goes away and I make it back to class, Ray has promised to appropriately punish me for scoring less than 50% on the Jiu-Jitsu Principles Test.  Sigh, not even the awesomeness of my two gold medals can blind him from the truth on where my game stands. Every “reason” I tried to give him for not sticking to his advice was met with “That just sounds like a bunch of excuses.” When The Doggfather speaks, it’s usually in your best interest to do exactly what he says!


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