Karin, my martial arts sister that I spoke about in my karaoke post, is fluent in six different languages, and she says that you don’t really know a language until you dream in it. I am happy to report that I now speak Jiu-Jitsu, because last week I had my first Jiu-Jitsu dream that I can remember! In the dream I was grappling with Stephan Kesting, who like Karin, is Canadian. I’ve watched a fair amount of his instructional videos lately, so I guess they seeped into my subconscious, eh? A few months ago I also signed up for his beginning BJJ newsletter, (which I wish I would’ve done back when I actually started Jiu-Jitsu), and I really enjoy his teaching style and his advice. The most recent email I received from him talked about how to get good at Jiu-Jitsu in three short sentences:
1. First take ONE topic.
2. Then shine a light on it from every angle.
3. Move on, and repeat.
This philosophy is exactly how I have been approaching my training. The reason I can put a triangle on someone from almost anywhere is because for awhile I made it my only focus…how to do it, how to defend it, and all the mechanics that make it work. I now understand the triangle on a level which enables me to do it from all positions without having to think about it. That doesn’t mean I can always get it, but it is always an option. “One topic at a time” is also the way I usually write about Jiu-Jitsu. I like to keep it simple, and focus on one thing. I try to make it understandable to people who don’t have a lot of experience, and in doing so I’ve had people who don’t even train Jiu-Jitsu tell me that they have learned things from my writing.
Jiu-Jitsu is hella complicated, and it can be overwhelming. By focusing on just one thing at a time you can break it down, and make it easier to understand. In Stephan’s newsletter he pointed out that you probably already know what you need to work on…if you get armbarred all the time, focus on that…if you can’t get out of side control, work on that. The reason I spent time figuring out the triangle is because I was tired of getting triangled, and the bonus to learning all about it so I could defend is that I also learned how to effectively apply it.
Often for beginners the answer is “I need to work on everything!”, and that’s true, but you cannot learn Jiu-Jitsu all at once. Pick just one thing, truly understand it, and then move on. Do that about 3,000 more times, and you’re home free!