If you want to do jiu jitsu well, you need to learn how to do it.
So, what’s the best way to learn?
First, be curious.
You’re not curious when you’re under pressure to perform, or when you’re worried about being flattened or broken.
You’re curious when you play with possibilities, and differentiate between each of their outcomes. It’s how you can determine the most effective, and efficient way forward, and that’s how you find improvement.
Next, you need to create the environment that nurtures this curiosity.
As humans, there’s no denying we’re influenced by who and what is around us. The students and the teacher and ethos of your school is affecting how you train. When you find people, and places that embrace learning, and ongoing improvement, you don’t need to struggle for your curiosity, instead it’ll be encouraged.
You won’t improve if you’re challenging yourself to the limits every day. When you’re at war in every training session you’re surviving, not learning. There is a big difference. When you survive, you do what is necessary not to die. You fight for each milimetre because the consequences of getting things wrong are too severe.
Survival mode usually looks like very heavy and abrupt breathing, scrunched up faces, loud bangs and stomps, and heavy amounts of effort. This is also around the time the injuries start to happen.
When you’re learning WITH your partner, you work with eachother. You understand what each of you are looking for, and you’re on the same path practicing and trading moves.
Working with someone will usually mean you can smile at any given moment during the roll, your breath is under control, you can stop if anything gets put in too much danger. Your movement will look smooth, you find effortless leverage, and you can roll for hours and hours on end.
You’re not a deadless weight. You’re not soft. This helps no-one. When you play sure you can counter attack, and defend, and escape, and submit. This is the name of the game.
But you are not stopping your partner’s moves. You’re working with them. You don’t fight for every milimetre, because you’re happy to yield to things that aren’t going your way. This is how you get to defeat eachother, but not hurt eachother.
When you play jiu jitsu like this, you can be curious and ready to learn at any moment.
And if you want to do jiu jitsu for a lifetime, this is the only you’ll get there.