This is the wide world of jiu jitsu. There are techniques to practice, videos to watch, and details to uncover. People are faster, stronger, and better than you.
Class by class you hone your skills as you deal with the problems of hand to hand combat. You see more possibilities. You form opinions, and you develop habits that work well for you.
Soon you've developed a game. Your game is like your unique style and personality on the mats.
It feels nice to have a game. It’s like your comforting solace of defence, and your sharp blade in attack. You’re safer, the sweeps are easier, and the submissions come way more freely. Soon you’re known as the half guard whiz, or God forbid, the berimbolo guy.
Your game is holding you back.
When your goal is to win, you do what you know works. The issue is if you're always trying to win, you don't get to experiment. And if you're using the same things in the pursuit, there is no way you can develop anything else further.
Your game is a good guide, but a terrible bodyguard. You hold onto it because you're scared of the outside world, and you're in fear of the new.
Soon enough you need to get over the risks of doing things differently.
If you want to mature into a skilled martial artist, and do jiu jitsu better, you need to give up your game, and experiment with the new.
Be a Gold Digger instead.
A jiu jitsu gold digger is a practitioner who seeks not just to know but to understand techniques as well.
This kind of gold digger can look at any expression of jiu jitsu and understand the mechanics behind the motions.
He approaches every technique with vigour because he can search for minor details in every situation. He doesn’t ignore certain ways for the fact that they are not within his game. He doesn’t shun other systems because they don’t align with his strengths.
Instead, he observes everything, and considers what’s underneath. He will look, and feel, and think about what is happening, and how it can be done better. He’ll search, pick out the bits of gold, and throw away the useless sand.
He will see the positive in every experience and see obstacles as opportunities for growth.
How Can you Be a Jiu Jitsu Gold Digger?
1. Go Slow.
Those nuggets won’t fly out and hit you in the face. They’re little specs of feedback from your experiences, and you’ll be sifting through infinite amounts of suck to find it.
If you rush, you will miss the gold. Slow down for the gold.
2. Look around.
There are principles and systems that govern the things we do. We can get to the bottom of them if we continue to employ the benefits of why. Why does this technique work? Why doesn’t it? Your answers will be endless. Do your research, ask questions, attend seminars, learn from outside sources, and always search for the growth. This will guide you to your treasure.
3. Keep an empty pan.
If you load up the pan too much, you can’t sift gold, you hurt your back, and you even risk breaking the tool that lets you do the searching. Put little bits in at a time, discern the essentials, and be satisfied before you move on to the next spot.
It's tough to open yourself up to the unknown. It's not fun losing when you don't need to. And yet when losing is learning, you begin to embrace it as an opportunity for growth. You no longer need to hide from it, and protect yourself from it, because it's a necessary part of the process.
That's why you need to screw your game, and look for the gold instead.