When you train slowly, you learn faster, and do it better.
And when you learn jiu jitsu slowly, you improve quicker, enjoy it more, get injured less, and get to do it for a lifetime.
In Praise of Slowness
We have busy, over-scheduled, rushed lives. We’re pushed to live faster and faster. Patience is a virtue, but it's becoming more and more rare.
You want to progress quick! If BJ Penn received his black belt in 3 years, why can’t you?
The issue here is that your body will struggle to keep up the pace. And the fact is that effective learning just doesn't happen like this.
Training too fast, or hard will affect your work on the mats in many ways.
Senses Love Slowness
For starters, your brain can’t process the nitty gritty details when you're on high speed. The sensory feedback on offer throughout your entire body is something you need to tune into. In order to pay attention to this, you need to slow down and look for it.
"Slow is smooth, smooth is fast"
To move with quality, focus on reversibility.
Reversibility in movement implies that you can do the move in the same way both going forwards and then backwards.
Put your movements on rewind in order to better understand the movement at hand.
That is, when you are looking to pass the guard, you ought to learn how to unpass the guard too. In the same way you got there, try to go back.
This will help you to co-ordinate the different parts of your body, and realise what's actually involved in the movements at hand.
Can you Stop?
When you go slow, you learn the skill of controlling your own movements. You know that you are in control of your movements when you can stop at any moment in time. When you are doing a forward roll, you are cognisant of your weight distribution and can halt the movement at any moment in time. This is to have control of your body in movement.
When you are going so hard, or fast that you can't stop what you're doing, you are asking for an injury.
You're passing guard, and your opponent's finger gets caught in the gi. When you're in control, you're able to stop, and prevent the injury. You're training, and the guard pass isn't the be all end all. Being able to train the next day is.
You Get Better with Consistency
On the mats, and off, slow down.
You won’t learn quicker if you go too fast, and too hard. Instead, you’ll get injured quicker. That means you can't train and your progress halts.
Everything worthwhile takes time and patience. Keep showing up to class - Be consistent, patient, and persistent. Show up.
Day after day. One step at a time.
When you commit to the slow life, you may experience some worry about things moving at a fast enough rate.
- You might want to know all the moves now.
- You might expect to be better than everyone now.
- You might want to stop getting submitted so many times from closed guard, now.
If all goes to plan we’ll be old and grey and still practicing jiu jitsu, just like the Grandmaster Helio Gracie.
You’ll get to where you want to go. You don’t need speed, but consistent effort, and practice.
You will lose, and tap.
It’s inevitable, and normal.
But the important thing is you’re building your understanding of mechanics from now. When you seek quality in your training, you soon realise that it’s a lifetime of practice in and of itself.
There’s no short cuts. Let yourself relax, and take the slow and steady route. That’ll be the one you enjoy more, and that serves you better, and takes you Higher.
Some people learn faster than others, and that’s great. You’ll just continue showing up, doing your best, and giving it what you have. That's enough now, and it always will be.