Starting anything as a beginner is hard work. Whether it’s physical activity like BJJ or even something like a new job. It’s hard work and takes effort. But then what comes after can be even worse, becoming comfortable! That’s why I’m going back to the beginning.
Back to the beginning
I was recently promoted to a purple belt. It was a bit of a surprise to be honest. But it has made me realise that I really need to focus on my learning. I have won a few IBJJF medals and I do good when rolling. So what I can do has gotten me this far. But being able to “do” a technique is not enough. I am starting to realise that understanding is more important. To do that you need to do some data gathering, around limitations and application. Building an a knowledge of what makes the technique work. Up till know I have been able to use my weight and size to make a technique work. I now want to not have to rely on those and that means really learning some stuff.
It’s not just me.
I have been reading a book called Bounce . There is a part of the book that really echoes with my current situation. There is a section on Accelerated Learning, where it refers to a study on elite skaters. The study found that there is a major difference between the elite and the less elite athletes. But it wasn’t genetic, personality or family background, it was the type of practise they did. Elite skaters regularly attempted jumps beyond their current capabilities, less elite skaters didn’t. This is described as purposeful practise. One really strong statement in this section is “Progress is built, in effect, upon the foundations of necessary failure”.
Who likes discomfort?
This means focusing on learning and doing it properly. Going back to the beginning. Just like when I was a beginner trying everything out. But this time concentrating on what I am doing during each round. Also setting myself targets fro each roll. But during most rolls there isn’t much time to think. So what I have been experiencing is getting passed more and as a consequence tapped. But going backwards to go forwards is worth the pain and ego battering. I am also hoping that this time I can improve quicker, so I don’t go through it for too long.
To finish here is another great quote from “Bounce”. It is about a japanese figure skater called Shizuka Arakawa. It was estimated that from her progression from a five year old wannabe to the 2006 Olympic Champion she tumbled over 20,000 times. As the book puts it “Landing on your butt twenty thousand times is where great performance comes from”.