Long before I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I used to compete in every sport I could at school. I played basketball, football, baseball, soccer, tennis and track. I loved athletics and had tons of great coaches. Of all the instructions I got over years of activity, the only one that stands out to this day came from my father. "Relax," he would say to me during my track races.
One of the greatest discoveries of my life has been the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, the judo master with a busted knee who learned a new way to train the body and movement. His teachings have changed the way that I approach everything that I do. His ideas are such a radical departure from what I have known and considered to be true that they make me question all I thought I knew.
I remember one training session from my blue belt days. I went against a very strong and fit white belt, who wore me down, passed my guard and trapped me in side control. I couldn't get out. Only the end of the round saved me.
Traveled to Virgina for a weekend of training with my crew at Virginia Beach Jiu Jitsu. Got some awesome rolls and see how much everyone has improved.
Once I started studying the Feldenkrais method and using it within my jiu jitsu, everything that I did changed. The first thing that I learned was how we do something is much more important than what we do.
"To understand movement we must feel, not strain.To learn we need time, attention and discrimination; to discriminate we must sense. This means that in order to learn we must sharpen our powers of sensing, and if we try to do most thing by sheer force we shall achieve precisely the opposite of what we need." Moshe Feldenkrias, Awareness Through Movement
John David Emmett is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with an interest in movement and the Feldenkrais method. He teaches at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu in Baltimore.