Jiu Jitsu is a fun and simple thing.
Keeping your mind focused on fun will take you far.
"People rarely succeed unless they are having fun in what they are doing," said Dale Carnegie.
Keeping your mind focused on simple things will take you far, too.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," said Leonardo da Vinci.
I recently promoted one of my students from white to blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He had been training with me for one and a half years at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu Baltimore.
During that time, he had made steady progress. But in the last six months, his improvement was so vast, so noticeable and so markedly different than before that he looked like a new person.
Yet, his techniques had changed little. His execution looked better in drilling, but it was nothing remarkable. He used simple, “white belt” level moves. Yet, he was no white belt. Everyone could see that.
Learning Brazilian jiu jitsu has been the greatest challenge of my life. It took me 14 years to earn my black belt and I’ve devoted the last six years to teaching others this wonderful martial art.
Yet, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.
Few other martial arts present the complexity required for mastery like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Students must be proficient while standing and on the ground, attacking and defending, with submissions and escapes, on top and on bottom. Each new position has dozens of technical possibilities.
So it’s no wonder learning and improvement in this martial art can be difficult, slow and frustrating.
Teaching children's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes in Baltimore has been an amazing experience for me. Though it was never something that I aspired to do, it has been one of the best experiences of my life. At every class, I’m impressed with the abilities, skills, and smarts of our young people, and they’ve helped me shape a great program at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu Baltimore. They’ve also helped me craft five goals that we use to promote a positive environment where everyone can gain from training in martial arts.
Once I started studying the Feldenkrais method and using it within my jiu jitsu training, everything that I did changed. The first thing that I learned, and then applied to my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, was how we do something is much more important than what we do.
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.