Helping You Learn, Progress And Succeed In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
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.
Method To Improve Ability
A former champion runner, my father understood how important it is not to waste unnecessary energy. "Relax" is the first advice I give all my students at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu in Baltimore. Relax. Don't try so hard, don't do so much, don't always try to get it right. Relax.
Acting is easy. Learning to relax while acting, especially if someone is pressuring you in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is hard. Relaxation is a higher order skill than action. Through it, however, is the path to rapid improvement.
This is the path mapped out by Moshe Feldenkrais, a neuroscientist who studied judo, in his book Awareness Through Movement. The book was first published in America in 1972. According to Moti Nativ, a student of Feldenkrais and also a martial arts instructor, the original name for Feldenkrais' teaching was "The Method to Improve Ability."
This is the method he laid out -- in eight steps -- with quotes from his book.
1. Effective Action Improves The Body and Its Capacity to Act
"The effectiveness of an action is judged first of all by the simple standard fo whether it achieves its purpose. But that test is not sufficient. Action must improve a living body at least to the extent that the same action will be carried out more effectively the next time. For instance, it is possible to tighten a screw with a kitchen knife, but both the knife and the screw will be damaged."
2. Reversibility Is the Mark of Voluntary Movement
John David Emmett is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with an interest in learning theory, movement, neuroscience, and the Feldenkrais method. He teaches at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu in Baltimore.