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, especially how I teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at my school in Baltimore. 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 jiu jitsu 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. A jiu jitsu nightmare. 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 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.
"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. I use these words daily to lead my teachings in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Zenyo Jiu Jitsu Baltimore.
From around 1998: Me, Floyd Sword, Rafael Lovato Sr, Josh Gross in N.M.
I believe there is one reason, one reason above all others, that I am still training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu nearly 18 years since I started.
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.