Jiu-Jitsu Letter

Advanced Learning

Depending on who you are and where you train, you will eventually outgrow either your training partners or your instructor. It’s crucial that you recognize that, and be open to seeking a teacher or school that can take you to the next level, whatever that may be.1

And it may not be about “getting better” at jiu-jitsu. It could simply be that you understand what you want out of the art, and realizing you won’t get it at your current school. An example could be having an instructor with a bully mentality and noticing that fellow students are being influenced to become bullies themselves. If you don’t want to be like them, then you need to leave.2 3

The other thing to work on is accepting “Yes No Sometimes Always.” This is a phrase I often use to answer student questions. We need to be OK with some contradiction when learning. For example, someone asked if they should use a thumbful grip on the wrist when applying a kimura. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If you asked a jiu-jitsu teacher, he’ll probably say no. If you asked a catch wrestler, he’ll definitely say yes.4 Who’s right? Both.

  1. Several years ago, this led to me moving closer to Gracie Academy in Torrance and starting regular private lessons. (My family and I recently moved further, but I continue to train there.) ↩︎

  2. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn ↩︎

  3. “It is inevitable if you enter into relations with people on a regular basis… that you will grow to be like them. Place an extinguished piece of coal next to a live one, and either it will cause the other one to die out, or the live one will make the other reignite. … If you consort with someone covered in dirt you can hardly avoid getting a little grimy yourself.” — Epictetus ↩︎

  4. He’ll also tell you it’s called a double wrist lock, not a kimura. 🙂 ↩︎

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