Jiu-Jitsu Letter


Who was your first teacher? Was it a black belt? Or was it a blue belt?1 There’s nothing wrong with learning the basics from a blue belt, or a purple belt. It’s fine. If you were learning English, you wouldn’t need a college professor to teach you the alphabet.

However, if you’ve trained a while and are now a purple or higher, have you stopped to rethink your early learnings? What you learned from a blue belt may be “correct,” but it may not be the most efficient way. And, it could actually not be correct, so it’s good to relearn what you’ve learned. Empty your cup, and start again.

It’s worth it. I’m a brown belt now, and when I take privates, it’s with a black belt. And what do we go over? Usually, it’s the basics. I teach the beginner program, so I’ve relearned them over and over. But I’m never so arrogant to think there isn’t more to learn.

Ryron Gracie says he’s learned more about the trap and roll escape in the last year than the rest of his life combined. What does that mean about any technique you’ve learned?

It’s strongly encouraged for our advanced belts to continue attending the beginner classes. For us, that’s the main self-defense program anyway, and it’s important to stay sharp with those techniques. It can get repetitive, but that’s good. That’s an opportunity to focus on the details you previously missed or ignored.

On the triangle choke beginner lesson, we’re taught to pass the opponent’s inside arm across your body. That makes the lockup easier. But you can finish without doing that. Why? We’re also taught a “perfect” lock is to have your legs in a figure four configuration. But it’s actually tighter if they’re not. Why?

  1. I started teaching as a blue belt. Anyway, even if you learned from a black belt from the start, it’s good practice to question everything. ↩︎

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