Jiu-Jitsu Letter


Jiu-Jitsu is a perishable skill. That’s why you don’t want to be the one that says, “I used to do jiu-jitsu.” Because by then, it’s almost like you never trained at all. Find a way to train forever.

It’s important to think about your original reasons for learning jiu-jitsu. I think most start for self-defense. I’m assuming that even those who end up at a competition-focused school, the original intent was to learn to protect themselves.

But as we get better, we can lose sight of that. We start competing, either at tournaments, or with our fellow students. We keep a mental scorecard and compare ourselves to others. This is good in some ways, like making sure you’re improving, but it can lead to frustration. And that frustration, if we’re honest, is the reason we quit. Or consider quitting.

I have a private student that trains twice a month. It’s not enough volume to master the art in ten years, but it’s enough to improve each class and more importantly, get the off-mat benefits. Just about everyone I know who trains says they are happier, less stressed, and more confident.

When you take time off from training, the first thing to go is timing. You’ll still have the techniques memorized, but the timing won’t be there. Take more time, and the technique goes away too. It’s perishable. It’s kind of like riding a bicycle, except you’re racing others in the mountains. Maybe a better analogy is being a gun owner, but keeping your guns in the closet and not going hunting or to the firing range.

Skill is perishable, but it can be refreshed. If you need a break, take it, but know that the longer you stay away, the easier it gets to stay away. When you do come back, you’ll be rusty. And those who were even with you before you left will have passed you. Be prepared to struggle because if you’re not ready for it, it could get you thinking about taking a permanent break.

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