Jiu-Jitsu Letter

Reminders, Not Lessons

We need to be reminded more than we need to be taught.

And that’s the reason I tell everyone to keep going to Combatives classes, even after they’ve been promoted and finished the program. At my school, Master Cycle students get free access to Combatives.

Jiu-Jitsu’s a perishable skill. If you don’t keep training, you lose it. It’s like anything else. That’s why chasing a belt can sometimes be the wrong approach. Instead, look at training as something you’ll do forever.

I had a talk with a friend who recently broke someone’s arm at another school. They’re both blue belts. He knows better, but stuff like this happens.1 He had a side control Americana on someone, and that guy refused to tap.

He didn’t need to be taught a new lesson. He just needed a reminder that when you have a submission locked, you can easily finish your partner in less than a second, so there’s no need to get an actual tap.2 It was already over.

I think about how often I repeat myself in telling students how to approach sparring. Before the first round, I remind everyone to put in their mouthguard, tap early, and protect their partners. Sometimes, there’s someone new in my class, and it’s a lesson for them. For the rest, it’s just a reminder.

  1. Never in any class that I’m running, of course. ↩︎

  2. This doesn’t apply to competition schools, but it for hobbyists, “catch and release” is an effective enough way to go. ↩︎

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