Jiu-Jitsu Letter

Secret Techniques

There’s no substitue for time on the mats. Watching instructionals is extra credit and it’s worthwhile, but it doesn’t make up for missing class or skipping rounds.

There is a lot of content on membership sites and YouTube, but watching videos isn’t enough.

Personally, I still find plenty of value in outside (off-mat) learning. I think in the past, I was searching for “secrets” to help me win more rounds. But I’ve come to realize that that’s not the way. Everyone will figure you out anyway, so trying to have secret techniques is the wrong approach.

Morihei Ueshiba in The Art of Peace1:

Progress comes to those who train and train; reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere.

The key is sharing everything. You can be a teacher, which some say is the optimal path to mastery, or you can simply share what you learn. (I teach, and I think it can be true but it’s not as straightforward as it sounds.)

But as long as your mentality is about sharing everything, it’s not necessary to strive for instructorship.

With “secret” techniques, you can gain confidence, especially when they help you win a round, but it’s not going to last. You may have spent extra time on YouTube or watching a DVD or attending a seminar, but this is equivalent to making it an arms race. There will always be someone with more time for more off-mat learning.

If you learn a new technique, maybe try it and get that first tap, but then try to teach it. You want to be good because you’ve practiced against an intelligent opponent, not because you’ve practiced against an ignorant opponent.

Black belts have mastered the principles behind the techniques. So, in a sense, they already know what you’re trying to learn.

The most efficient path to mastery is focusing on principles, not techniques.

  1. The Art of Peace, Morihei Ueshiba ↩︎

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