A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu New Year
It’s that time of year again. The time when we all realize how much time has flown by over the past 12 months, assess what we did well (and more often what we failed to do at all) and make promises to ourselves to make changes for the better as we head into a brand new year. So in the spirit of the season, I thought it would be appropriate to put together a few New Year’s resolutions of my own, specifically, resolutions to help in my learning of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I wanted to focus on resolutions that are simple, attainable, and within my control. Instead of stating ‘enter and win tournaments’ or ‘get x number of stripes’, I wanted to decide on something that is dependent only on my own effort and consistency. With that in mind, here are my three Brazilian Jiu Jitsu New Year’s Resolutions:
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu New Year’s Resolutions
“80% of success is just showing up”, goes the famous quote (I didn’t originally know who said that, but thanks to a quick Google search, I’ve remembered it was apparently Woody Allen). It is true throughout much of life, and it is in many ways true of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Whilst turning up won’t, on its own, earn me belts or win any tournaments, ensuring that I am consistently arriving at training a few times each week, absorbing what is taught, and importantly, not slacking off on those dreary days when it’s cold or raining, will add up over the course of a year. Beyond merely showing up to CAP classes regularly, when available, I will make sure that I stay and take the foundations class that follows it. After an hours class, and half an hour of open mat time, it is often easy to convince myself that I’ve done enough for the day, yet on occasions when I make the effort to stay for the extra hour of foundation class, I always find that I enjoy myself, and also learn/relearn fundamental techniques that really help solidify and refocus my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. To achieve this goal, on those lazy days, I merely have to remind myself how much I enjoy BJJ once class is under way. This is sometimes easier said than done after a long day at work, but a enough consistency should make this a habit.
Whilst I have found this hasn’t been a major problem for me in recent months, I think it is a crucial element of successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and an area I could definitely improve in. By take it slow, I am referring to taking my time, controlling my breathing, and thinking through my options and actions when in a live sparring situation. I feel like I’ve come a long way since I first started learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and don’t find myself panicking, flailing wildly and gassing out within sixty seconds. But beyond the basics of merely remaining calm, I’d like to make the effort to slow down enough that I can think clearly in regards to correct posture, and what options are available to me from whatever position I am in. Whilst early on I may find myself so busy thinking that I don’t have time to put thoughts into action, as time goes by, an increased awareness of my situation should lead to a deeper understanding of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and improve the deliberateness and effectiveness of any moves I make.
As I have progressed out of the SBG foundation classes and towards the CAP classes, it is important to maintain a firm grasp of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fundamentals. Whilst I may have a basic understanding of postures and pressures in various positions, without constant reinforcement any additional techniques I try to utilize will be performed poorly and become ineffective. So my third and final resolution is to keep my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu simple. In my second resolution I mentioned slowing down and thinking through my actions. This third resolution is to ensure that I keep those actions as simple and focused as possible. Instead of my mind racing to a submission or pass that may be open to me in a certain position, I will instead direct my attention to ensuring correct posture and applying effective pressure. If nothing else, merely understanding and implementing strong posture in each position should solidify my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu enormously.
That is it; my three Brazilian Jiu Jitsu resolutions for the year 2014! Whilst they may seem fairly basic and fundamental, I think they are essential building blocks upon which to develop a strong understanding of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. What resolutions or changes have you made to the way you train that have help you change the way you train?