Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fourth Stripe Grading

Everyone starts at the bottom. Everyone must work hard to progress. Nothing is free.

I have given much thought to my last post regarding BJJ gradings. To sum up, I was under the impression that building a game from the ground up, based on situations experienced, would lead to a better game. Organic Jiu Jitsu. Of course, if you are constantly getting caught in triangle, you will learn the defense. And that was the basis of my perspective last week.

I spent some time discussing that perspective with my Professor and he, as with everything in the realm of BJJ, improved my vision. There were two specific discussions that I want to share, as presented by someone who has been there and done that. These two "Perspectives from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt" should be important for everyone who trains in BJJ.

The First Perspective

Driving back from the Marcelo Garcia seminar a couple weeks ago, my Professor shared some of his insights regarding his game when rolling with me. I was interested in finding out how he was able to take control so easily in almost every situation; the little and almost unnoticable things. His words were simple and profound. He said, "I know what your options are." He knows what my options are is because he taught me what my options are.
The Second Perspective
In a private lesson last week, Professor and I spent the first half hour just talking, specifically regarding my BJJ Gradings post. It was time to defend my perspective to my teacher. The discussion was around curriculum. He said, "Do University students go to class and simply choose to learn what ever they want? No. They follow a curriculum based on someone who knows what is important and what is not. That way success is structured and measurable, and ensures the student leaves with the right tools to be proficient in their profession. In our case, the profession is fighting in BJJ."
Tonight I passed one of the hardest gradings mentally I have had to face so far in BJJ; my fourth stripe. The curriculum was not easy and there was a lot to cover; 2 pages of techniques in my case for the stripe. In order to progress in our BJJ club, you need to really understand your stuff and train hard. Rather than discuss what I did or how I did in the grading, I want to discuss how my Professor's two perspectives came into play in altering my thoughts on BJJ Gradings today.

At this stage in my training, I have been introduced to a lot of techniques that cover almost every basic situation found when rolling. As I continue to train, I will know more and more what my opponent's options are. I will constantly re-discover what works because it comes from someone who has done their homework and shares the secrets. Curriculum gives us the path. Gradings ensure we stay on the path. And I am very lucky to have my Professor as a guide to keep my game, and my mental development in check.


P.S. Thanks Sam for being my training partner for the grading.