There are still secrets in the martial arts, hidden in plain sight where nobody can see them. They are often disguised by layers of misleading “wisdom” that can take you years to wade through:
- What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – Actually, it injures, weakens and breaks your confidence – particularly in the striking arts. The last thing you want to do is become gun-shy [unable to keep your eyes on your opponent as the strikes come towards you ]
- Iron sharpens Iron, steel sharpens steel – Actually it chips it, they slowly break each- other down until one cracks. Ever see the damage a sword can do to another? Imagine what our bodies do to each other during training.
- Champions train Champions – This is actually rarely the case and the reason is very simple; champions are often talented athletes, whilst the best coaches often have to struggle in their art to understand and be able to communicate the nuances.
Marcelo Garcia, one of the greatest champions in the history of Jiu Jitsu, has also become a very successful teacher in the art. Although he is often challenged by brilliant competitors like Bernardo Faria, he spends much of his time rolling with people of lesser rank than him. It’s also very common to see Thai Champion’s training with anyone they can get their hands [ or feet ] on.
It’s common to get caught up in assuming that if you have tough training that you will automatically excel, but the path to improvement is more complicated than that. Simply getting in the trenches every day with tough training partners will certainly make you tougher, improve your timing and increase your endurance. On the other side it will almost certainly increase your wear and tear and risk of injuries; if you can’t get on the mat, you can’t improve.
The secret is that improvement takes more than just tough training and showing up. The real secret is engagement and responsibility in your own development. Like anything, the faster you learn this, the faster you learn. This brings me to the little equation I’ve learn from years of observing the best; the fastest way to improve is to ensure that your training is balanced; + – =.
The Formula : + – =
+ \\ People superior to your ability \\ Focus on Defense \\
It’s important to seek out the best coaches and training partners. There is no question that surrounding yourself with positive people who walk the path that you wish to be on will help you improve and visualise your goals.
– \\ People inferior to your ability \\ Focus on Offense \\
It’s also vital that you spend time with people that you are of a higher level than. This allows you to control the training, come out of your defensive shell and engage in live drilling and learning. It allows you to trouble shoot areas, angles and strategies while testing out new games. Focus on Offense
= \\ People equal to your ability \\ Focus on Putting it together \\
This is the real testament to your improvement where you can see your growth. In my opinion this is the most important training partner to find to facilitate your growth. I’ve seen world champions with only one person their = [ often their siblings ] and that’s all they needed to move up together.
For the average person, the ratio for the + – = equation should be 25/50/25. In my experience this leads to the most improvement, the least injuries and most importantly – the most joy.
See you on the mats!
We teach Martial arts – Authentic Jiu Jitsu – BJJ – to the following areas:
BJJ Roseville, BJJ Chatswood, BJJ Crows Nest, BJJ North Sydney, BJJ Gordon, BJJ Cammeray, BJJ Artarmon, BJJ Lane Cove, BJJ St Ives, BJJ Ryde.