One of the stories I find myself telling our beginner students about is when I was a new student, I would get annoyed when a technique would repeat. It could be a throw or a submission hold like an armbar and I’d think, “Why is my instructor teaching me this? I already learned how to do this throw! I already know how to do an armbar!”
I can’t help but look back now and laugh! I thought that if there are 500 techniques, learning all 500 would make me good at jiu-jitsu. That makes sense on the surface I think- if I know more techniques, I would win against someone else who knows less. But what I couldn’t grasp in those early days is that there’s a difference between learning a technique and understanding a technique.
Bruce Lee said, “I don’t fear the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” That’s such a great insight. Our goal with seeing you become advanced is drilling those core foundational techniques into your head to the point where you’ve done all of them 1,000+ times and some of your favorites 10,000+ times. Someone could wake you up out of bed at three in the morning and ask you to perform your foundational techniques- and you could do them perfectly while half asleep. No thinking- it’s just programmed in.
With that amount of repetition in our training, the mechanics of techniques are turned over to our subconscious mind and our conscious mind is free to focus on any unexpected variables that need to be addressed on the fly- or depending on how your match is going, sometimes you’ll find yourself in that “no mind” flow state- like when you hear athletes talking about being in the zone.
For beginner students the course is set for you. All you have to do is show up and give your best effort to build the muscle memory on the techniques we cover in our foundations classes at Dojo Kyle. You’ll get a strong understanding of principles and strategy- and enough repetition with the techniques to become proficient at defending yourself.
As you start to make it to your intermediate level (blue belt), you will still be learning and drilling new techniques- expanding your understanding of Jiu-Jitsu- but you’ll also start to put your own flavor on things and develop your own style. This is the artistic part of the ‘martial art” in my opinion.
It’s interesting to me how two people can attend all of the same classes, do all of the same drills, but then when they’re grappling it looks like two completely different styles. It has some to do with body type, conditioning level, flexibility, and other physical aspects to be sure, but there is also the element of creativity that’s unique in all of us. That creativity doesn’t have a chance to shine until you’ve built a solid base by drilling your fundamentals.