Coach's Corner - Thoughts, Tips, and Guidance for a Successful Jiu Jitsu Journey | #6

Coach's Corner - Thoughts, Tips, and Guidance for a Successful Jiu Jitsu Journey | #6

Mat Etiquette

What are the behavioral expectations of students in class? While drilling? While rolling? and in competition? These are perfectly logical and appropriate questions for a new comer to Jiu Jitsu.

The answers to these questions vary, but they all have a similar kernels of logic:

     A. What is your intent?
     B. The Golden Rule
     C. Safety = Longevity

What is your intent?

Most people come to Jiu Jitsu because it's a funs sport / life-time hobby. With that perspective, relax and enjoy the journey. Have fun and be playful. Don't focus on competing with others, but instead focus on how much you grow and improve month to month. Focus on "training to learn". By doing this, you'll increase you rate of learning, overall skill acquisition, and enjoy your journey.

As paradoxical as it sounds, focusing on competition and winning (particularly in a technical class or drill session) often times backfires. Instead of getting better more quickly, it increases the levels of stress, frustration, the chance of injury, and the possibility of burn out in the student. 

So, instead, come to class or drill session with a growth mindset (there will be a TON more on growth mindset in upcoming blogs), focus on giving your best effort, being mindful, patient, and playful and you'll have a much more enjoyable and positive experience. 

While training, 95% + of the time you should have "the mind of Eistein" while learning (being thoughtful, running experiments, really trying to process the new information and stimilus you working with). Only in very clearly defined situations in class and drilling will competitiveness be more important than learning (and these occurrences are rare). 

Black Belt Tip: When in doubt, ask. 
If you have a question about the intensity level of a training session or a round, ask the coach of the class and / or your training partner. Always use your words to clarify and communicate proactivley and effectively.

While competing (if you choose to put yourself in that environment), that's when you should flex your competitive muscle, have the predatory instincts and reactions of a shark, and "go hard". (Note: none of the above statement should some how be construe to condone you hurting your opponent or allowing yourself to get injured.)

The Golden Rule

Always remember and respect the Golden Rule --> Treat others as you would like to be treated ... or better! ! ! Be kind and respectful to your training partners. They are a HUGE resource to your training, your growth, and your overall experience. Think of them as your Jiu Jitsu brothers and sisters rather than opponents. They are allowing you to use their body for practice (as you are doing so in kind to them). 

When trying a new move / technique, go slowly and be aware of what your partner may be experiencing. Jiu Jitsu requires people to get "inside of other people's bubble" / be in very close contact. When doing this (particularly for the first few times), be cautious and aware of your partner's condition / reality. As you get more and more comfortable with a technique, you can add speed, pressure, and intensity to it and see how it goes. Think of learning in the "dimmer switch style" - incrementally adding variables; rather than the "binary style" - it's either 0 or 1 | 0% intensity or 100% intensity. 

No one enjoys being injured. Folks will not enjoy training with you if you consistently injure them or give off the vibe that you don't care about their well-being and safety. People will look forward to training with you if they know you're looking out for their well-being, you're pleasnt / smile when interacting, and you're playful / find the game and sport in the exchnages.

Safety = Longevity

It is better to leave the mat knowing that you let of submission or move go early or didn't complete a technique all the way than injuring your training partner. (Trust me, over my 25 + years of Jiu Jitsu, I've sent three people to the operating table ... and I feel HORRIBLE about that. It wasn't my intent to hurt them. It was an accident. Yet, nonetheless, I need to own the fact that I was responsible in causing their injury. I'd rather drive home after practice knowing that I let a move go and no one got injured rather than the other way around.)

Everyone comes away feeling bad when an injury occurs. You'll feel bad because you injured a training partner / friend. Your training partner will feel bad because they've been injured, they won't be able to train for a period of time (1 day to 9 months depending on the severity), they have to deal with the psychology of feeling broken and their learning process has been interrupted. No one comes away feeling terribly positive.

It takes times to become proficient at a technique. Just because you aren'able to do a move safely today doesn't mean you won't be able to in one week or one month. Always error on the side of safety and caution. . . for everyone's benefit.

Here is a copy of the Mat Etiquette expectations at Five Rings (it's part of the Jiu Jitsu Journal). HERE
Check it out. Please see me or any other coach if you have questions or want to discuss something.

Remember, Jiu Jitus is an AMAZING sport. They key is to enjoy the journey and to accumulate the most minutes on the mat. Being savvy to proper etiquette and customs will help ensure that you'll be able to do that. Consistency (and safety) is king. ;-)

Keep doing ... daily ... forever! ! !


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