A few weeks back we had an awesome opportunity to hop on a Zoom session with the Goat of Jiu Jitsu Roger Gracie. It was a surreal experience to be honest. The initial Zoom was about breaking down Rogers last fight against the young up and coming heir to the throne Marcus Almeida (Buchecha).
I have met plenty of famous Jiu Jitsu athletes over the years, from going to the IBJJF Worlds multiple times to doing our own Podcast. This was the first time however that I had been given the insight into there fight preparation, why they did what they did and how they countered their opponents game.
Listening to Roger explain why he played a negative game for the first five minutes, why he had a completely different fight stance to the way he normally fought was amazing. Even the little details of mistakes that Buchecha made in that fight. It was also great to hear how important that fight was to him, how if he lost he would forever be known as the second best Grappler of all time and not the best, and while it's not the be all and end all, it was super important for his legacy.
There has been lots of things I have taken out of this, but probably the most poignant was his advice for white belts, but not just white belts, it can be used for all lower belts. Don't try and over complicate your learning experience. You will come to the gym and learn a heap of new things every week, and that can be mind blowing, but try and find a few techniques you like and that suit your game and make them your own. Be the best at doing those techniques, Takedown, Guard Pass, sweep, submission etc, be the best at those 1 or 2 techniques in each area of your game. Everything else will fall into place over time.
We are lucky at our gym, we have a very open learning environment, I encourage people to look for different teaching styles and try new things, I believe that's how we all get better. Some gyms don't like this, I have been at a gym that banned any students doing techniques that weren't taught at that gyn...craziness. I believe I and my fellow coaches have a duty of care for our students, and that is to make them the very best they can be, this is why we teach a lot of styles that aren't really our style or suit our game, we want you to be the best.
We say it all the time that everyones journey In Jiu Jitsu is different, some people are competitors, some people are what we call lifers. Lifers is the group I'm apart of, we just love Jiu Jitsu and everything it has to offer. There is nothing wrong with being a lifer, you still want to learn and be good at the art....but competition isn't your thing. If you are a competitor well that's a different thing, rolls are hard rolls, drilling is important and competition is always the focus. This isn't easy, there are a lot of sacrifices that need to be made and most people can't make them. Doing that Zoom with Roger confirmed for me what it takes for people to be the best, and it's not an easy road...so if that's your desired path be prepared for it.
Thank you all for reading my ramblings haha, see you on the mats.