Depth of Knowledge…
Recently, I was teaching a group of blue belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the topic of “depth of knowledge and understanding” came up.
I’d like to share are a couple of things with you to make you go “Hmmm”…
I encouraged this group of blue belts NOT to get caught up in “the technique trap” (where the primary goal is to continue learning more and more techniques without a major emphasis on developing skill and understanding along the way). Instead, I encouraged them to continue to memorize, practice and develop what they already knew – or at least thought they knew.
Next, I gave them a most unforgettable experience! I asked each of them to place me inside of their guard and to prevent me from passing it. Each student tried hard to prevent me from passing their guard, but I eventually passed. And from their perspective it seemed like I used the same technique each time. When I finished passing each guard I asked them, “What did you see and what did you feel?” They all said something to the effect, “You passed our guards using the same under the leg guard passing technique and none of us could stop you.”
I replied, “Good. That’s what I thought you would say. Now I want to show you the eight (8) ways of passing the guard under the leg.”
They looked at me as though to say, “What do you mean, ‘Eight ways of passing the guard under the leg? You only taught us one way.’”
I smiled ☺️
Then, I showed them the eight methods of using the basic under the leg guard passing technique as well as the four primary positions used to pass the guard. And then I waited for their response…
“Hey, how come you didn’t teach us these things a few years ago?”
I smiled again and replied, “You struggled trying to remember the twelve individual mechanics of the basic under the leg guard pass. Do you think you could have handled these additional twelve details? I don’t think so! Plus, at that time, you weren’t quite ready for the next two phases of guard passing!” (NOTE: The extreme basics of the under the leg guard pass represents the first phase of training!)
This was their response…
I share this with all of you to encourage you to go far beyond learning hundreds or even thousands of techniques in your training. Instead, I want to you to consider learning, memorizing, practicing, developing and mastering just a few handfuls of techniques that will work for you on just about everyone! The key to doing that lies in the manner in which you train, not the technique!
From my perspective, what I have written above is the true meaning of “Old School Training”
AN INTERESTING NOTE: One time, a few “curious” students at the end of a seminar asked me to perform the old school under the leg guard pass on them. They asked me to do this because they wanted to compare old school Jiu Jitsu versus the new school (i.e. Rubber guard, De La Riva Guard, Worm Guard, Koala guard, etc.). So, I agreed!
One of them was an “X” guard specialist. Another was a “Rubber guard” specialist. And the final guy was a “Koala guard” specialist. All three were purple belts. I went to work and passed each student’s guard 4-6 times using nothing but the under the leg guard pass. Each of them had fascinating comments at the end of the session. They were surprised I was able to do so – especially after I had allowed them to establish full control over my body.
They wondered, “How did you do that?”
I replied, “I passed your guards using nothing but the fundamentals of proper mindsets, proper positioning, proper angles, base, no posture, softness, lots of understanding and one basic technique – the under the leg guard pass” ☺️
They left with a greater appreciation of something they considered to be “old school” (i.e. something they thought – and had been taught as – out dated and obsolete).
Food for thought…
Good training to you,