I wish there was some way to quantify the amount of epiphanies one has while training Jiu Jitsu, but the simple truth is that there just isn’t. The reason is because these “AHA!” moments are too numerous and readily available to try to count. I think that’s part of the reason that this art becomes so addictive. You constantly are presented with opportunities to not only improve your game but also who you are. The two basically go hand in hand.
If you think about it, you start this journey knowing next to nothing about the techniques and leverage Jiu Jitsu offers. Then you feel it. You feel some smaller person just absolutely use you and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Eventually you start to learn how this and that works and you become capable of executing a handful of techniques. Then you get to a place where you can actually help other people defeat or shut down these techniques that you’ve worked so hard to make work. This process of actually helping others defeat your go to moves ends up not only helping them become better but also expands your own game.
This is the true nature of Jiu Jitsu. You acquire technical aspects from people better than you, expand on what you’ve learned, use these techniques until they’re difficult to stop, and then help others defeat them. This process of vulnerability is what creates growth. I don’t know where else in life that someone gets to experience this crazy cycle of personal growth. It creates a measured and realistic approach to all aspects of your life. You literally help people beat you so that you can evolve. Once you’ve experienced this full circle of evolution, you can’t help but see the world and its inhabitants differently. You get to know and understand what true personal development really is. Hope to see you on the mats!
- Roy Silvers (Blue)
Having trained at another Jiu Jitsu academy several years ago, I was fortunate enough to recognize the value of getting involved in the growing process of a young school with big potential. I knew that I wanted to be a part of building a solid core group of like minded individuals who shared a common goal. This common goal had to revolve around Jiu Jitsu, its philosophy, and building upon that foundation. I found that at Graves BJJ/Profectus Lebanon. My personal goals were to help find said like minded individuals and play my part in helping cultivate and solidifying an atmosphere that honored this art. In order to accomplish this task, I knew my personal responsibility was to simply get better and try to set a positive example for everyone else. For my own Jiu Jitsu to grow, I had to try to “set the tone” that others could use to measure themselves and their own growth. As the oldest guy in the gym, I realized it was important for me to show how important it was to show up, work on details, help everyone else, and most importantly, keep the big picture of honoring this wonderful martial art and all that’s involved in it in the forefront of my approach to training. One of the best pieces of advice I could give to someone new to training is that their piers are watching. I understood that with even the slightest success, those that were dedicated to improving would be watching. They’d be watching how you drilled, how you warmed up, how you ate, how you listened while the coach talked, and mostly how you carried yourself. This is a great responsibility and one that I take seriously.
Fast forward a year and a couple months and all of the sudden we have a handful of new people ranging from young to closer to my age. As much as I’ve learned and experienced personally in this process, I can see that it’s not the responsibility of the new people to adapt to my process as much as it is that my process needs to adapt to them. Even though I have to accept that because of the nature of how physically, mentally, and spiritually difficult Jiu Jitsu is that most people won’t be able to stick it out, I still have a responsibility to help them try. I have a responsibility to Jiu Jitsu and that core group that helped me become who I am today. If I honor that responsibility then I can know I’m doing the right thing. After all the lessons this art has taught me, honoring those lessons is as important as learning them. See you on the mats.
- Roy Silvers (Blue)
This past week the boys at Graves BJJ worked a little yoga and a little guard action! Come join us on Monday and Wednesday nights for your Jiu-Jitsu FIX! OSS!!!
The New Person:
If you train long enough at a Jiu Jitsu Academy, you will inevitably get to experience what it’s like to train with a new person. This is a practice in and of itself. It’s an opportunity to not only see the effectiveness of what you’ve been training, but also to see yourself in someone else. You already have an understanding of how difficult it is to just show up and participate. You understand how humbling it is to be physically dominated by an assortment of different people with different body types. You have felt the desperation of being helpless. You understand how powerful it is to have your ego completely deflated.
These are just a few of the obstacles on a long list of what all Jiu Jitsu practitioners face over and over again each class. So how do you “sell” this to others? How do we explain the benefits of this thing of ours to the average person? I think the answer is that we don’t. We can’t. All we can do is let the new person feel what we’ve all felt. We can only show them how helpless they really are and present them with the answers. After that, it’s really up to them. The majority of people do not want answers to these difficult situations and we have to accept that. The ones that do will come back.
So what is the proper etiquette for drilling and rolling with someone brand new? This, like so many other things, will depend on the new person. As a general rule of thumb though, the goal should ultimately be to be helpful. We don’t want to overload someone with the hundreds of variables we’ve experienced in any given position, but at the same time we want to give them what they need to be able to effectively drill the techniques. It’s a fine balance between helping someone get in solid reps and controlling our own excitement of wanting to talk for hours about how much this art has changed our lives.
Rolling/sparring with a new person is an even more delicate task. This is where you often feel just how much you’ve learned and how truly effective it is. Let’s face it; if a person comes in and knows little to nothing about Jiu Jitsu, they’re basically a toy to someone that does. You can see it in everyone’s eyes as soon as a new person steps on the mats. It’s like sharks circling a wounded seal. Something we have to remember though is that new person is the most dangerous person in the gym to not only you but also to themselves. You really don’t know how someone will respond to pressure, exhaustion, or just being uncomfortable. This makes the first general rule of rolling with a new person simple. Protect yourself. Be safe. The second general rule should be to protect them. I typically don’t like to throw any submissions on someone brand new unless I stop the roll altogether and then explain the sub and how I got there. It’s rare that a submission is necessary to show someone the effectiveness of Jiu Jitsu. On occasion you might have to submit someone that’s just coming too hard and a good ole armbar or choke is the only attention getter they respond to, but usually just feeling simple techniques and sweeps is enough to convince someone. Again, they have to want the answers.
In the end, those willing to work to find solutions to the problems we present them are the ones we want as future training partners. Our responsibility to new people is to present them with said problems and the opportunity to learn how to fix them. Jiu Jitsu will filter out the rest.
- Roy Silvers (Blue)
It's MAX ladies and gentleman! This man has come far early in his jiu-jitsu career. You can find Max drinking Modelos at your local Mexican restaurant. He's also been known to hand out OMOPLATAS to his *quote "Triflin' ass Panzee" teammates. Follow him and many others here on the Profectus Lebanon YouTube channel. OSSSSS!
You can always do something. This is just a fact that we should all realize sooner rather than later. Everyone has that inner voice that talks to them and gives them a vast assortment of justifiable excuses. We’re tired. We worked all day. We’re hurt. We’re injured. The list goes on and on and our inner voice is well versed at making us understand and except all the reasons we should skip training and stay at home. Besides, our favorite show is on and there’s a half gallon of delicious ice cream in the freezer.
The catch is that once you’ve spent any amount of time training, you know the TRUTH. That truth is that you only ever regret not training. You never regret that you showed up. If you’re hurt or injured, you might not be able to train, but you can watch. You can show up with a notebook and take notes. Maybe you can drill and not roll. Maybe you can just be there and support the others. Learning to conquer that inner voice, whose sole purpose is to give you excuses and essentially rob you of your progression, is a practice of its own. Make the fact that you can always do something more powerful than any other voice. There’s only one of these voices that will lead you to success. The other leads you to regret. You can always do something
Roy Silvers (Blue)
Jeff Spain Jr
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt