There are many common sayings in the jiu-jitsu world. One that you doubtless have heard is “learn from everyone”.
But how can this be true?
What is someone like Rigan Machado or Draculino going to learn from a white or blue belt?!?
More than you would think, actually!
I can speak for myself as an instructor. I learn from BJJ students with much less experience in two main ways.
I ask them questions.
When my students and I are talking about techniques, I always ask them a few questions, especially if they are blue belts or purple belts from other academies.
“What kind of game is your academy known for?”
“What techniques is your instructor especially strong at?”
“What is your A game?”
Often, blue belts and purple belts will have a deeper knowledge of a specific position, and they can share some details or techniques that really work for them. They will often say something along the lines of, “I train under Professor Gracie and he says to always grip here and move your hips out for this sweep.”
I have gotten some great details on techniques from blue belts who shared their best positions.
Don’t be afraid to ask other guys about what positions they are strong at.
I learn by teaching.
Henry Akins told me that he felt the best way to get a deep knowledge of the basics is to teach them to others.
How do you learn by teaching a Kimura lock to a new white belt?
White belts will naturally make mistakes, mistakes that you don’t do because of your greater feel and experience. You may assume that everyone knows to grip the Kimura a certain way, but new students will not.
When you observe their mistake, you gain a new level of awareness of the detail for a proper Kimura grip.
A student is trying to twist the Kimura at an ineffective angle. You correct her and show the best angle and leverage. You are now more sharply aware of using the best angle to apply the Kimura.
If you demonstrate the Kimura to enough people, you will see the full range of mistakes and deepen your own understanding of things that previously you may have been doing automatically.
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