Open Your Mind to Open Your Game

Our school recently hosted a seminar by the Ruotolo twins, who train under the Mendes brothers, and it really made me love jiu-jitsu even more.  Jiu-jitsu never ceases to amaze me, with the endless possibilities it provides, with the people you meet, and the innovative techniques practitioners come up with.  This is one of the very many aspects of jiu-jitsu that people get addicted to: its versatility, where you can personalize your own game, and really show your personality throughout it.

I always have an open mind when it comes to most things, but I never really thought about learning anything from two 13-year-olds.  They were so technical with their moves, and you could really tell they were very dedicated to the art.  As a side note, I don’t think I have ever met nicer kids. They were willing to help anyone with anything.  I am pretty sure they didn’t stop smiling the whole time they were there, too.  This is another perk of having your kids in jiu-jitsu, as they learn to be humble, giving, and respectful to others.   

You can take this to other areas of jiu-jitsu, too.  How about belt ranks?  With the sport growing in many ways, you can see now more than ever where upper ranks can learn from lower ranks.  Don’t let your ego hold you back when it comes to this.  Like I said, the possibilities are endless with this sport.  Even if you go to other areas of the country to different schools, they are probably focusing on moves your school is not.  You can take that information back to your school and share it.  This is another great example of why the jiu-jitsu community is great to be a part of.  Almost everyone (there are always exceptions) wants to help others get better. That is how the sport progresses.  We can thank the internet, or in some cases blame it (learn basics before you start youtubing moves), for providing a platform for all of us to share ideas.  If it wasn’t for this, I don’t think the sport would be where it is at today, especially now since you can make a living off of it if you are really good. 

Don’t think you can do a move, or it doesn’t fit in your game?  Open up your mind to other variations of it.  Don’t just chalk it up as a loss.  One move might feel easier than another, but drilling the move over and over will give you a chance to problem solve to make it work for you.  I understand that some people are a little more flexible or have a different body type, but for the most part, you should be able to get something out of the drilling with knowing how to implement the move or defend it. 

Lastly, let’s talk about leg locks.  There is some controversy when it comes to training leg locks, and that is understandable, but one of the biggest reasons they are so dangerous is because most do not know how to defend them.  If people knew how to defend them, like a standard arm bar, they wouldn’t be so dangerous.  Yes, I know getting your arm hyperextended or broke isn’t as bad as getting your knee torn up, but they are still both submissions where you need to know when to tap.  I still believe that leg locks should still only be done by upper ranks, since it is very important to learn the basics at white and blue belt; but if your students are competing at tournaments where these moves are legal, they need to learn to defend them. 

If your mind is closed to certain aspects of your jiu-jitsu or life in general, your options will start to run thin.  If you keep your mind open, the possibilities are endless with your jiu-jitsu and everything you do in life. 


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