Training Slump? Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning

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I have a training partner that acts as a great motivator for me. We live in different towns, so we don’t always get to train together. It seems like I’ll get better than him for about a week… then he works insanely hard and gets better than me for around three months.

It’s infuriating at times. This guy can go out and learn on his own so easily. He’s like a sponge. He just soaks up any and all knowledge that comes his way. I’m not exactly a proponent of sensei Youtube, however, this training partner of mine seems to be able to watch any grappling video and pull off the technique while live rolling without ever drilling it.

I get it. That’s not the method for everyone. But the drive to learn is. There comes a point in everyone’s grappling life that they have to take responsibility for their own learning. One day, you may find yourself sitting in your academy and it hits you: you’ve not learned a thing in weeks, maybe months.

So what do you do? Signing up for private lessons with your coach would be one of the best ways to go (unless you can’t afford them). Do you go hit up Youtube? Not necessarily (it isn’t a bad thing to do, but it can’t be the only thing you do). How can you improve if it isn’t happening at your own academy? This is where that drive comes into play.

If you care about improving, you will find a way. About a year or so ago, I helped a friend open a gym in town. I helped coach the kid class and ran competition training for adults. As much as I liked the guy, he wasn’t very business savvy. The gym never grew, and many of the initial students ended up leaving.

While there, my learning stagnated. I hadn’t done any learning for months, and I had only been rolling with brand new white belts. It was a recipe for grappling failure. So, what could I do? The first thing I did was sign up as a volunteer coach for the local high school wrestling team.

It gave me a chance to get some form of grappling in, and to clean up my stand up game. I started making more frequent trips to affiliate gyms out of town. Eventually though, I saw the writing on the wall and knew I had to switch gyms.

CaptureSwitching gyms isn’t something I necessarily recommend either. It’s a hard thing to do. It felt like I was breaking up with a girlfriend that I really liked. However, making the switch ended up being a great decision for me. I was able to learn from a wide variety of people instead of worrying about teaching class myself.

For me though, I wanted to be competitive in my grappling, so I went even further. I began weight lifting, I worked out with a conditioning coach, and I continued to help the local wrestling program. The leaps and bounds I have made in my grappling life since have been astounding.

My point of sharing these experiences with you is this: show accountability for yourself. Take your learning into your own hands. Don’t focus on the next stripe, ignore the next belt. Instead, just look to improve. Make your personal improvement the most important thing to you.



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