Giving Away the Secrets to Success
Stephen Whittier has some unorthodox advice for grapplers who want to improve at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as fast as possible.
In the video below, he discusses how our interactions with our teammates can speed up our development.
In a nutshell, Whittier begins by observing what everyone knows but few take to heart: training should be about learning, not winning.
However, Whittier goes beyond simply encouraging grapplers to stop worrying about how many times they have to tap.
The problem that Whittier recognizes is that most of us still try to win when we’re rolling with teammates. In essence, we treat our teammates as surrogates for competitors, and—despite the fact that we know learning is more important than winning—we still try to win when rolling with our teammates.
Whittier points out how reluctant we are to share the keys to our success with our teammates. When our teammates ask how we are accomplishing an escape or submission, we’re cagey about it. Whittier compares it to sharing a recipe. Instead of giving the full recipe, we still want to be the only one to cook it successfully. So, when we give the recipe to our friends, we leave out a key ingredient.
Whittier’s advice is to give the complete recipe. On the mats, that means telling your teammates exactly what you are doing. It means showing your partners exactly how to beat you. That way, they can adjust more quickly. This means you will have to adjust in turn.
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This approach prevents stagnation in our practice. It demands constant improvement and maximizes the challenge we face when we roll with our teammates. You will have to come up with new tactics, since you’ve stripped away your advantage.
Whittier admits that, while this may seem like a selfless approach to Jiu Jitsu, it is still a self-interested tactic. After all, we want our training partners to be as good as possible so that they push us to improve. In the end, everybody gets better.
But this approach does guarantee that you will struggle against your teammates. It guarantees that you will fail…which is difficult.
It will make you a better grappler, though. Whittier tells the story of how he established his own school. By holding nothing back when training his students, he was able to cultivate a community of students who not only improved quickly by challenging each other but who also challenged him and furthered his own development.
This is all built on the understanding that your teammates are not competitors. Therefore, you mustn’t treat them as competitors. You would never tell your adversary at a tournament how to beat you. But, your academy is not a tournament. Your academy is where you should give your teammates every advantage so that they can push your skills to greater heights.
For Stephen Whittier’s complete take on improving your Jiu Jitsu, see the video below:
The Pillars Escapes provides essential escaping tips for every level. If you are a beginner or smaller than your opponents being able to escape from the worst positions will be a staple of your game after watching this instructional from Stephen Whittier. Don’t be held down and stalled on anymore!