How Elon Musk Would Approach BJJ
Elon Musk is famous for breaking very complex systems down to their most basic components.
For example, when he wanted to build a rocket to go to Mars, he ran into a roadblock right off the bat because the cost of a rocket was somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 million dollars. This was the average price after visiting a number of aerospace manufacturers.
How did he solve the problem? James Clear lays it out nicely in his article about Musk.
He is quoted as saying he approaches problems from a physics framework rather than by analogy. His quote is "Physics teaches you to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. So I said, Okay, let's look at the first principles. What is a rocket made of? Aerospace-grade aluminum alloys, plus some titanium, copper, and carbon fiber. Then I asked, what is the value of those materials on the commodity market? It turned out that the materials cost of a rocket was around two percent of the typical price."
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What he did instead of buying a rocket was form a company, purchased the raw materials and built his own rockets for a fraction of the cost. Thus, Space X was born.
He did the same thing with solar batteries. What was accepted truth at the time was that battery packs were expensive, like 600 dollars per kilowatt hours. First principles break the battery into its component parts. Musk asked what the stock market price of the materials that make up a battery pack? It's made up of cobalt, nickel, aluminum, carbon, etc.
By thinking backwards to the most basic elements, he was able to create a solar battery to about 80 dollars per kilowatt hour.
So what does all of this have to do with the sport of grappling?
A lot actually.
When it comes to grappling one could spend hours and hours on Youtube learning moves and piecing together a game.
Of course, it's better to go to a school and be taught by a qualified instructor however even that has its limits.
If you spend most of your time learning something new in each class how much of that are you actually implementing with regularity?
I would venture not a lot.
What I believe Elon Musk would do is look at the situation and break it down to which position he found himself in the most often.
For example, if he found himself being on the bottom of side control a lot, he would search for the simplest, most effective means of escaping a pin and drill it a thousand times until he could do it in his sleep.
He would then proceed to do this from every position. Finding the most effective techniques for each situation as it presented itself.
It would end up being only a handful of moves he would need to employ on a regular basis. Sure there would be different approaches and entries, but once he had the basics firmly entrenched in his arsenal, he would be able to flow freely between the different scenarios with relative ease.
As he progressed he would become better and better at finishing, and he would then look for the most effective means of accomplishing this task.
My guess would be he would spend an inordinate amount of time learning how to finish from the back.
I would also venture to guess he would choose the best teacher to learn these fundamentals from.
We don't have to wonder aloud what Elon would do.
We have our own version of Elon Musk in this sport, and his name is John Danaher.
Simply watch John Danaher's video series on either Back Attacks, The Kimura System, or Leg Locks, and you will see first principles thinking in action.
Commit yourself to the process and truly learn what he's teaching and you will find your game being elevated to the next level in no time.
It's like being in a classroom setting the way he builds upon each lesson.
Don't just watch the videos though. To get the most out of them take notes. Treat it like a class and write down the important points of each section. Then begin to implement what he's teaching the next time you go to class.
Here's the really cool part. Because the grappling knowledge Danaher is teaching is so fundamental and sound you will begin to see overlap with other classes that have nothing to do with what he's teaching. This shows that you are now starting to see Jiu-Jitsu from a physics perspective or rather from a first principles framework.
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You will be shocked at the progress you make.
Where you will see a lot of people who just want to roll, seem to stagnate, you will continue to grow as a practitioner and will develop a deep understanding of the art that you can use to teach others as well as use yourself in your own training.
What it boils down to is taking ownership of your training. You must reach a point where you realize that to progress you must do it on your own. Every high-level practitioner I know has come to this realization.
Yes, you still need an instructor. However, the instructor's goal for you should be to see you outgrow the nest and become your own teacher.
This helps the instructor as well because now he has someone he can learn from as well. You will develop your own style based on sound fundamentals.
If you can't train in New York with John Danaher himself, an excellent option for you is, to begin with, his instructional series and indeed break it down to its essential components.
Be patient with the process and commit yourself to the journey of continual improvement. You will be amazed at the progress you make.
By making micro goals such as watching and taking notes for 20 minutes each night and then implementing as soon as you can your game will go to heights, you never imagined when you were a beginning white belt.