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Jiu Jitsu, Bruce Lee and “The Talent Code” Part 1

Jiu Jitsu, Bruce Lee and “The Talent Code” Part 1


Getting the whole picture…

I walked into the gym recently to over hear this conversation between two white belts, “It is like Rhonda Rousey said, ‘I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced 1 kick 10,000 times.’”

The other white belt replied, “No dude, Royce Gracie said that.” The quote is actually from Bruce Lee. Certainly we all understand that practice is a key component for growth in anything in life. However, besides natural talent, how do you explain the difference in skill between two Jiu Jitsu practitioners who have the same amount of training time? In a lot of ways, Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code is a practical exploration on how to get the most out of practice. In this book, Coyle explores pockets of the world that produced exceptionally high levels of talent. These pockets include Brazil for soccer, Meadowmount for classical music and Florence for artists. He explores the unique components of these pockets and how they contributed to the disproportionate level of high talent that was produced in these areas. These components included what he termed as ignition, commitment, teachers and practice. For the purpose of these articles we will focus on practice.

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Coyle differentiates between practice and a term he coins as deliberate practice. A definition of deliberate practice is a practice that is both purposeful and systematic. Regular practice generally is based solely on repetitions. Deliberate practice consists of the following: getting the whole picture, chunking, slowing it down, immediate feedback and a high volume of reps without gaps.

The first component of deliberate practice as describe by the Talent Code is getting the whole picture. This can be described as understanding where you are going and what the results should look like. If we use the metaphor of comparing Jiu Jitsu to music, then a movement like shrimping or bridging may be a note. It is important to hear the whole sympathy. One possible application of Jiu Jitsu might be watching high level competition footage.  In my own experience, there is a guy at my gym who hit brown belt in a very short time. He is good. I am always picking his brain (I know, I am that guy) on what is different about this training structure. One thing that he always told me that never made sense until I explored this book is he watches a lot of high level competition footage. I always assumed the value he obtained was analyzing technique from the footage.  However, in retrospect, I don’t think he was analyzing the technique.  He was just “hearing” the sympathy.

There are certainly other Jiu Jitsu applications of getting the whole picture. I am curious to know how you would apply this idea to Jiu Jitsu.

In the second part of this series, we will look at chunking, slowing it down and feedback as described in The Talent Code and make applications to Jiu Jitsu.

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