Slow is smooth, smooth is fast?
At some point in your BJJ training you may have heard someone spout off the popular mantra, Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Most often it’s used when trying to coax someone into slowing down when they are attempting to learn a new technique or performing a new movement that may be foreign to the body. But something can’t be slow and fast at the same time can it?
It seems to be human nature to desire a high level of proficiency quickly, in all things we do. We see this in BJJ all the time. It’s not a bad thing to want to be good at something, but If we’re trying to absorb information faster than we can process it, we’ll find ourselves not retaining much at all.
Varg Freeborn is an Author, lethal force instructor, and an expert on violence. He has a unique background that’s provided him with an inside look at real life violent conflict. He’s also a long-time student of the martial arts including BJJ. His book, Violence of Mind has gained much popularity, and is definitely worth a read. I was lucky to have Varg at my academy for a period of time. A few months ago, he mailed me a copy of his book. There’s an excerpt I’d like to share about what he refers to as “unconscious competence:”
Freeborn writes, “Have you ever taken a day and just went out to practice slamming on the brakes in your car? Probably not. However, when the moment comes at 50mph and something goes bad in front of you, you will slam on your brakes with extreme unconscious competence and stop the vehicle.”
Getting the picture yet? How many times have you slowly transitioned over to that brake pedal to make a smooth stop? And yet when you need to do it with haste, it’s no problem. But that wasn’t the case your first time behind the wheel. Transitioning from the gas to brake pedal seamlessly took countless repetitions until it became second nature. Our body pays attention to the repetitions we perform. And it digests these themes when we practice them slowly and deliberately. As Varg also states, you can’t go fast first.
So, if you’d like to hit that triangle transition you love, you must make it automatic. How do you make it automatic? With as many slow, deliberate repetitions as possible. When you drill a technique, be attentive to its nuances as you go through the motions. Don’t offer resistance as a partner, not in drilling. Provide your teammate with the perfect reactionary body to perform the technique perfectly. Save the resistance for the live training portion of your BJJ session.
Subscribe to this more focused ideal in your training, and you WILL see results. Be patient and enjoy the process. When it’s time to call up these techniques in a self-defense, competition or live training scenario, your body will have them on file and produce them for you with clarity and confidence.
One of the most technical systems of jiu jitsu has come from 10th Planet system of Eddie Bravo. His black belt Brandon McCaghren recently joined us at the BJJ Fanatics studio to share some of the smooth secrets of their system. We are proud to release our newest DVD and On Demand resource that focuses on the Rubber Guard: The Meathook and you can get it here!