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The Key To Rapidly Improving Your Jiu Jitsu
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The Key To Rapidly Improving Your Jiu Jitsu

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Over the years, it’s become the mantra of Jiu Jitsu. Repeated countless times in every school in the world.

Leave your ego at the door. Let your ego go. For some people this can be one of those easier said than done type of scenarios. Jiu Jitsu can be a rough sport and no one really enjoys being on the losing end of a physical encounter.

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Others may even misinterpret it as a weakness of Modern Jiu Jitsu. A McDojoing of the sport. But the reality couldn't be further from the truth. Letting go of your ego is an absolute requirement if you want to improve at a rapid rate.Let's put this into a scenario. We'll take two new grapplers that are just starting on their journey. We'll call grappler 1 Todd and grappler 2 Mike.In their first roll they start on their knees and Todd instantly proves to be stronger than Mike. Simply overpowering him and taking a top position.For the rest of the round Todd uses his strength to maintain the top position. Mike tries relentlessly to escape but his lack of skill makes overcoming the strength deficit impossible.

During their next class, they drill arm bars from the top position. Todd is instantly excited about the new technique and is eager to use it during the day's roll. Once again paired up with Mike, Todd again overpowers him to take a top position. After working his way to mount, he then aggressively dives after his newly learned armbar submission. But pulling off an arm bar during a live roll isn't as easy as he thought it would be. Instinctively, Mike simply pulls his arm out, comes up to his knees and takes a top position. To Todd's horror, he's now on the bottom. A position that in his head, is viewed as LOSING. ARMAGEDDON. THE END OF THE WORLD.

Todd panics and frantically tries to escape. But Mike is also giving it everything he's got because this is the first time he's been on top. He's not going to give up the position easily. Mike struggles, but manages to maintain the position for the rest of the round. Victory at last. The world is his. If this sounds like just two silly White Belts rolling. That’s because it’s exactly what it is. You can watch this same scenario play out over and over again at gyms all across the world. The catch, is what comes next. Because of the way things played out, Todd now refuses to attempt top side arm bars. He refuses to risk losing his precious top position.

Over the next few months Todd continues with the same game plan every day. It doesn't matter what the lesson of the day was. He's going to get on top and he's going to stay there. He can't be beaten again. He won't let it happen. As a result, his progression comes to a screeching halt. He completely relies on his strength to obtain the first position then just holds on for dear life. Nothing changes. Nothing improves. Mike on the other hand isn't given a choice in the matter. Still being overpowered at the beginning of the roll, he quickly loses position and ends up on the bottom. With nothing to lose, and no option available other than working from the bottom, Mike gets to work. Vigilantly paying attention in class. Every day, hoping to find that answer to help him escape.

First, he learns to recover guard. No longer getting crushed in Side Control or Mount, Mike can now breath. Then arm bars from the guard. At first, his attempts are similar to Todd's initial attempts at arm bars from the top. They're sloppy and he can't finish them. But since he's now gotten quite good at recovering his guard, he can quickly do so and nothing is lost.

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Then it happens. After countless attempts and continually adjusting after each failure, Mike locks and finishes an arm bar on Todd from the guard. Todd fights, but is ultimately is forced to tap. In the few short months that Mike has been doing Jiu Jitsu he's learned to recover his guard from both Side Control and Mount, and an arm bar from guard. Not only has he learned them, but he's learned them well enough to be capable of using them in a live roll against someone of equal experience. Todd on the other hand has learned very little. His ego has kept him locked in the same spot. Fearful of a possible defeat, he’s kept a death grip on the only thing that has ever worked for him. Having attended all of the same classes as Mike, he’s been given the exact same opportunities to learn. But his fear of a perceived failure has locked him in place.

If you really want to improve at a rapid rate you must put that fear aside. Let go of your ego. Don't worry about getting tapped out. You have to be willing to try the new moves that you're being taught. You're not going to execute them perfectly on the first attempt. You're going to get stuck in bad positions. And at times, it's going to really suck. But that's how you learn, that’s how you improve. Figuring out what works and what doesn't. Tweaking an angle here or a grip there. Being willing to experiment in order to grow.

If you can't get past your ego, you will spend years watching everyone else pass you by.

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