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You Either Learn Or You Don’t Learn
One of the most commonly used expressions in combat sport is that you either win, or you learn. The problem with this mindset is that it implies that by winning you did everything correctly, which is not always the case.
When you look at all of the top competitors in combat sports, one thing that they all have in common is continual improvement. Regardless of whether it's, MMA, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Wrestling, or Kickboxing. There's a ton of skill required in all of these sports, and to get to the top, those skills must be constantly improving.
It's an unfortunate trap that a lot of fighters find themselves in. They get to the point where they've won a couple fights in a row and they start thinking, "I don't need to go to class anymore, I know what I'm doing". The next thing you know, they stop showing up for any classes at all, and are only coming in for sparring sessions or to work their cardio. This is where everything starts to fall apart.
If you go back to the beginning of a fighter's career and watch all of their fights in chronological order, you should see a continual progression with each fight. If you don't..... that fighter is most likely not going to make it to the top.
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After every fight there should be an evaluation of what you did right and what you can improve on. Regardless of whether you won or lost, there's always going to be something. Even if you pull off a clean 4 Sec KO, there's still going to be something that you could've done better. To say otherwise is both naive and arrogant.
You could’ve used a better setup before shooting that double leg. Kept your hands higher in exchanges. Didn't expose your back when escaping. The list could also include things leading up to the event. How was your weight cut? Did you have enough energy on fight night? How many injuries did you have going in, and could they have been prevented? Look at everything you did from start to finish.
But after taking a look at what you could've done better, know that just identifying it isn't enough. You still need to fix it. Which is what needs to be done between camps. Fixing mistakes, adding new tools, sharpening old ones. These are all things that need to be worked on before your next camp starts.
I know the grind of being in the gym all the time can wear on people who don't have the motivation. Because it's easier to stick to it every day when you have a fight lined up since there's a clear goal. But again, in order to achieve that constant improvement, you'll not only need to identify what needs to improve, you'll also need to be in the gym fixing it. That means putting in the work, Win or Lose, with or without a fight on the horizon, all year long.
The constant quest for perfection, all the while knowing that it's not truly obtainable. That's what it takes to be the best.
Gordon Ryan has systemized guard passing. Much like John Danaher, Ryan totally revolutionized the approach to teaching and learning Jiu-Jitsu. In Systematically Attacking The Guard Ryan cover’s a battle tested 3-part formula to passing the Guard. Now is the time to finally figure out a proven system to ATTACK and PASS the guard!