"No fantasy however rich, no technique however masterly, no penetration into the psychology of the opponent however deep, can make a chess game a work of art if these qualities do not lead to the main goal -- the search for truth."
Vasily Smyslov - a chess grandmaster
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) follows a code which demands that a practitioner possesses and cultivates certain qualities in order to evolve: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit, and the will to succeed. As your experience and skill level increases, so must your discipline and commitment, because the road to mastery becomes more difficult as your draw nearer.
Lies and hypocrisy do not last long on the mat. If you have ignored a certain aspect of the game while training, if you have not challenged yourself fully during the learning process, then it will come out when you are truly challenged and defeat you. So as a result of this we are forced to always look inside to find out weaknesses, take them on, and refine our individual games.
Every master was once a beginner and every black belt was once a white belt (and I use the term master lightly, as I consider all martial artists beginners -- some of us have just been beginning longer!).
The black belt is not a mark or indication of the end of the journey to your mastery of the arts; instead it is a symbol that you have finished preparing for your true journey, a journey which can never be completed, just traveled. Anyone who claims mastery is mistaken. It is best then not to follow in the footsteps of the black belts but seek what it is that they sought, learn from their mistakes, and begin preparing for your own journey.
By all means, analyze the strategies of the great practitioners, but don't swallow them whole. Their methods are valuable not just for their separate moves, but for their vision and their ways of thinking.
Learning BJJ is like learning to play music, to communicate through language, or how to do mathematics. You first begin to learn the individual notes, the alphabet, how to count; these are the rules of the mat, proper hip movements, how to fall, control positions, the essential movements that make up the individual positions.
Later you learn to play simple songs, speak words or do basic arithmetic. Here we begin to assemble the primary pieces and execute attacks, escapes, counters, and you now learn to implement the individual positions one by one.
Later we string them together and it is here you begin to play chords, speak in sentences, perform algorithms, or in BJJ learn to combine positions. This is where BJJ really begins for most of us. Being able to connect a few simple positions together is far more valuable that having a long list of individual techniques or one or two superfluous moves to pull from.
You will begin to use the same strings of individual techniques over and over and this begins to define your own individual game. Over time you will be able to connect more and more techniques from various positions smoothly using different technique combinations efficiently. At this point your BJJ will become an expression of who you are and this definition will be a result of your personality, body type, range of flexibility, and so on. At this point you will be finally playing music, speaking fluently or calculating complex problems with ease. You will no longer be thinking in fragments but in complex patterns and with unconscious flow. You will have done these so many times that thought will no longer be a part of the process, it will be natural instinct.
Here at Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Indianapolis I will be teaching classic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The Fundamentals Classes will start with the beginning pieces to learn BJJ and just a few techniques from each major position. These will be the moves that I have learned from my experiences and travels and that have proven timless and effective. Later in the Advanced Classes we will continue forward learning more complex positions and begin learning to string them together. We look forward to having you joing us in class and in this journey of self-discovery!