Taking a step backward to move forward

Lately Gary and James have been focusing on some of the more basic elements of jiu-jitsu. Getting back to basics, as it were. Revisiting elements of the Gracie combatives, working on basic things like maintaining position and not being to attached to a technique or submission.

Sometimes in the heat of sparring and day to day training we forget how important these basic elements are. Often we spend too much focus on trying to learn new “cool” techniques, which only distract from the basic foundations of jiu-jitsu.

This was something that was really impressed upon me when Ryron Gracie visited the academy recently. Apart from being such an awesome ambassador of his family’s art (and being able to toy with everyone that he rolled with), his key focus was always the basics. Things like perfecting the clinch, take-down, maintaining mount, upa escape, elbow escape.

He didn’t teach anything new, but focused on perfecting the tools we already had, like a master woodworker would take an apprentice and show him how to perfect the first wood joint he learned on his first day.

We forget that in the day to day training we don’t often review these techniques enough, taking time to ask our instructors for advice and ways to improve our use of the technique. This is the only way we can get to a point that these techniques become second nature, that in effect they become as natural as taking a breath or blinking.

So I am glad that we are training in this manner. It allows me to take a step back and revisit the roots of my training, while at the same time being able to move forward by improving my natural ability to use these techniques as a base for the other “cooler” stuff.