Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Be aware, get better.

Video the first:

Sometimes I forget that my analytical nature is not the norm. For me each throw of each round of each drill of each practice is assessed and analyzed. Over and over. This one compared to that one that one to the next.
Each rep is assessed while I'm doing it. Each drill is assessed while we move on to the next, and each practice is gone over and over while I'm driving home, while eating, and even while showering after practice. We have a glass shower stall in our new bathroom, and I find myself diagramming Judo throws and jiu-jitsu principles in the steam on the glass.
This is the way to get better. To be an impartial coach standing outside of your body. Let your body do, and constantly crunch the data and feedback that comes to you. This creates a bit of a dichotomy. You have to be valueless. You are not a bad person because you missed that throw. Don't beat yourself up, keep fighting.
You also have to be harsh. Good enough isn't good enough. If you execute just above the level of someone below your level you will never catch those who are currently above you. That sweep might have worked on Joe or Jane Bluebelt, but won't cut it against Professor Black. Tighten that shit up.
Travis is a solid competitor in BJJ and a monster on the Judo mat. I heartily encourage you to check out what he has to say on other subjects.

This second video.. well that's different.
It's a great metaphor from a terrible source.

I have to say Dennis Prager is gawdawful, but lets not linger on the terrible source and lets move on to the correct metaphor. We fixate on things that we lack, and we get selective blindness for the things we do well.
Have a crazy good top game, but weak off your back? Seems like the world is peopled with tough guard players. Just as the world seems hirsute to a bald man, our flaws seem to be singularly our own. While our strengths seem to be available for a couple of boxtops.
The message in this video is flawed however (not surprising considering the source), We should not overlook our flaws, merely turn a blind eye to our proverbial missing tiles, but to change the topography of the roof and paint in the room to allow that tile to fade in. To fit in a much greater whole. Hell sometimes with a little effort you can just go to the damn store room and put a tile in that empty space. Takes some effort and humility, but generally speaking it is worth doing. Being self aware starts with understanding these games our brains play to placate our ego. As they say in those meetings "the first step is admitting you have a problem."
So admit it. Have the strength to harshly examine the things you want to do well, and make changes. That is how one achieves mastery. To avoid this mindfulness is to struggle mightily and fail. One end of this spectrum is how you get People like Ciao Terra, BJ Penn and Felicia Oh who earned their jiu-jitsu black belts in 3, 3, and 4 years respectively. The other end of the spectrum you get that one guy at your gym who has been a blue belt for 6 years and never listens to anyone, and becomes this measuring stick for everyone who gets their blue belt.
In short.. be mindful, don't be that guy.


1 comment:

SICP white belt said...

I was thinking about this recently. I was/am that guy on the mat. Interestingly, I am the opposite guy in my purely intellectual pursuits (CS/Engineering).

Since my daytime gig is so skewed towards mental gymnastics, I felt comfortable turning my brain off during bjj and appealing to a baser instinct.

When I start up again, I will try hard to suppress that instinct.