Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Is Inner BJJ?

I visited a very prestigious tennis club not too long ago. There was an award ceremony for their best tennis trainer. He's trained many professionals on their way up so obviously he is a sought after and very good tennis trainer. Here is the twist, he is physically handicapped.

He had a bad car accident years back, which caused severe damage to his spine. Now he can only hobble with a cane, and has very limited use of his arms.

Since then he has become a better tennis trainer. Now people say, well they can't do this or that, they can't show me the move, who can they beat? Sounds familiar? You hear this all the time in BJJ as well.

For this tennis trainer, tennis exists in his mind. His lack of physical tennis makes him better at observation and pointing out critical errors and ways to improve it. He also can tell from just watching people play who is about to break mentally.

Physical games, especially like BJJ are easy to confuse as a 100% physical game. This does not mean there is not an Inner Jiu Jitsu. Sometimes someone may have a better physical jiu jitsu game, but that does not mean they understand the inner qualities of BJJ better. Can they play the game or visualize it in their mind? I don't even know how to play tennis and I can beat this tennis trainer because he just can't play anymore. Am I the better trainer of tennis? No. Are 90% of the high level players out there? No.

In almost every other sport, we assume the coach cannot play anymore or never have played at a high level. From football, to basketball, to even gymnastics. We almost expect them to be out of shape, but we also expect a keen mind and lots of experience. It's different for BJJ and I think its because its still a young sport so there aren't the old coaches with a legacy of winning yet but teams like Alliance are proving otherwise. I would be very surprised if Jacare still rolls every day, if at all. I am sure BJJ exists in his mind now. If by that time you have not internalized BJJ and you still need to go out there and train and roll to teach BJJ, it has not been an efficient use of time. A good leader knows how to delegate and paint big pictures.

I think because it's easy to put a lot of emphasis on the physical and we forget or overlook the great BJJ minds that exists out there who may be a great coach.

I have arthritis all over my body, especially in my neck. It gets worse every year. I know my physical BJJ days are getting numbered. I hope before that happens I can internalize all the values of jiu jitsu so I can still be a useful voice for BJJ. That has been the impetus of my Inner BJJ journey.


  1. I have no doubt you're on your way to becoming one of the most sought out teachers of BJJ.

    Being able to deconstruct the "why" will take you a long way.

    I hope it does the same for me on my path to black belt. However long that may take me.

  2. thanks daniel. black belt will just be one more milestone on the journey i am sure.

  3. You have a great BJJ mind, but are you a good citizen for the BJJ community? That is your next hurdle....

  4. I hope a reformer can still be considered a good citizen.



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