This is another opportunity of mine to gush over the wonderful Marc Walder. I attended another seminar of his on Sunday (I’ve been to three now). I don’t think I’d be able to accurately summarize how much I idolise this man. His Jiu-Jitsu is beautiful, and it’s complimented by this understanding and informed philosophy that he has clearly built up over the years.
He’s three for three currently, as each time I see him, I up my game both physically and mentally. At the end of each seminar, he opens the mats to his students like a forum. You can ask him anything you want, and he will likely have an answer. Some of the questions asked were great.
I asked him when he was able to let go of his anxieties when competing. His answer was interesting to say the least. It took him until brown belt to truly let go and just enjoy the competition for what it is. You should be focusing on right now. Not your past failings, or the possibility of future mistakes, it’s easier to squash anxiety if you approach with this open attitude to your opponent. Look at the competition as just another opportunity to play this beautiful game, that’s what I’ll be doing.
I like that. Sure it’s easy to have hang-ups about yourself and your own game, but there’s no reason why you can’t let go far earlier, no matter what belt you are. I’m going to try to apply his method of thinking when I next compete. Shit out all of my anxieties and just have a laugh, that’s what I want. Probably because I’m not a competitive person when it comes to this fight-jitsu stuff.
Granted I’ve simplified massively, but you get the meaning. Later, a friend asked about progression and plateaus. His answer for this was so actually blatantly obvious. He actually took the time to draw a line graph to demonstrate his point. Now myself and a friend are blue belts, we both feel that currently we’ve hit a bit of a plateau and we’re not moving forward, although the white belts seem to be rapidly learning. Marc explained why this is, and it made us feel pretty fucking stupid that we couldn’t see it.
Here’s how it works. At white belt, you are but a vegetable. Let’s presume you know nothing. Whereas at blue belt, you’ve learned enough of the fundamentals to earn that belt. So whilst you’re on your path to purple, all you’re really doing is honing those fundamentals and adding bits and bobs to your arsenal. This process is tightening up your game. The jump between blue and purple is arguably huge but the only change really is the understanding of the game. The jump between white and blue isn’t as huge, as such blue belts tend to hit this plateau whilst the white belts steadily progress. It’s perspective. Much needed if like me you’re a sea of self doubt on the mats. And he stated that it actually gets worse. Purple to brown and brown to black will be longer journeys filled with more moments of self-doubt, but that’s part of the sport. You’re going to see people below you come on leaps and bounds, but you have to remember you were once in that position with the higher belts noticing your progression whilst they felt stale.
Just because you’re moving at a microscopic pace, does not mean you’re not moving. Obviously there are still variables. Athleticism, flexibility, drive, etc will all play a part in how you move forward, but it’s entirely normal to hit a wall once in a while, you may not have the ability to go through it, but you’ll definitely get over it.
Hopefully all of that shit made sense because I really can’t be arsed re-reading it.