They say that you are the average of those with whom you spend most of your time. But does it apply in bjj? Does training with lower ranks keep you from becoming better? There are lessons to be learned from white belts. There is wisdom behind observing those who just recently joined the family of Gracie Barra.
Pop culture and knowledge at times dictate that to succeed, a person must continuously challenge himself. Taking the adage to the world of bjj, it may simply state that once you have gained a higher level, you will not be learning anything from those who have just started their own journey. But the actuality is counter-intuitive, to say the least. There is wisdom to spending time with them. There is something you gain when you teach, interact, and touch base. After all, we are all in this together.
Coaching is a form of learning
We may not stop ourselves from coaching newbies. But think about it for a second: don’t you feel an improvement when you are able to relay an instruction? The science behind it is mental repetition and reinforcement. Coaching is a way to verbalize knowledge which in turn trains our brain to learn and reinforce what we know. Think of it as another form of self-talk!
Diamond in the rough
White belts are diamonds in the rough. Their capabilities are expansive. Full of potential. They are driven to learn as you are also driven to improve! The polishing of their skills is a wonderful process to witness! Often inspiring. Training with whitebelts will also help you see the beauty of the journey that is jiu-jitsu!
White belts have breakthroughs
The famous Efren “the magician” Reyes (pool superstar) once said that he cannot learn from those who are already great. It is said that he frequents pool halls where novices play. He believes that novices often showcase shots that work but are not done typically by the pros. The same way applies with whitebelts. I have seen whitebelts succeed and astound crowds because they simply pull off some guard passes that ordinarily will not work at advanced levels. My take on it is they just simply go for it, whitebelts being far more instinctive.
When we train with novices, whitebelts, newbies (or however we want to call it) we ourselves also gain something from it. Knowledge, inspiration, and motivation can come in different forms. Go out and thank a whitebelt today!
Jiu-Jitsu for everyone!