One of the coolest things about the art and sport of jiu-jitsu is the opportunity to get on the mats with elite level competitors and top level of instructors in a way that is not accessible to participants of most other sports.
It’s difficult to imagine having the chance to shoot some 3 pointers with Stephen Curry or get Tiger Wolf’s golf coach to analyze and give some tips on your swing. These figures are simply out of reach for the basketball fan or golf aficionado.
Not so with jiu-jitsu. If you live near a major city, every year there will be the opportunity to participate in a seminar with a World Champion of the highest level or a top jiu-jitsu master with decades of experience and a veritable encyclopedia of jiu-jitsu knowledge. For the ticket price you get to spend hours learning from the very best in jiu-jitsu.
Some jiu-jitsu students will grumble about the seminar fee “The seminar is the same price that I pay for 1 month of jiu-jitsu classes at my Gracie Barra School!” They don’t see the value in paying for an extra seminar. Other students complain “A seminar is just a photo opportunity. You don’t get much attention from the instructors.” I disagree on both counts.
Regarding not learning much and only attending for the photo for your social media (which is cool too!), my own experience has been that the instructors at seminars are very eager to share their knowledge and encourage you to ask questions. Many students are shy about asking questions but they need not be. Ask questions! I have never attended a seminar with a top instructor where I didn’t experience a light bulb moment saying to myself “Wow! I am never doing that technique the old way again!” How valuable is it to your jiu-jitsu to really level up some of your best positions and techniques? You will keep that information in your jiu-jitsu bank long after the modest price of the seminar has been forgotten.
In addition to the tips that you can get to help your own personal jiu-jitsu game, there is something even more valuable in spending time in the presence of these jiu-jitsu world class performers.
We get to experience excellence.
We see the attitude, the mind set, the passion for jiu-jitsu, the commitment to being the best exemplified and embodied by these top level jiu-jitsu practitioners. Being exposed to these people gives us a greater vision of what is possible in our own jiu-jitsu and also in life. We witness the higher standard and can set new jiu-jitsu goals based on that higher expectation.
Moreover, seeing the technical precision, the smoothness of the technique, the incredible movement of a world class competitor can provide a burst of motivation for us to train harder. Watching a world class level athlete roll will set the bar higher for what you are working towards in your jiu-jitsu.
Beyond jiu-jitsu, it is a rewarding experience to spend time with the best in the world at whatever we love to do. Enjoy playing guitar? Try to get a lesson with one of the best players in the world. Go see them perform live to get the experience of true high performance. You will come away from the experience enriched afterwards.
One of the Gracie Barra core values is developing ourselves and our personal excellence through jiu-jitsu.
The next time you get the opportunity to participate in a high level seminar, see it as an opportunity to experience excellence, not only in jiu-jitsu but which can also be applied in other areas of our lives.
See also on Gracie Barra : Life Lessons From Jiu-jitsu
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia