Learning the BJJ the Hard Way

Scenario at Point

Being an spectator at BJJ matches can be frustrating at times, right? You say these things: “I can’t believe he didn’t get to pass that guard!” and the usual, “he could have ‘done this’ and ‘that’ and could have won.”


While you cheer on and scream at your team mate (a little informal pushing and a tad bit of coaching couldn’t hurt, right?), something  hits you in the back of your head out of nowhere. You realize that being an spectator is a whole different experience than being in an actual match. Things ARE always easier said than done. BJJ IS always easier said than done. And as the person you were rooting for loses the match, he has learned BJJ the hard way. The virtue behind losing is he will learn from it. He will not forget the lesson taught to him by that opponent that got the better of him. This person has just learned BJJ the hard way.

He learned well.

Learning BJJ the easy way

unnamed-6There are programs, courses, and other learning materials that we can study to learn BJJ. These are tried and tested methods for us to fully understand BJJ! There is the white belt course where you get to learn the basics of the guard and the pass and subs and what-not. There are videos on YouTube explaining how to execute moves properly… Google it, and you shall find.

Learning BJJ has become easy. However, rising above the common stock of mediocrity is difficult, and the ease of being a part of the herd is tempting. As humans, our tendency is to prefer comfort over the less attractive alternative which is difficulty and extra work. All the while, the belief that a ready-made system will eventually improve our game always is somewhat appealing. Really appealing.

The formulated approach is always good. However, not everything is written down in every Jiu-Jitsu book out there. The X-factor cannot always be written simply because it is difficult to jot down. Also because the “aha!” moment is fleeting!

To learn BJJ the easy way is to follow what everyone else is doing. Does it make us grow? Yes. It does. It is learning, nevertheless. There is premium and importance in LEARNING and we put a lot into it, actually. Does it make us rise above, and stand out from the rest? Well, not really.

Do I need to learn things the hard way?

10639401726_c4925bda19_bLet us clear the air for a bit. There is a stigma about learning things the “hard way.” Whenever we think of the “hard way,” our minds kick these words in: hardship, failure, regret, too much effort, etc.

For a while, let us suspend those beliefs, shall we?

There is a need for everyone to learn the hard way. Although we may not have the consciousness to realize it, whenever we commit mistakes, execute the wrong submission, or lose a match, we learn a lesson the unconventional way. We learn the intrinsic, primal way of growth which is learning through actual experience. And this is  regardless of whether it was  bad one to boot. Whether it is a negative experience, or a good one, we learn from it.

Learn things the hard way and come out the stronger

 There is no such thing as losing. Whether you lose a match, get submitted, choked or pass out, miss out on taking an opponent’s back, you learn from it. As the going gets tough, only the tough get going. The tough one learns. The tough one succeeds. The tough one learns the hard way, and lives to tell the tale.

“Learning things the hard way is beneficial. Iron  hardens through tempering and repeated pressure.”

Remember the guy that lost the match? While we only saw holes in his game, and missed opportunities to get the better out of his opponent, he learned something else… he learned BJJ the hard way. He learned lessons that will make him better next time. The lessons stuck, etched in his mind. The experience taught him well. He understood things the hard way and incorporated the real value of competing. He has lived through it. He is enthusiastic about the loss. He has become twice the better competitor!

BJJ for Everyone!