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Royler Gracie's 3 Lessons to Jiu-Jitsu

We recently hosted a Royler Gracie seminar. While he went over some self defense and a couple of sneaky arm bars, one of the bigger highlights of the event was his initial speech. As someone who's been been around, visited various gyms, and called a few home, these three are often not not verbalized enough.

He had us sit down and went over the following rule. He elaborated on the need to be upfront and verbalize how we feel when it comes to rolling with people. If someone is rough, let them know. If you don't feel comfortable, let the instructor know. One of Jiu-Jitsu's problems are the belts.

Belts are great for establishing rank and also keeping students motived to reach the next peak. One inherit issue with ranks is the importance associated with the highest and almost disregard given to the least. At the end of the day, these rules apply to everyone. From the first week White Belt to the multi-decade Black Belt.

Keep Yourself Safe

I recently rolled with a trial student who was trying the academy out. He was a Purple Belt and incredibly strong. Being that I had never rolled with the guy and didn't get a chance to see how he rolled with others, I played a very defensive game. I understand that at some gyms, the Black Belt is the measuring stick for visiting students. At the end of the day, not my goal.

So I played carefully, studied his game, and took advantage of the gaps in his game. Winning wasn't the goal, keeping myself safe was.

Keep Your Partner Safe

This one is a bit more difficult. In many ways it requires a bit more foresight. Controlling a roll enough to control myself is difficult enough, but controlling it for both of our sakes is a skillset that comes from experience.

There have been several occasions where I've having my training partner dead to rights with a submission and letting off for the sake of keeping them safe. Of course, you've worked hard to end the match but sometimes the long term goals are more important.

Enjoy What You Have

While I don't remember him explaining this one, I'll offer my own explanation. It's really easy to compare your progression to everyone else. Belts and the rolls will often point things out to you. The challenge is, accepting what is and enjoying exactly that. I promise you that once you get to Black Belt, it will all be worth it and you'll value these moments more than you realize.

Once at Black Belt, there are technically no other belts to earn for most of us. There's something that you'll miss about being on this grind that just doesn't exist after being promoted to Black. So please, no matter how challenging your training has been, please enjoy what you have.

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