“Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things and not the strength to suffer” -Niccolo Machiavelli
Making mistakes in JiuJitsu is common. I make mistakes all the time. I learn from most of them and I even repeat a lot of them so I can really develop a strong understanding as to why I’m making the mistakes and how I can mitigate the losses once I do make the mistakes. Some mistakes are inevitable.
For example, for 5 years I seem to always seek the overhook from half-guard (haha!). I don’t know why but I developed some techniques when my opponent gets the underhook and some of them just stuck to the point where depending on my adversary, I really don’t care about the underhook.
Mistakes are good though so long as they’re made for the right reason.
Mistakes of ambition and mistakes of sloth two different beasts. On the one hand, you make mistakes going after something high-reward and on the other, you make a mistake out of laziness or helplessness.
I had a student just the other day that was on top of me while I was turtled up. Not knowing what to do, he pulled guard and allowed me to get on top. I had to stop.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“I didn’t know what to do and I figured you were going to get out anyway, so I just pulled guard”.
See, that is a mistake.
Another mistake would have been if he had tried to do some kind of crazy armbar because he didn’t know what else to do. One is lazy and the other is bold. You can feel proud of making one of these mistakes, while the other will just leave you put down.
In Jiu-Jitsu, it’s very important to explore situations. If you don’t know what to do, just do something anyway. Try new things. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Repeat them if necessary to develop a better understanding.
Never give up positions or stop fighting because you don’t know what to do. This kind of decision making will paralyze you in the future. Keep moving, keep trying. If your training partner is awesome enough, he or she will allow you to explore the positions and maybe even give you a tip or two.
Making mistakes is part of the game. It never ends. Nobody is perfect on or off the mats. You are going to make mistakes so make sure you’re making the right ones. Most importantly, make sure you are learning from them each and every time.
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