Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Layers - One of the reasons I love Jiu Jitsu

"It'll still work, but..."  I can't tell you how many times I've heard that statement or a variation of it in my dojo.  My Sensei has said it thousands of times to me, always followed by a slight correction, whether it be my feet, my hands, the angle, my stance, my movement etc.

What fascinates me, and occasionally frustrates me, is how there is always more to learn.  I've mentioned it before but the simplest (yeah, right) technique seems to have endless layers.  There is always improvements to be made and new things to be learned.  Sometimes a nearly imperceptible change can yield impressive results. Sometimes these things are easily taught and shown and sometimes they are just felt.  No matter how proficient I get at a technique, there is always more for me to discover.

I've often wondered how the heck my Sensei just showed me something new with a wrist throw or other highly practiced technique from our curriculum.  It amazes me.  It is for this reason, of course, that he can toss me around more effortlessly than anyone I've ever met.  Other people work a bit harder for it.  Technically they are doing the same movement but Sensei has mastered the layers of the technique.

What has always drawn me to my chosen art is that even though there are so many layers to be discovered in a technique, the first one still works.  You will still accomplish what you set out to do.  So it starts off working right out of the gate.  After that, it becomes a journey of discovery and improvement. Each time you practice, you have an opportunity to improve.  That's why I've learned to love hearing "It'll still work, but..."  I know I am about to have a chance to discover another layer.

Layers mean that my journey is never over, there is always more to be learned.  Armed with this knowledge, I can hold on to the beginners mindset in my approach to training.

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