The Gentle Art……eventually

When posed with the challenge of imparting some of the wisdom that the years of training have provided me, the first hurdle I faced was realizing that I, in fact, do have the experience to have wisdom to impart… a concept I still struggle with at times.

Pondering this…again, over a glass of red and a bit of a barbeque, the solution presented itself… just tell a story and say what you think. Now I consider myself a reasonably clever person and as such this revelation should not have been so hard to realize, but one of the things that BJJ has taught me is that so many times, common sense, isn’t… and the obvious, isn’t…. also, anything you say before the word ‘but’ doesn’t count, think about it, but that is for another time…..

Anyway back to the title for this post… I find it hugely ironic that the gentle art, for soooo long, isn’t. It takes years to have the ability to express yourself in the physical medium of kinetic chess in a gentle manner.

And I think now, for the first time, I have ever contemplated the attributes that make up the elusive Jackalope, that is, the perfect training partner….

Knowledge, ability, control, fitness, experience, confidence…… trust… I could address each of these individually, but I won’t, my goal here is to stimulate thought, self analysis and introspection, so that bit is up to you, the reader.

Most of us know it, or have felt it, perhaps just a glimpse, even if we didn’t realize it, but you roll for what feels like hours, you are relaxed and in the zone, the full repertoire of sweeps, transitions and movements on display, training with speed and intensity, to exhaustion….. and no one got hurt, sometimes not even a bruise.

Compared to allowing a white belt into your guard and the inevitable pin point bruises that pockmark your legs and inner arm from the grip of death. Woe betide you if we are starting from the bottom and he/ she is in side control, because the barrage of elbows and knees that follow will be furious and that is in the simple transition to north south…….. I exaggerate… sort of 😉

And why is this, is it because they think they can win (the white belt), are they that intent on their first elusive BB scalp.

Are they scared? Interesting, as far more BB’s get hurt by white belts than, whites by Black’s.

Do they lack the traits listed above, not enough mat time to have the body awareness and control?

I don’t have the answer, as I feel it is different for each person, but at the end of the day, I am far more likely to relax, share and play with an opponent, when I can see that they are genuinely trying to learn how to be good partner and not just a good practitioner.

I could go on and on about this, but at the end of the day, we can’t drink from this holy chalice alone, we need those that can help us, push us and learn with us, but that care about the manner in which they do it, those that have the presence of being to think “no, today is his day, not mine, how can I make this roll better for my partner?”

Until next time ☺

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