I read a story about the brilliant physicist Albert Einstein (whose name is synonymous with being a genius) that relates to the attitude for learning that students of bjj should adopt.
Einstein is most famous for formulating the theory of relativity around 1905 and put his name in the history books as one of the most influential thinkers ever.
As the story goes, Einstein was at a social gathering and met another person who had no idea who the famous physicist was.
The guest introduced themselves and asked the famous Einstein “What do you do?”
Einstein replied simply “I am a student of physics.”
He didn’t say that he was the world’s foremost authority on astro physics or boast about his vast, ground breaking knowledge of his field.
His attitude was humble and suggested that his knowledge of the subject was by no means perfect.
This is the attitude I have seen by some high level instructors in bjj. Openly admitting that they didn’t know everything about jiu-jitsu and being receptive to others ideas.
I have also observed the opposite attitude in some blue and purple belts who would observe a technique and yawn “I’ve seen that before.”
The truth is in Brazilian jiu-jitsu the art and sport continues to evolve and NO ONE knows everything.
Even the Saulo Ribeiro’s and Marcelo Garcia’s have positions where they know less than another bjj player who specializes in that position.
See this video with Judo Olympian Jimmy Pedro showing multiple time World Bjj Champion Saulo Ribeiro some tips on grip fighting for his favorite throw.
Observe Saulo’s open attitude to receiving information about his favorite technique. He remains humble and open to improvement.
Saulo remains a student of the art.
Many black belts report a realization about how little they really know AFTER they graduated to black belt.
The details that make the simplest of techniques (hip bump sweep, upa / bridging escape from the mount) effective are very deep and a bjj student can “rediscover” techniques that they have known for years.
With a deeper understanding of the details and correct leverages, an old technique suddenly comes alive in their games again.
It is important to always see yourself as a student of jiu-jitsu for continuous life long learning.
On Jiu-jitsu Times A Reader Question: A beginner wants to come in late to class and skip the drilling go straight to the rolling