Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) never came naturally to me. I was always pretty athletic, which turned out to be a hindrance since I would compensate my lack of technique with my physical characteristics (strength, speed, explosiveness). My training was inefficient; I would focus on fancier moves instead of building a solid foundation with basics and fundamentals. Needless to say, this led me to develop several holes in my game.
Fast forward to now, after countless hours of reflecting and rebuilding on the mat, and I can proudly say that the holes that used to plague my game are no more. They’ve been replaced with newer ones, as there will always be holes in everyone’s game, but at least now I’m equipped to debug my game and move forward efficiently with my training.
I place a strong emphasis on real-life practicality. Investing in fundamental techniques (bridging, shrimping, framing, rolling, creating pendulums, etc) pays dividends later and throughout your journey. Jiu Jitsu is a fighting style, and as such it ought to be applicable in combat; what you do on the mat should transfer in a fight. Still, there are many Jiu Jitsu practitioners who focus solely on the sport of Jiu Jitsu instead of the martial art. I am not one of them. I’m a huge fan of wrestling and judo, and I believe that knowing how to take an opponent down as well as getting to your feet from being on your back takes precedence over guard pulling, butt-scooting or any fancy sweep.
I just recently started training in Muay Thai under David Huerta, who’s an amazing coach. It’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in my training. It’s an immensely rewarding experience, and it feels good to have everything come full-circle. I have an opportunity to get it right this time; to focus on the fundamentals and basics instead of repeating the same mistakes I made with Jiu Jitsu.