The past two weeks have been full of action. Lots of time on the mat rolling with several accomplished BJJ athletes. It’s humbling and equally frustrating to realise how much you don’t know what you don’t know with each passing session.
Though, I’m much more comfortable with going full-on sparring these days, I get stuck often at places where I have a clear shot at submitting the opponent. But that’s mostly due to my strength and not a cleaner demonstration/mastery of a technique or two. I’m just glad to be hyperaware of my shortcomings because that’s what blinds even some of the most accomplished players in the game.
And I’ve been stunned at the alarming similarity of the advice I’ve been receiving from my brothers at the dojo (both at home and at the dojos I visit when travelling internationally). Almost always, I get a variation of, “keep showing up, spend more time on the mat, immerse yourself in the techniques and overtime you’ll figure out not just how to get it right but also what your jujutsu game is.”
It’s strikingly familiar to the advice I myself give to people who want to get better at public speaking — stage time, stage time and more stage time. Instead of obsessing over the speech scripts, gestures, tones and stylistic aspects get on the stage more often to narrow the gap between the persona on stage and the one off the stage. When you’ve done that, you’ve found your true voice. You just got to be consistent showing up on stage.
In fact, one of the most common trait among all the world champions of public speaking is that they’ve gone on stage at least 50 times more than their counterparts. The hard work paid off at the end.
I hope you can sense the pattern here, spending more time on the mat or seeking more stage time, is all about patience, consistency and seeking incremental daily progress. That’s the recipe for both transforming cultures and your BJJ game or perhaps anything you would like to change or improve upon.
Seth Godin says it the best (and he always does), “a figurative drip, drip, drip. Showing up, every single day, gaining in strength, organizing for the long haul, building connection, laying track—this subtle but difficult work is how culture changes.”
Drip by the drip it is… just keep rolling, my friend.