Gentle Approach

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2 minute read

A few days ago, Tom DeBlass’s Facebook post caught my attention.

Tom wrote:

After a seminar someone asked me if I could go back and change one thing what would it be.

My answer was I wish I didn’t train so hard with certain people. As a young man training I looked at every match as a battle. I was stupid and young. Now when I train I allow people to work, I make them feel good, I let them get better.

Training exceptionally hard with a middle aged man not looking to compete is silly. It proves nothing whatsoever.

I believe as a blue belt and purple belt I was possibly the reason why some people stopped training, they didn’t want to get attacked every class. That makes me feel like a jerk off until this day.

True strength comes from building people, not breaking them.

Why did this catch my attention?

Because I’ve been there and done that as well. To some extent.

I hardly go hard in sparring, and it has been like that for ages … but I did have this mentality of “I MUST submit my training partner” against most people.

This kind of attitude is great to have …

… when you’re preparing for a competition and rolling with competitive training partners.

But this may not be the right attitude to have …

… when you roll with people who casually practice BJJ AND there’s a huge skill difference between you and them.

On that note, it’s important to realize that people practice BJJ for various reasons as well …

This might sound too obvious to you.

But let’s say there was a time when I was too close to see this simple fact.

BJJ is an individual sport in the sense that you are the one ultimately responsible for your wins and losses.

At the same time, you could consider BJJ as a team/group sport.

Because your training partners help you grow and improve your skills.

Not just competitive training partners, but every one of your training partners.

And even if you are just a beginner, you are still helpful to senior belts.

If you’re more experienced, don’t smash your less-experienced training partners, but help them get better.

When they become a better grappler, you will have better training partners.

Take an initiative and strive to be a better training partner first.

We’ll get better together.