BJJ is unlike most activities we will ever engage in. It’s one of the few activities you are not really able to “fake it til you make it.”
As a practitioner, you are either
2) becoming proficient, or
3) neither #1 or #2.
Let’s put it frankly...
If you’re at #3, you suck at Jiu-Jitsu.
“But I’ve been putting in my time, showing up for class, rolling for hours on end, etc, etc, etc, and I still can’t get it. Maybe I need to get stronger - run more, lift more, whatever.”
It’s not that simple.
I have thought that, too.
In fact, in my younger days, I used to do that very thing ALL the time.
Now don’t get me wrong, even at the ripe old age of 53, I’ve been affectionately called “Gramps”, “Old Man”, “Senior Citizen”, and many other variations you can think of and yet, I still train at a high level today.
Sometimes, people think, “Man, with all these big athletes, what chance to I have being able to have success submitting them?”
Is there a “secret” to having success in BJJ?
Success in BJJ is not based on a single item or activity.
Instead, success comes from understanding a number of key concepts, in addition to the hard work you do on the mats in the studio.
By understanding our “Secret Formula of Jiu-Jitsu”, it will answer questions you’ve had since day one in your training and put things in a better perspective and get you on your way to continuous growth in BJJ.
P + T = G
P = Physicality
T = Technicality
G = (Overall) Game
And that’s it.
The Secret Formula of Jiu-Jitsu!
“P” is what you come in with.
Your “Physicality.” If you’re strong or weak, it is what it is.
Physicality also includes your relative age, relative size, relative speed, relative strength, relative flexibility, relative durability.
Basically, ANY factor related to your physical prowess in ANY physical activity, Jiu-Jitsu included.
You can always improve on any of the P characteristics, resulting in great improvements in your physical abilities.
For instance, you can hit the gym and become stronger, the yoga studio to become more flexible, the track to improve on your wind sprints, among other things.
You can eat less junk.
You can stop smoking/vaping/drinking.
You can lose some weight.
You can get more sleep.
You can NOT however, get younger, grow taller, or become more “durable” and less prone to injury.
Also, a lot of the “P” characteristics have a large component of your “natural abilities.”
Your “G” is simply your overall success in your chosen activity, in this case, Jiu-Jitsu.
A beginner has a T=0 (no Jiu-Jitsu skills yet), while currently, the sky’s the limit on how high your G can theoretically become.
P(10) + T(0) = G(10)
In the above example of a typical beginner in Jiu-Jitsu, your overall “Game” is simply equal to your Physicality (P = G)
Easy, improve your P or your T, right?
Well, it’s not THAT easy.
Easy to present to you (as an idea), but not easy for you to accomplish, once you decide to take the Jiu-Jitsu “road.”
The most important item in this formula in our example is “T.”
Why is “T” so important?
Because “T = Technicality = Jiu-Jitsu!”
In any activity whether it be football, soccer, baseball, boxing, wrestling, even golf, someone with a combination of physical abilities and technical prowess makes someone a “complete” athlete.
But how do I improve my “T?”
Consider this - If you take your existing Physicality, and add in some Technicality to it, it’ll make your overall Game increase, DRAMATICALLY increasing your effectiveness on the mat (and in a self-defense situation).
Let’s say after a year of learning Jiu-Jitsu, you’re still a white belt, but no longer a beginner white belt and your Technicality has risen from
T = 0 to T = 2
Now, your Formula has gone from
P(10) + T(0) = G(10)
P(10) + T(2) = G(12), a 20% increase!
Now, imagine increasing your Jiu-Jitsu abilities to a T = 10, then you will double your overall abilities (G) vs the day you started Jiu-Jitsu.
P(10) + T(10) = G(20), a 100% increase!
As you age past around age 40, your P will slowly decrease.
It can also happen as a result of an injury, an unexpected weight gain, loss of sleep, or any other reason.
However, as you spend more years training, your T will increase.
You can never really stop growing your T unless you stop trying to get better.
For those of us who are young, our overall G will increase as we increase both our fitness (P) as well as our Jiu-Jitsu (T).
For those of us who are older, the hope is that as our fitness declines, our increase in our Jiu-Jitsu will keep our G stable.
So in summary, understanding the Secret Formula of Jiu-Jitsu will give you more clarity on the how’s and the why’s of you and your training partners’ Jiu-Jitsu.
If you keep the Secret Formula in mind, if you use the Secret Formula as a method to gauge your overall progress, you will know exactly what you need to do it improve.
The Secret Formula will also allow you to better gauge the prowess of your opponents.
For example, if you’re a smaller practitioner, it’ll give you perspective on why you find yourself on your heels against younger, bigger, stronger training partners.
If you’re a big strong guy, you’ll know why you beat all the little guys outranking you while losing to the training partners who are even bigger and/or younger than you.
Until Next Time,
Prof. Ryan Young
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