While there is a lot of technique involved in Jiu-Jitsu, the beauty of this gentle art, as it is known, is that many of the lessons are applicable beyond the intricate details of each move. This is the second of a series of posts that will elaborate on how the lessons of Jiu-Jitsu go beyond the technique.


When you hear the word ‘discipline’ and you put it together with the idea of training Jiu-Jitsu, the correlation might be obvious. Discipline would refer to showing up to class, paying attention to the techniques that are being taught, and then practicing.

In terms of the actual practice on the mats, yes, that is what discipline involves. However, that is only scratching the surface of what kind of discipline is involved in really training Jiu-Jitsu – it goes well beyond the techniques that are taught in class.

Being disciplined has different meanings at each level of training.

For our Bullyproof and Black Belt Club kids it can be tempting to run around on the mats and goof off with friends. However, they show great discipline when it comes to sitting down to listen to the details of the techniques of the day as well as when it comes to actually practicing the moves. While we are not drill sergeants who demand rigid perfection on the mats, we do encourage our students to focus as much as they can when practicing so that they can discover their potential and develop a positive attitude towards training – this practice involves discipline. For sure the familiarity of the class routine – from animal warm-ups to lining up to learn new techniques – helps them build discipline into their practice. Of course there is also  no doubt that the anticipation of a game of dodgeball at the end of each class that serves as extra motivation to stay disciplined throughout class!

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a game of dodgeball is the ultimate prize for showing good discipline in class

For adults, there are many levels of discipline that are involved. Being an adult comes with so many additional responsibilities – work/school/family/friends – that it is not always easy to balance it all with a regular training regime. Even if you do manage to get into a good routine with your training, there are other factors to take into consideration.

First of all, you’ve got to make sure you’re prepared. This means making sure your Gi is washed and ready to go. This means making sure to have your belt, mouth guard, and anything else you might need for training ready so that you are prepared for class. If you are in a rush to get to training at the end of a long day, it can be easy to forget something. So, developing the discipline to have your Jiu-Jitsu gear packed and ready ahead of time can be helpful.

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gi, belt, mouth guard, and gloves — ready for a night of training

In addition to preparing your training gear, it is also necessary to take the time to prepare yourself. By preparing yourself I mean making sure that your nails are kept short, tying your hair back if it is long, not wearing any jewelry on the mats, covering any open cuts, and so on. These points may seem inconsequential, but they are actually quite important, particularly because we do not train in isolation. It is essential to keep the health and safety of our training partners in mind at all times. Some of these points may seem like common sense, but it takes discipline to develop these actions into habits.

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some basic tips that are good to keep in mind

While this type of discipline can be developed through practice, there is actually one discipline that I think may be the hardest to master – and that is one that involves staying off the mats.

I am sure many of us have been in a situation where we are feeling sick or we are injured, yet the temptation of getting on the mats is just too strong. So we come to class anyway, believing that we are showing true dedication to our training, and we get on the mats, because really, who wants to miss class?

However, developing the discipline of knowing when to step away is extremely important. Like general good hygiene practices, being disciplined by staying off the mats when you are sick is good practice for both you and your teammates. This does not mean you cannot come and watch the lessons – not at all! In fact, it shows great dedication and even greater discipline to actually show up to class to learn, even if you cannot get on the mats to train. To ensure you heal completely and that you minimize the chances of any of your training partners getting sick it really is important to practice discipline by staying off the mats when necessary.

Similarly, knowing when to draw the line and stop training when a niggling pain has been going on for just a bit too long is a discipline that is extremely hard to practice. Training/rolling with an injury just may make it worse, which may mean more time off the mats. Even though it makes sense, I know that it is still hard to stop. However, it really is about keeping the bigger picture in mind. The beauty of Jiu-Jitsu is that you can train for decades … but in order to do this, you really do have to take care of yourself … and with a bit of discipline, this is entirely possible.

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