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 first of a series of posts that will elaborate on how the lessons of Jiu-Jitsu go beyond the technique.

FOCUS

When you step on the mat, whether it is for the first time or the thousandth time, there is a certain amount of excitement and anticipation that builds up inside. You know you are about to learn something amazing, but there is always the worry – will you be able to take it all in? Will you be able to focus

In an era when time is precious, multitasking is a norm, and our attention span, with gadgets and technology constantly at our fingertips for distraction, is shortened, the simple concept of focusing on a lesson ends up being a skill that needs to be developed through constant practice.

The skill of focusing is a different type of challenge at each of our class levels.

For our Little Champs (ages 5-7), we know that focusing on learning techniques can be a challenge. That is why the foundation of the Gracie Bullyproof program for this age group is on playing Jiu-Jitsu games. Through fun games and enticing names like ‘Tackle the Giant’ and ‘Crazy Horse’, the kids don’t realize that they are actually learning Jiu-Jitsu techniques such as a ‘double leg takedown.’ If we concentrated on only giving detailed explanations of techniques, indeed it would be very difficult for the kids to stay focused. Instead, we aim to provide a fun, interactive atmosphere where the kids learn through play. Their excitement to get involved to ‘tackle the giant’ and take it down effectively is what gets them to focus on the details.

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a focused group discussion during our Little Champs class

 

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one of our Little Champs focused on tackling a giant

The kids in the Jr. Grapplers class and Black Belt Club face different challenges. They’re all at an age (8-15) where the Jiu-Jitsu mats may not always be the most exciting place for them to be. They’re starting to become a bit more independent, and hanging out with their friends may seem more appealing than attending a class. The toughest challenge with this age group may be to get them on the mats in the first place! However once they’re there, it’s another story. They can’t help but get excited about learning different joint locks and chokes. Our group discussions teach them how to be confident and responsible with the knowledge they gain in class. The realization that they are learning advanced skills is what keeps them excited about learning Jiu-Jitsu and focused once they come to class.

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our Jr. Grapplers – focused and eager to participate

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Jr. Grapplers – focusing on perfecting their straight armlock from guard

Focusing is not only a challenge for kids, but it is also something that adults have to work on. For adults, the challenge is to switch off the outside world and focus on what is happening in class. Even though adults have chosen to be there, it is not always easy to detach yourself from things going on at home, deadlines at school/work, and life in general. Once you do manage to get your mind in class, it is time to focus on the details of the technique. Sometimes, there are a lot of moves and the fear of not being able to remember all the steps can lead to distraction and frustration. This is the time when you need to really focus — you need to learn how to concentrate on the main points of the move and focus just on those, trusting that with time and practice the whole thing will come together. Learning Jiu-Jitsu teaches you how to separate the important details from the minor ones and how to focus on tackling a move one step at a time.

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Combatives students – focusing on the many details of an Elbow Escape

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Master Cycle students – focusing on the advanced details of mount escapes

 

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women in our women’s self-defense class – focusing on the importance of knowing how to stand up for themselves

The Jiu-Jitsu mats force us to find a way to focus — which is indeed a challenging skill to develop. However, like any other skill, it improves with practice.

Show up to class. Develop your focusing skills. Improve your techniques. You learn it all at Watford Gracie Jiu-Jitsu!