Pssst? You wanna know a secret to getting better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
And no, I'm not going to feed you the same line about showing up and staying consistent. We all know that is a certainty and needed to grow in any martial art, especially Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
I will share something that I guarantee will help you in ways you will not expect or least suspect.
Share your knowledge, help a white belt, or assist in a kid's class. This simple act makes you re-analyze your techniques, and more importantly, makes you understand the little details that matter. Then, you can express those key details in a simple to digest, easy to comprehend manner.
Let me give you an example…
You really love doing that cool rolling back-take into Bow and Arrow Choke, but you can't explain it? Perhaps breaking it down and looking at those little details to show or teach will allow you to be able to better understand the intricacies of the technique. Then, this level of understanding will make you (and the technique) even more dangerous for you in your arsenal.
The reason for this? The Roman philosopher Seneca stated "While we teach, we learn" - and at first glance, it seems to make sense. To be able to explain or teach, we must digest it, break it down, and really understand it inside and out, to really explain it.
Unbelievably, scientists have investigated this and even have dubbed it "the Protégé Effect". Furthermore, they found that students that tutor, teach or assist score better than students who only study for their own sake (Murphy Paul, Annie, 2011, Time).
Now, you may be asking yourself, I'm only a Blue or White belt, how can I teach? Or, who should I teach?
The answer? Kids! Or, rather, younger people than yourself. I bet if you ask your Professor or Coach, they'd love the assistance. Kid's are a handful and challenging to teach, but I can promise from personal experience, if you can digest a technique to be able to teach it to a child’s class, you will know this technique inside and out!
In my own experience, I have found an immeasurable difference in the Martial Arts I study as well as teach in. My jiu-jitsu skill has become better much more quickly because, in my opinion, I help the kid's program. My striking saw similar positive impacts when helping teach and run that Kid's program.
Lastly, and this is overlooked more in my opinion, teaching makes you feel good. It is this simple act of sharing your time, your knowledge, and yourself that makes such a huge difference and impact on someone. You know that feeling of brotherhood and respect that you have for your Head Coach or Professor?
That is because they give of themselves to teach you, to make you better, to help you.
I guarantee they feel better about teaching you too!
The best feelings in the world, to me at least, are seeing my students doing well on belt assessments, killing it at competitions, and when they come up, thank me, and give me a hug. Every time this happens, I feel pride and accomplishment. Helping others and giving back – isn’t that what being a martial artist is all about? I think so.
Now go practice your Bow and Arrow Choke…