Jiu Jitsu, Bruce Lee and “The Talent Code” Part 2 – BJJ Fanatics

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Chunking, slowing it down and feedback…

Bruce Lee is famously quoted as saying, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced 1 kick 10,000 times.” The idea of practice is a key component to success in anything in life. We have been examining Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code as an exploration on how to get the most out of practice in relation to Jiu Jitsu. We talked about the idea of deliberate practice as described by Coyle.  Then we explored one component of deliberate practice, getting the whole picture. We mentioned that watching high level competition footage would be one example of getting the whole picture.

Chucking is the second component of deliberate practice as described by Daniel Coyle. It is the processes of breaking large pieces of information into smaller manageable sections. For example, it is almost impossible for most of us to remember a large 12 digit number. However, if we separate the 12 digit number into groups of 3 it becomes a lot easier to memorize. Restaurants do the same thing. They separate menus based on appetizers, main courses, desserts and etc.  This practice makes making a decision a lot easier. In Jiu Jitsu, this may explain why some moves are easier to grasp than other moves. The running man escape from the honey hole for me was easy to pick up. However, the s-mount arm bar from mount has been extremely difficult for me.  The difference between these two moves is the number of steps with the running man having comparatively less steps. In the future, I am more likely to see success with the S-mount arm bar if I “chunk” the steps. As teachers, there might be an application in not measuring a class by the number of moves taught but by the number of steps taught.

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A third component of deliberate practice as described by Coyle is the need to slow it down.  For example, if a student was practicing a piece of music and the music was recognizable that would mean the practice was being performed too fast. He advocates practicing at the edge of success and failure. Perhaps the application for Jiu Jitsu is to be aware of the speed in which you are learning a technique. Most of my training has been to get repetitions in class when the instructor is teaching the move then trying to hit the technique in a live roll.  I am always anxious to go from 0-100 mph really quickly. If we take the lessons from The Talent Code, applying structure in relation to speed is a huge component to grown.  One example of this may be practicing a technique with a grappling dummy, learning it in class, drilling it with no resistance, drilling with light resistance, drilling with full resistance, flow roll and then live roll. Certainly, I realize this structure may not be possible all the time. However, based on The Talent Code, I would argue even applying partial structure to speed should pay huge dividends. Ultimately, the chunks should be added together at a speed that is neither easy nor impossible to perform. This may be a reason why John Danaher and others always suggest rolling with lower belts to improve skill. This may also be why there is a common adage in Special Forces, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

A fourth component of deliberate practice is immediate feedback. The deliberate practice should be structured in such a way so you can tell if you are succeeding or not.  Certainly, in a live roll you know if the move is working or not.  Ideally, your instructor should also be a great source of feedback. Ideally, feedback should be structured into every stage of the learning process.

There are certainly other applications for Jiu Jitsu in the Talent’s Code’s deliberate practice concepts; chunking, slowing it down and getting feedback. I am curious to know how you would apply these concepts to Jiu Jitsu.

In the third part of this article, we will examine the structure of repetitions as described in The Talent Code and make applications to Jiu Jitsu.

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