Science = Change

I was teaching class last night and had the unenviable task of telling a student that the way they were doing a technique was not 100% correct. Now, that happens all the time. But, the reason that this one was tricky was because he was doing it EXACTLY like I had taught him a few years back.

Here’s a riddle for you:

How can you do something EXACTLY like it was shown to you, and 2 years later, be told by that same person, “that’s not how we do it”?

It changed. It developed.

Look, nothing of value looks the same now, as it did a few years ago. Cars. Surgical techniques. Christ, Frisbee making technology has probably been improved.

If you study something deeply, you will find little adjustments. Little improvements. I know that every single time I teach, I learn. And I see the little adjustments. In positioning. In how I communicate the ideas to people. Drills, movements, whatever. But, every time I teach, I improve my teaching, and the art itself.

Don’t worry. It’s not like I change huge things. I couldn’t if I want to!

The truth is what it is. This is a science. Airplanes have gone through SIGNIFICANT changes in the last 20 years, but, aerodynamics have not. We can play with placement of the wings on the body, but the teardrop shape of the wings don’t change. No one has built a plane that looks like you’re pushing an open umbrella! It wouldn’t work. All science is the same. BJJ is no different. Although we make constant improvements, they are changes that the untrained eye may not even see. I have changed a lot of things from the way I learned them. But most people would be hard pressed to notice them if we held them up side by side. There’s a delicate balance. Find the improvements, without straying from the scientific essence of the art.

My point is this:

When you are taking a class, and the instructor tells you to do it differently, and you’re SURE you’re doing like you were told, don’t stress. You’re not stupid, or confused. They’re not being mean, or rude. They haven’t lost their mind.

They are trying to improve their teaching. And your performance!

Now, if you have a bad instructor, they’ll make you feel stupid for noticing their “inconsistencies”.

If you have a decent instructor, they’ll admit they changed it.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have an instructor that is excited to show you how it’s different, and why. They’ll help you understand the change, and get you excited that you’ve found a better way!

Never hesitate to ask if a technique seems slightly different!

You’re probably right!

And, I will love the opportunity to be a better instructor, and show you how and why!

Now, go train.