A Lifetime of Learning


At my recent seminar on Unorthodox Positions I thought that I would be doing all the teaching, and that the students would be doing all the learning. Well I was wrong…

One of the things I taught was a cool entry into the north-south choke from the offside kesa gatame position.

The north-south choke is something I’ve worked on a LOT over the last couple of years. After many mistakes and false leads I finally ‘get it,” and feel comfortable teaching it to others.

My demonstration partner for this technique was fellow Carlson Gracie black belt Adam Ryan.

After I taught the ‘traditional’ north-south choke Adam came up to me and discretely inquired if he could show me something. He then proceeded to demonstrate a killer variation that makes the choke come on INSTANTLY!

It would have been hypocritical of me to keep this technique to myself. So I asked Adam to also teach his variation to the group. I figured that if I hadn’t seen it before then chances were pretty good that not too many other people knew about it either.

At the end of day I was very happy.

Not only had the students learned a ton of new material that I knew would work for them, but I had came away with something too! In fact I used it to submit a tough opponent on my very next training day.

Of course Adam is a formidable competitor, a great teacher and a BJJ black belt. Therefore it’s not surprising that he has lots of tricks to show me. But in my experience, most blue belts also have a trick or two they can show me.

Most schools, after all, have only one instructor, but if you keep an open mind then you can have a whole army of people – your fellow students – teaching you stuff, all the time.

There is nothing sadder than an ‘expert’ who has closed his mind to learning. When I stop learning then please start shoveling the dirt down on top of my grave.


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