What kind of attitude do you have when you go into class? Are you always ready to learn?
I’ll admit, I’m not always ready to learn. What I mean by this: a few months ago I asked an upper belt to roll. My hope was that we would just roll and have fun, or if he was going to show me something that he would give me some pointers at the end and I could just focus on rolling. But what happened was that every five seconds (exaggerated for the purpose of story telling) he would stop and instruct me. From the moment we started he began by critiquing my stance. Then I’d go to grab an arm or a collar or gi pants and he’d say “you should grab here instead.”
I’m sad to say that I was so focused on what I wanted to do that it made it hard to receive what could have been some of the best advice in the world. I have no idea if it was or not. I’m sad to say that I was a little annoyed, but did my best to shove that annoyance down and listen to him. I am proud that I did not say “HEY–LET’S JUST ROLL, OKAY???” even though I really wanted to. heh
Once, I had an instructor spend an entire class on street fighting tips. He was talking about using furniture in the bar if you needed to, and how to defend yourself in a bar fight. The girls in the class and I mostly looked like this ==> o_O and had wtf looks on our faces. We were NOT prepared nor willing to learn bar fight tactics. When he said “If someone punches you in a bar” my response was “Why am I in a bar? Why is someone attacking me?” Let’s just say I didn’t get into BJJ to learn to smash a chair on someone if needed.
Now, from the opposite point of view, even if you’re handing out gold plated wisdom, not everyone is able or willing to receive it at all times. I am a native English speaker with a background in English and education, and just because I *can* give great advice to my Korean and Ukrainian friends on their language doesn’t mean I always SHOULD. Sometimes people just want a conversation and don’t want you to correct their pronunciation or idioms unless it hampers communication. Sometimes if you do it too much they won’t initiate a conversation with you unless they’re specifically in a mood to learn. So I do think that idea transfers over as well–it’s good to get a read on someone to find out if they are receptive to your wisdom.
So I wonder about you–have you been in situations where you just couldn’t receive what was being given to you in BJJ? Perhaps you were in a bad mood, or your brain was full, or perhaps you just wanted to have fun and roll. Or perhaps you couldn’t stand the person who was trying to help you. Whatever the reason, I know I can’t be the only one who has been there. Share your story!