Part 13 of 21 improvements BJJ has had on my life. This series was inspired by Tangled Triangle: 21 Days of Improvement. You can read my Part 12 here! Today’s improvement was inspired by Katie from Skirt on the Mat.

13/21 Improvements from BJJ:  Patience

As Katie mentioned, patience is one of the most difficult things you will learn from jiu jitsu. Mine story is, however, a bit different. I started teaching kindergarten for the first time this year. What happened is that I was dealing with mistakes wrong, and I didn’t realize it until I watched the Bullyproof Parents Preparation video by Rener and Ryron Gracie. This video is 10 minutes long, but worth every moment. The entire video is available to watch here.


For those who can’t watch, Rener demonstrates how to correct mistakes poorly. Ryron grabs his arm wrong, and Rener uses language to try to correct it, but Ryron continues to misunderstand, while Rener gets more and more frustrated and loud.

Imagine how dumb he felt. Do you think he would like to experience that every day? Multiple times? No, you’d quit after day number one.

In my kindergarten class, I have had more than my fair share of very frustrated moments, invisible facepalms, and a desire to yell OMG I SHOWED YOU SIX TIMES! ARGH! LISTEN TO ME. Did I do that? Of course not! I would impatiently show them again, frustration creeping into my voice. It was like Rener and Ryron were directly speaking to me, and I was deeply ashamed. I went back to the classroom with renewed patience, with Rener’s voice on a loop in my head:

Expect nothing, praise everything.

I changed my classroom the next day, and my students noticeably reacted to this. My classroom became an enjoyable place. No one likes to feel stupid, and if I connected learning English with that feeling, I could turn them off of English for life. Yet, I could also try to create fun opportunities and have a positive memory of learning English that would stay with them.

Jiu Jitsu, by way of Rener and Ryron, really and truly changed my teaching and taught me the importance of patience. I’m a better teacher and I’m profoundly changed for it.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: Do you still get impatient at new people’s mistakes? Has BJJ taught you patience, both with yourself and others?