So you hear all the time that Jiu Jitsu is like chess….I agree to an extent, as long as you’re referring to strategy. But if you think about it, the rules are fairly different.
For instance, I was in the chess club in 4th grade (shut up) and I was always warned about bringing my queen – the most powerful piece – out too early. This isn’t like Jitz. If my best move is there, I’m taking it, I’m not waiting to bring it out later when I have backup…why would I do that? I should attempt it, and if it doesn’t work, I will combo into something different, or as Rickson put it, “flow with the go.” If I wait to come up with a backup in case it doesn’t work, my ass is kicked…and if there’s two things I don’t like, it’s realizing I’m out of milk after I pour a bowl of cereal and getting my ass kicked.
I liken Jitz to growing up, and I think it’s a much better comparison, and everyone can relate. Look at it this way; you start off in life getting babied through your learning process while having a tight eye on you to make sure you’re doing things right. As you progress in life, you learn to ride a bike, throw a frisbee, throw a baseball and gut a fish (techniques). As you continue growing, you learn not only how to ride your bike, but how to “pop a wheelie”. You just don’t throw a baseball, but now you have a repertoire of pitches – curves, sinkers, fastballs…etc. This is refining your techniques.
Of course, you’ll never forget these things as you get older, but in order to keep them clean you have to come back to practice. This is progression, and this is Jiu Jitsu.
Here’s where levels/belts come into play…You know that guy that can do everything decent but isn’t great at any of them? He’s good for a pickup game of basketball, can tell you a little about WWII and has a favorite sports team in any sport. He’s the guy that comes into the gym to get his blue belt then quits right after. He wants to throw frisbees and baseballs and go fishing just to know how to do them.
Then there’s that guy they call the “Jack of all trades”. He’s the dude that women love because he can fix a car, landscape the yard, knows the answer to everything and could probably fly if given proper time to practice. He can name the players on all his favorite teams, can play any game of pickup ball and dominate, and can not only tell you a little about WWII, but he’ll tell you why turning points in the war occurred and how they could have been successful. He’s the man. He’s also the black belt. He doesn’t just try things out in life, he makes life his life.
But what about the strategy? I agreed earlier that chess is similar, but look at the big picture – How are you going to be successful in your life without skills, knowledge and technique? Bosses don’t want to know if you can do something, they want to know if you can do tasks better. They don’t want to hear that you found a problem, they want to hear that you found a problem and know how to fix it. They want your refined technique.
Jiu Jitsu isn’t life, it’s livin’.