Beyond the Technique: Discipline

Monday, January 23, 2017


It's Saturday night and I'm out with my friends - I really want to stay longer, but jiu-jitsu training starts at 10:30 the next morning. If I'm going to make it to class with enough energy to train and spar, I know I can't linger. I've got to get home and get some rest to make the best of the next morning's class. Making that decision takes discipline. 


I've got a long day ahead and I'll have to head straight to training from work which means I need to be prepared for class beforehand. Being prepared means packing my jiu-jitsu bag the night before, making sure I've got my gi, mouthguard, rashguard, belt, gloves, and so forth. Preparing ahead of time takes discipline. 


I've been working on a technique for weeks now and although I know I need more practice before I move on, I'm getting impatient. I want to practice something new, but I know I haven't given the current technique enough time and focus. Sticking to the necessary drills to be able to execute a technique with confidence takes discipline. 


I sometimes get overwhelmed in class with the amount of details related to a technique. I wish I could just absorb it all without giving it much thought, but I can't. I know I want to learn and remember the material, but this means I need to watch training videos, take notes during class, review those notes afterwards, and keep practicing the technique. Putting in that extra time takes discipline. 


I've gone over to a friend's house for dinner and although what they're serving looks delicious, I know that it won't make me feel good in the morning. I know that if I want to have a good training session, then it'll be better for me to avoid the foods that won't have me at my best. Saying 'no, thank you' takes discipline. 




When it comes to (any type of) training, discipline is a key ingredient to success. By deciding to practice jiu-jitsu, I have committed to putting in time and effort towards my training. However, my involvement goes beyond learning just the techniques. 


The desire to do well in practice means that I have had to be disciplined off the mats as well. I need to get enough rest to ensure I have a good training session. I need to pack my training bag the night before so that I am ready to go. I need to make healthy eating choices so that I feel my best on the mats. 


These are all adjustments I need to make to my daily routine in order for me to pursue my training the best way possible. 


I know to some it may seem like I'm sacrificing a lot or taking it too seriously. If I wasn't so passionate about making progress and improving, then I might have agreed. However, doing well during drilling and sparring sessions is important to me and it makes me feel happy. If it didn't, then I probably wouldn't be so conscious of the impact my choices and actions have off the mats. 


I think the enthusiasm that is linked to any hobby goes through peaks and valleys. In the beginning, you're full of excitement and everything is about the new experience. When I first started jiu-jitsu, I was exactly like that. I would spend a lot of time reading and exploring the world of jiu-jitsu. I found, however, that the same level of enthusiasm was not easy to sustain for a long period of time. It's not that my love for jiu-jitsu has waned -- it's just that ... life happens. Family obligations, work demands, social engagements -- they all need your attention. You realize that you have to find some level of balance - and that requires discipline. Beyond the techniques, focusing on my jiu-jitsu training has also taught me how to make decisions in my life as a whole in a much more disciplined manner.

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