On Consistency and Failing at the Right Things

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Last weekend I had a chance to teach a third no gi BJJ seminar at Perun Academy of Martial Arts in Rogaška Slatina. What impressed me more than a great turn-out (people came from all over Slovenia and even as far away as Zagreb), was informal discussion with a few familiar faces following 2.5 hours of instruction, Q&A session and sparring.

You can see the blog post and video high-light from the first seminar here:

Specifically, the owner and recently promoted brown-belt, Elio, along with a few other students who have attended my prior two seminars, were telling me how some of the principles and techniques covered worked for them immediately, and left some of their sparring partners baffled, while others took a while to develop. This was a very poignant observation, on which I expanded on during the course of the debate.

Often in life, we have things we gravitate or excel in more than others. This can be for several factors, but typically has to do with our aptitude, proficiency and physical or mental inclinations. Sometimes, a more experienced, better or more accomplished person gives as answer that simply resonates with us, because we’ve been struggling (or experimenting) with a similar issues. Of course, it is always great when our partners in crime notice our progress.

More often than not, however, our adoption of a new, learned or desired skill will lead to failure. A certain number of repetitions under the right conditions is required to polish fluency of whatever skill we are acquiring. Until such fluency is acquired, however, failure will follow in its immediate wake. You can look at some of my journey through my failures along with a simple strategy given to me by multiple-time World Champ and fight coach to UFC Stars, Ricky Lundell, which will help you turn failures into victories, in the video below.

This point can get exacerbated even more, when we raise the level of resistance or standard (high-school to college, or sparring with a black belt vs. a lower belt etc.). It is in these moments we need to remember that failure leads to success, and knowing that we are failing at the right things, because they are tested (in tournaments, workplace) and demonstrated by those who are better and more accomplished than us in that skill.

Often people I encounter dismiss something that doesn’t work immediately as unrealistic. Yet, most of us, require quite a few stumbles to learn to walk or even ride a bike as children. It is silly to think that any great skill will not require failures in the learning stage. It doesn’t feel good, but it is required. Stay strong and stay committed to excellence in whatever you’re doing, because it is the right thing to do.

What failures did you turn into success? Share with us your thoughts by commenting, liking or subscribing.

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Until next time, Gregor


European turned American! Linguist, traveler, martial arts aficionado, BJJ Black Belt, and a retired executive who decided to pursue grappling full time at 35 and document the journey in order to inspire others to pursue their dreams. These are his ramblings.

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