Perfection in BJJ: Goal or pipe dream?

Posted by Jon Grilz

Jan 14, 2014 12:34:00 PM

And now a word from Minnesota Top Team BJJ Instructor, Jon Grilz. 


michaelangeloMichelangelo once said "The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." The man's got a point, but how high is too high? Is perfection even something that should be striven for? If so, what even constitutes perfection in a game that is constantly adapting and evolving?

Some would argue that the greats like Rickson and Rigan are as close to perfect as we have in the game, but I have to wonder: could Buchecha sweep Rickson? Could Rodolfo Vieira pass Rigan's guard? Let's not forget, for those of us that have been in the game for a little while, that this is a sport that is fraught bjj_plateauswith the dreaded "plateau". The idea that nothing is changing, skills are not improving, the days on the mat don't have nearly the shine and appeal that they once had. With this in mind, is seeking to be the intangible idea of "perfect" something that will push us to constantly improve or just drive us crazy under the weight of "why can't I get better as a blue belt?" How does one realistically set goals that are both attainable and motivating?

First, let go of the idea of being perfect. BJJ isn't perfect, it never is. Only the idea of what we do is rooted in perfection. However, when we face an opponent that has the same skills we do, perfection goes out the window. Perfection and resistance are poor bedfellows.

Second, I recommend you stop trying to be someone you aren't. Even if you train under Rickson or Rigan, you will never be them. You may have similarities in your movements, sweeps, submissions, etc, but you are not them. Each BJJ game is predicated on your strength, speed, level of aggression, intelligence and who your 2nd grade teacher was... Did I lose you on that one? Sorry, I meant to tell you that everything in 2ndgradeyour life up to this moment has become the foundation for you as a grappler. You just can't simulate someone else's life because you don't think like them or move with the same motivations.

Third, you need to take the mat one day at a time. Stop trying to look at BJJ as an endgame. You will never realize that you are getting better, stronger or more fluid, it will just happen. It's like getting taller when you grow up, you can't notice it, but your parents/instructor will. While I am all for emulating the big names in the game, following the top competitors and seeing what new positions and moves are out there, remember, if you even want to come close to the ideal of perfection, you have to get back to basics.


Roger Gracie passes guard, takes mount and chokes you out. But do you really think it is that easy? Do you think he does the same techniques you know the exact same way and with the same leverage? Focus on the little things and take it all one step at a time. Don't look for huge improvements, but hold onto the small victories.

Remember to breath, it's all just a game. Get back on the mat.


MN Top Team Free Week

Topics: bjj

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all