Having been in on Jiu-Jitsu in Oregon (USA) pretty much since it’s grass roots, have always had an information and/or time advantages on people.
Unfortunately this led me to believing my Jiu-Jitsu understanding was better than it actually was, as most of what I did for the first twelve years or so of training was bombard people with techniques and angles they weren’t familiar with or skilled at defending yet.
Part of the above wasn’t my fault, as it’s very natural to compare how well you’re ‘doing’ by how you compete with your peers, but as we’ll get to later, this isn’t the most scientific means of evaluation!
Moving on, technically, things began shifting after taking private lessons from Eric Hemphill (www.nemesisbjj.com). Not having reference points for most of Eric’s game I had to start breaking things down mechanically to understand why and how positions worked the way they did instead of just copying some one I felt had better ‘answers’ than me.
Would say those privates constituted my shift from beginner to intermediate with this intermediate stage eventually giving rise to me creating some of my own solutions based on an understanding of principles and mechanics.
Where I’m at in 2016 is now having some idea of what a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is trying to achieve aesthetically, is the sneaking suspicion that I don’t know how to practice very well!
In practice, everything we do should have a point, with the ‘doing’ evaluated for effectiveness. Otherwise it’s not really practice, it’s a continuation of what’s comfortable and familiar.
So yeah, that’s the new game. Not just looking at the objective, but how effectively we’re achieving that objective and refining things accordingly.
In terms of the preceding autobiography, even if you’re a white belt you can start breaking things down structurally and study principles. You don’t have to wait twelve years! Seek out instructors who teach principles, study human anatomy, and pay attention to how things feel while rolling and drilling. It was all there in front of me the whole time, was just oblivious to it. =)