I just came back from Masters Worlds. For 30+ year old Jiu Jitsu athletes, its the biggest tournament in the world. I went for many reasons, but mostly I wanted to test myself against the best in the world.
Being there made me think of language acquisition. I’ve always joked that Americans act like there are two levels of skill with Spanish 1. “mi llamo es Joseph” or 2. PERFECT FLUENCY.
Logically we know thats not true, but thats kind of how we think. We ask people if they are fluent, as if fluent is an easy quantifiable, measurable goal when it is not. You are never fluent. There are always combinations of words that can throw you, dialects, misconceptions about interpretation etc.
There are 1000 tiny layers between each stage of growth.
Back to the tournament.
I won my first match, and it was a major relief. There were 40 guys in my bracket, so half of them were going to go home after losing the first match. Traditionally, the first round is always the hardest for me. I am never warmed up enough, and my body has not accepted the premise that I need it to fuck someone up and yes this will require effort.
In my second match, I could tell my opponent was freak strong, and was waiting for me to make one mistake so he could mow me down. We fought to a stalemate and I eventually rolled the dice on a choke, almost got him, lost the position, and ended up being on the defensive in the closing seconds of the match. I didn’t get scored on but he did enough to win the match. Tough break, but hell of a match. A personal best for me.
The thing I took home with me from this experience was the importance of details.
I scored in my first match because of tiny details. A move within a move within a move. I lost in my second match because of details. The same process of knowledge, but being applied against me.
Maybe there are no unimportant details. Thats hard for an ADD person like me. I just can’t remember everything. I am a summary type guy. I would be a terrible CPA, but I’m a good performer.
One of my forever heroes is Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a master of the details of his craft. To the point where it makes his regular life a struggle. Early in the stories it is revealed that he is ignorant of the fact that the earth moves around the sun. At the same time, he can recognize over 20 different types of cigars and cigarettes by the ash they make.
Knowing details is also a spectrum. Compared to someone who doesn’t train Jiu Jitsu, I am a master. Compared to my coach, I’m a 12 year old with one stripe on my belt.
I’m proud of my experience because I was so scared. I had a panic attack on the plane ride there. I lived under a constant black cloud preparing for this. I have no trouble seeing myself as an artist. Its a challenge to see myself as an athlete. Its probably some type of self love I have not actualized. But I did it any way.
But I didn’t lose because I was nervous, I lost because of details. That is comforting. I can’t control how scared something makes me, I can control my level of study.
If I ever go back, I will go with a broader map in my mind, my details will improve.