Loss = Win


I learn more from a loss than I do from a win. 

I remember having to learn an escape from headlock side-control because a brute of a man at the gym I was attending used it really well. It was uncomfortable to have all his weight on my chest as he methodically went about dismantling my pathetic defenses. If I didn’t get out of that position early, and with gusto, I would tap every time. 

I remember having to abandon the deep-half game because the sweep that I knew got countered by a good friend, and training partner. He turned my go-to sweep into a counter armbar. I wasn’t willing to invest more into the deep-half so I had to find another way to sweep. 

I remember getting dominated in a guy’s guard so often that I one day decided that I just wasn’t going to go into it anymore. It changed the way I looked at guard passing, and the rules we seem to create around engagement. It was the first time I was forced to apply the, “if it happens every time you go in there, why do you keep going in there?” logic. 

I remember getting caught with a figure four every time I moved when rolling against my instructor. It meant that I was moving with chicken wings hanging out. I needed to move less like a chicken trying to jump over a fence and more like a guy who’s elbows were sewn into his ribs. 

I remember, very early on, that I decided that I wanted to last long enough to be able to play the game. That forced me to look into postures and survival and escapes. 

I remember very few wins. 

Loss has caused me to take far more significant steps to growth in my Jiu-Jitsu than any wins that I might have experienced. Winning has provided me with a minimal ego boost for at least ten seconds each time, but that every loss has resulted in a better game.

The great reality to this beautiful, gentle art is that a loss is far more of a win than a win will ever be.  



Every December I get into a bit of a funk.

I have spent 2011 is learning mode.

I took up a new job that required adjustments. Those adjustments required learning, not just of material, but of people and systems and other ‘ways’.

I spent the year traveling and speaking at all sorts of places. Churches, conferences, seminars, and study groups. That required that I spend a year learning new things so that I didn’t just attempt to share the same material everywhere I went. Sometimes, I would share the same material as I did previously, which was a learing process because I had to take a view of improvement instead of simple duplication. I learned how to plan series of presentations, how to speak to vastly different audiences, and how to revisit with groups.

I also picked up Jiu-Jitsu. I fell into a massive universe of techniques and positions. It’s got a human chess element to it. I learned protection and survival. I learned reversals and attacks. I learned drilling disciplines and mental practices.

I have spent 2011 in leaning mode.

However, every December sees me get a case of Decemberitis.

I get to a point where I just can’t be bothered learning anything new. My brain goes into hibernation.

My work turns into autopilot as much as I can make it.

My traveling and speaking stopped in November (because I knew I wouldn’t be very productive in December).

My Jiu-Jitsu is a bit of a different story though. Mostly because I can’t understand how you can go into a training session without learning something. I don’t understand how you can spar without learning something new.

I know how it happens. I know those nights where guys come to the gym and munt their way through the sparring sessions. They grab submissions as hard as they can and growl until they get a tap. They panic when they get into a bad position which usually leads to them being let go of because the other guy doesn’t feel like munting. They don’t use technique to control, they use pain and heavy breathing and an unshaven face and the little metal band they left on thier arm. They grab collars and try to rip it off. They get to side control and hold as tight as possible until they can get their forearm into your neck or get their knee on your belly in order to pull up on your leg and shoulder in an attempt to push the knee through said belly.

That’s all ‘legit’ Jiu-Jitsu. I know how it happens. But, I don’t understand it. You see, when I get in that mode I don’t learn anything. When people do that stuff to me, I know they don’t learn anything. How do I know? Well, because it doesn’t work but they still try it next time without any adjustments. That simple concept says a lot about someone’s willingness to learn.

Please note that I said, ‘willingness’ and not ‘ability’. There’s a huge difference in those two words.

So, come December and the onset of Decemberitis I learned that going into Jiu-Jitsu with the ‘I can’t be bothered learning anything this entire month’ attitude doesn’t actually last long. I think I ended up learning more last night than I usually do. The reason has a lot to do with what’s stated in this blog. When I can’t be bothered I tend to be a lot more clear in thought. When I’m clear in thought I roll a lot better. When I’m rolling better it’s because I’m using more brain and less hairy face/munter elbow/growl growl jiu-jitsu and more technique based combat.

As John Will via Glen Tarrant says, it’s Jiu-Jitsu (the soft art) vs Go-Jitsu (the munter art).

In my annual month of not wanting to learn anything new I have come across two news lesson.

#1-  Experience will always teach but only if you’re willing to learn.

#2- If you’re not willing to learn your bound to end up as a munter… no one wants to be one of those.

#3- If you spend so long in munter mode (not learning) you’ll get well left behind because you’re not growing, you’re just munting.

#4- Don’t state how many lessons you’ve learning until you’re done making the list…

Happy December everyone!

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