My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Experience – Sometimes The Slightest Adjustment Can Make All The Difference

I went to my first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class last week. This was something that I had been wanting to do for a very long time. For some reason (probably fear) I kept putting it off and off. I am a fan of the art, as well as the life philosophy it teaches, having read a lot about the Gracie family, and the origins of the sport. So I decided that I would stop putting it off, I would call the nearest Gracie Barra Academy, and sign myself up for a class.

I had to admit, the initial thought of another grown man forcing me into painful positions, with a goal of making me “submit” or “tap out” (the goal in Jiu-Jitsu) did create a touch of fear. So after donning my traditional gi (which felt very unusual to wear), and looking at the purple and brown belts warming up (being a first timer my belt was shining white), the fear became very real and for a moment I asked myself “why am I here again?

But I stayed, and I’m glad I did. After warming up, our instructor demonstrated a “simple” move, which would be the basis for the class. It was a technique to get a person off of you when you are in a “half-guard” position (basically you are on your back or side, and a person’s full body weight is on you, and you have one leg in between their legs and the other leg on the outside). The focus of the class was to drill this move over and over until we got it right.

As we started to practice I found great difficulty with this technique. My partner (my brother) is a large guy and outweighs me significantly. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I pushed, I couldn’t get him off me. I was starting to feel very frustrated as I lied on the ground, sweaty in strange PJs, trying to get a 230 pound guy off me. I have definitely been in better situations.

Then the instructor came over and very simply moved my foot, ever so slightly, to a different, angle. This created a leverage position and with this position I was able to use my legs to flip my much larger brother over and off me.

Fascinating, that the smallest adjustment created massive leverage – enough so that with ease I could do something that I previously didn’t have the ability to do (even using all of my strength).

After the class I thought about this principle and its applicability to my business and life. What are the slightest adjustments that you can make right now that can have a massive payoff:

– Perhaps in your focus (focusing only on what you want, not on what you don’t want or what you fear);

– Perhaps in your habits (eliminating a bad habit, or creating a new positive one);

– Perhaps in your effectiveness (adopting a behaviour that creates massive leverage in your life);

– Perhaps in your daily routine (starting with a visualization of the successful achievement of your desired end-goal, instead of just the routine “rush” to start the day.

Sometimes, as I learned in Jiu-Jitsu, the smallest adjustment can make all the difference.


2 comments on “My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Experience – Sometimes The Slightest Adjustment Can Make All The Difference”
  1. Nitin says:

    Ryan, sometimes it is really difficult for a person to “buy in” to the concepts that you are describing in your blog because while they make sense, to put them in practice or to actually isolate the problems one wishes to fix is a great challenge of its own. For example: adopting a behavior that creates mass leverage in my life…the challenge is in figuring out which behavior does create that leverage…the will and desire to find these solutions is often there, but for some people, myself included, the discovery process has yielded no real results. Do you have any methods you would suggest which could help in identifying such behaviors etc.?

    1. Great question! Yes desire is usually not the problem, it is implementation.

      Here are five key examples of things that I did in my life, small behavioural adjustments, that had a massive impact on me:

      1) I started to visualize each day: I would visualize what I wanted and also see myself pulling it off. This gave me tremendous confidence. It made me less scared. It is the basis for my current business, including my online efforts. I had to first see it in my mind, before I saw it in reality. Each day as I would condition this image I would grow in desire, resolve and confidence. Daily visualization has been a small act that had massive leverage on my emotions and my actions. I take more actions because the image in my mind is so compelling. The more actions I take the better results I get.

      2) I stopped worrying about trying to please people and changed my focus to being the person I wanted to be. Living according to my core values not what others thought. This created huge leverage and freed me from the chains of others expectations. All I would focus on is who I wanted to be, not what others thought of me, or expected from me. This was a big one for me, particularly in leaving law to pursue a career in writing and direct sales 🙂

      3) I stopped watching TV and the news. This was huge. News was making me scared and depressed. So I eliminated it and my life is much better. This was a small step that had massive leverage. Now my car ride is my own self directed university. I have free up lots of time and emotional energy to go after was I really want

      4) I started to limit my time spent with negative people and increase my time spent with positive people. I realized that I was becoming who I spent time with. So I had to take control of that – not in a snobby way, but in reality you will often adopt the outlook of who you associate with the most.

      5) I had to dream again and stop being so “practical”. I had to think like a kid again. This brought happiness and courage into my life. I realized that just because I am a grown up this doesn’t mean that I couldn’t still dream like a kid. Lots of grown-ups don’t get this. I think this makes life rich and exciting

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