The Beginner’s Mindset
There are many things that you need to consider when starting out with your first year of training. You have to decide what kind of person you want to become.
Do you want to be a fighter? A thief? An assassin? Or something else entirely?
There are so many options available, but it all depends on how much money you make and if there is anything stopping you from doing what you really want.
If you’re just starting out, then it’s very easy. You’ll probably get into fights or steal stuff. If you’ve been fighting before, you might even start stealing from other people too. That’s fine though; that’s part of life.
What will be different is the way you approach your new hobby and its consequences.
For example, if you choose to be a thief, you could end up being a professional one. You might not like it at first, but eventually you’ll realize that it’s better than working in some boring office job. Of course this isn’t necessarily true for every profession; some professions don’t offer any real choices and you’re stuck with them.
But let’s say that you do get into such a profession; what would happen? Would it change your life or not?
It really depends on the person. Some people don’t really like their job at all, but it’s stable and pays well so they stick with it. Other people don’t mind their job and just do it without any fuss. On the other hand, there are people who don’t like their job and will quit as soon as they find something else. And finally, there are people who don’t like their job and will find something else, but it has to be something that they really want to do or they won’t be happy.
If you’re in the first group of people, then you’ll probably just keep doing what you’re doing and never realize your potential. You’ll just keep on working for someone else until you’re too old to do it anymore. Then you’ll retire or move onto something else. If you’re in the second group of people then you’ll be fine.
It’s the last group that has the most potential. These people will be the ones who change the world, for better or for worse.
So what does this all have to do with BJJ (or any martial art for that matter)?
Everything! It’s your mindset that will make you great. It doesn’t matter if you’re a blue belt training every day or if you’re a white belt that only trains once a week. What matters is what’s in your mind.
Are you going to be the person that practices techniques over and over again because that’s what your teacher told you to do? Or are you going to be the person that breaks away from all of the traditional ideas and come up with new ones?
If you’re the first person, then you’ll probably always stay around the same level and not really get any better.
I mean it’s great that you’re practicing a lot, but if you don’t push your boundaries then how will you ever improve?
It’s like a car driving in neutral; it’ll get you from point A to point B, but never above and beyond.
The second type of person might be a danger to themselves and others. If you’re reckless enough, then you’ll probably get yourself hurt or worse. Assuming that doesn’t happen, you still won’t improve because you probably won’t have a good foundation of basics. After all, if you were so inclined to come up with new ideas, you probably aren’t doing a lot of the basics that make those ideas possible in the first place.
Now the third type of person is the one we want you to be. If you’re this type of person, then you’re going to go far. It doesn’t matter if you’re a white belt or a black belt, this mindset will take you beyond just the martial arts aspect of your life. Always try new things, expand upon old ideas, and never accept the fact that there is no room for improvement in anything that you do.
You may even realize one day that maybe everything you’ve learned up to this point is all wrong. At that point, you’ll be more than ready to create your own system.
Don’t worry if you’re not there yet though. That’s something that could take many years of learning and training (not just in martial arts, but in life in general). The important thing is to just keep an open mind and always question anything and everything.
If you do this, then your BJJ training will go smoothly. It won’t be perfect; in fact there will be times where you’ll hate it so much that you’ll want to quit. But as long as you keep that open mind, you’ll get through the hard parts and reap the benefits of your training in the future.
See you on the mat!
Sources & references used in this article:
Critical thinking abilities among prospective educators: ideals versus realities by BJJ Lombard, MM Grosser – South African journal of education, 2004 – ajol.info
Modelling critical thinking through learning-oriented assessment by BD Fabes, BJJ Zelinski… – Ceramic films …, 1993 – Noyes Publications Park Ridge, NJ
A novel highly unsaturated fatty acid moiety of lipo-oligosaccharide signals determines host specificity of Rhizobium by BJJ Lombard – South African Journal of higher education, 2008 – ingentaconnect.com
Living the Catholic social tradition: Cases and commentary by …, O Geiger, EP Kennedy, VN Reinhold, BJJ Lugtenberg – Nature, 1991 – Springer
Tea Bag Index: a novel approach to collect uniform decomposition data across ecosystems by …, PJ Hayes, MK Hellwig, CC Kelly, BJJ Leibrecht… – 2004 – books.google.com