Today we had the last training with our bullyproof group. It has been a great term and we have seen some of the kids grow tremendously in confidence and prowess.
We had the pleasure of grading four students (which means that we put a black stripe on their white belts to signify progress.) Both Anja and Angelina got their first stripe.
After the grading we had a short elephant rumble (which is a playful sumo wrestling challenge) in which all the students participated. There where wins, cheers, losses and tears.
As we where changing clothes later Anja said:
At first I got sad when I lost but then my heart said “come on, you can do it”. She looks at me and says, no it wasn’t my heart it was Jesus. He said “come on, you can do it”, and I did! that’s what it means to have Jesus in your heart.
So last week I started training Gracie Jiu-jitsu with my girls. Anja is four and Angelina is six years old (Angelina has been cheating by doing a term of Judo first).
I signed the girls up at Graciekids and started with the first free sample lesson from the gracie games (crazy horse) and the girls loved it. And after listening to the parent preparation course I am sold on this system.
The gracie brothers contend that if you play the gracie games with your kids, and if you expect nothing but praise everything, then your kids will fall in love with jiu-jitsu. So after having done just two sessions, one with crazy horse and then introducing them to spider kid, they are completely hooked. The girls are asking now every day. Dad…. can we play jiu-jitsu? So they are loving it! Me, oh, I am loving it too! First of all I love Jiu-Jitsu, second of all, I love that the girls wanna play a game that I like. But it doesn’t end there…
Here comes my secret, I am learning so much about jiu-jitsu playing these games. That’s right I am LEARNING Gracie Jiu-Jitsu by playing games with my kids. It doesn’t get better than this.
First I read it on facebook, then I read it on twitter, and then a whole blog post describing how I got beaten in the Schola at my own game (ground fighting). I get a bit bewildered at this, what’s the big deal?
But I realise that I have been there to, when you are no longer a beginner in martial arts and you can roll with the best and suddenly you score a few wins against a trainer, a black belt, and it is a big deal. I remember my first win against Gabriel ..
Truth to be told, it should be a big deal! For me to. Understand me correctly here, I get beaten by my students all the time, in fact I have never had a serious student that has not beaten me! This either means that I am that lousy at fighting or that I am a really good instructor, and I will let my students be the judge of which is true. I fight my students all the time, I put no prestige in winning or loosing, as long as I win or loose well. It is important to always fight to your ability, to never perform badly. I do fight at the level of my students (this does not mean letting them win), I pace myself according to their investment in the fight. I match strength and speed when I can (I have many students who are stronger than me) And I may allow a student to gain an advantage (like a mount or a guard) to allow them to practice their skills. But I never let them win, if they win it is because they executed the right technique at the right time and I could not have stopped it at the time.
Why do I say all this? To make Mackans win less important? No! But to try to get a cross our philosophy: winning or loosing matters little, it is how well you fight.
I am not ashamed when I am beaten by my students. It is the greatest honour I know. It is a testament to all the time and effort I have put in training and coaching them. If I where afraid they would beat me one day I would have to keep a secret bag of tricks (black belt techniques) that I don’t teach in fear that they might win over me. No, I teach every trick I know regardless of the level of the student, I give away all my secrets, hoping that one day they will get all the little bits together and beat me at my own game.
So Mackan, to your victory VIVAT! May there be many more!