Making Connections = remembering
A question I am often asked by novice Jiu Jitsu athletes (and sometimes by Black Belts as well) is how do I remember so many techniques when from their perspective it all seems like a huge ever-expanding jumble of ideas and concepts …
I usually answer by admitting that when I began my own BJJ training back in the 80’s, it seemed that way to me also. When we start out, the whole thing looks like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with most of the pieces missing – this can make our initial BJJ learning experience somewhat of a frustrating time. Things do though, get a lot better as we progress … but why do they? And perhaps more importantly, is there any way we can make sense of things a little earlier?
In my own case, things began to make more sense, and I became better at remembering techniques, once I had a ‘base’ or ‘core game’ to pin newly learned techniques to. When we are exposed to a new technique (sweep, attack, etc) it is easy to commit it to memory if we ‘connect’ it to other techniques/moves that we already own/know. My own personal trick for remembering techniques, is to connect ‘new’ moves/techniques to as many ‘familiar’ moves that I know. Simply, the more connections we make, the more likely we are to remember the new move/idea/technique.
The secret to remembering new things is to make strong associations between the new thing and things we already know. The stronger the associations/connections we make, the more powerful and easy the remembering.
The better and more well-rounded our ‘core’ game becomes, the easier it becomes to find ways of ‘connecting’ new techniques to it. This is why the remembering and ‘making sense’ of things becomes easier after we become a blue or purple belt.
When you learn something new – immediately try to make a connection between it and something you already know – or even better still, make several connections/combinations between the newly learned thing and things you already know. This will greatly improve the likelihood of taking ownership of the ‘new stuff’.