I thought I'd reflect on my recent resolution to take class notes as a means of mapping my progress and increase my focus during training.

I recently watched this instructional DVD a friend of mine had lent me and the person made an analogy of the investment we make in going to school (college) and the steps we take to retain the knowledge given. So in either case, we are paying for the education, facilities and program set by the institution/instructor. It would make sense that most students in preparation for the final exam would take notes or somehow record the information so that it can be reviewed at a later date. I think the same goes for learning BJJ. It's not my intention to memorize 1000's of techniques when only a handful will apply to my game. What I would like to happen is to build a library of references so that I can reflect on aspects of my 'game' and how it applies to the overall concepts of jiu-jitsu. These concepts would include: posture, push-pull, leverage, weight-distribution, etc. From these concepts, how do I build a strategy of attack/defense, gluing together the techniques that work for me, what constitutes my 'A' game.

Another thing I've come to find while taking notes and reviewing them for the following class is that it helps me to map my mistakes when rolling with my teammates. These are the guys that will ultimately push you to be better. They're the ones that have clued into your game and will eventually learn to stop your 'infamous kimura from side-control.' Taking quick notes on what person 'X' got you with the last time will help you check that problem and hopefully keep you clear of making the same mistake. It's a win win situation cause we're all here to make each other better.

I've been guilty of training without a focused agenda, just to relieve some stress and get a decent workout. I know there are a lot of guys out there that have little interest in competition. And hey, that's fine if that's what you want. Competition and the preparation involved is not easy. Besides the skill level, you've got athleticism, chance, environment, reffing and the crowd all taking part as elements that will effect the outcome. For me it's the opportunity to test myself outside of my comfort zone and how I'm able to control myself and the person I am fighting. Perhaps for me, it's the competition that serves as the final exam.

So I am more than willing to constructively prepare myself by taking the extra 20-30 minutes after class to jot down the details that's going to help me later. It may also be that I'm far from my college days and as the responsibilities stack up, I have to take a more active role in my progress. If you've read this far, thanks for entertaining my rambling. -Luke

Well, we've reached my goal of having over 100 voters for the gi-poll. Atama has kept strong throughout so far and we have just another 3 days left. Thanks again to everyone who participated.

I also want to wish one of my good teammates the best of luck as Mark 'Vesuvius' Simmerman just left for the US and will be competing at the Pan Ams next week. He's been training very hard the past few months and I'm sure he will do well. GO VESUVIUS!!!!

If you haven't check it out yet, I just posted the interview with Mauricio 'Tinguinha' Mariano. He is the one that made the spider-guard what it is today and has continued to develop a game from this position, releasing a number of instructional DVDs. I'd had the great opportunity to train at his school while in LA last year and hope to have him in Asia soon.

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