When Your Training is in a Slump! (Part 3) Being Closed Minded

Closed Minded in Training

In the first two parts of this series we looked at Comparing Yourself to Others and Outside Influences.  The most common pitfalls in these two areas were addressed and some practical ways to address them were covered.  Next we delve into a common trap for many, being Closed Minded.

As the old saying goes, “A mind is like a parachute.  It doesn’t work if it is not open.”.   And in martial arts nothing is more true as it applies to learning and training.  As an instructor over the last 10 plus years I’ve come across many different types of students.  Some naturally come in to class with an open mind ready to learn.  And others come in like they already know what they are doing.  Thanks to the internet and particularly Youtube, many students come to us thinking they are already know how to do certain things (i.e. armbars, takedowns, etc.).   In the following sections we’ll go more in depth on the problems with being closed minded.

When Being Closed Minded Can Put You in a Training Slump!

As I mentioned previously many students come in thinking they already know what they are doing.  Sometimes this can be due to ignorance, previous experiences, and thinking “I’m above this”.  What does this have to do with being closed minded you ask?  When someone thinks they already are proficient at something or know everything there is to know about a subject matter, then they close their mind off to hearing what others have to say.  I see the look on students faces all the time, “man I’ve already learned how to do a cross choke from guard”.  I’ve been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a very long time now.  And even to this day whenever a black belt teaches even the most basic of techniques I sit, watch, and absorb what they are saying.  No matter how many times you’ve seen a technique, we should not close our mind .. you never know what you might miss out on!  I try and live by this quote, “the minute I stop listening is the minute I stop learning”.  Even when white belts say, “hey can you do it this way” I stop and think about it.  Once I was up in New York training at the Renzo Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, in 2000 I believe.  I was a blue belt at the time and another student (a white belt) asked Renzo if what he had done (a modification to a choke) was ok to do.  Renzo looked at it and then stopped class and had taught what the student had just come up with.  The important lesson is that if a legend like Renzo can to stop and consider a technique from white belt,  well why can’t I!

Being Closed Mind and Putting Yourself in a Training Slump

So, to bring this all together.  When students and practitioners close their mind off to other ideas and suggestions in training, they put themselves in a position to fail.  At the essence of jiu jitsu is the idea that you must be responsive, adaptive, and constantly evolving.  How can you be any of those things if you close yourself off from what others have to offer.  Whether that’s new techniques, new ways to drill, or advice from lower belts … heaven forbid!  If we close our minds and put ourselves in a position not to grow and learn, then it’s only natural that we’ll hit a training slump.  So, take our advice and keep your mind open .. like a parachute and it’ll work much better that way!

Have you ever found yourself being Closed Minded?  Have you ever trained with someone who was Closed Minded?  We would love for you to give us your thoughts?  Post a Comment Below!!!

When Your Training is in a Slump! (Part 4)

In our last of this series, we will discuss the 4th area that people get in a training slump over, having a “W in Only Mentality”.


Guy Pendergrass

About Guy Pendergrass
Co-owner and head instructor of Pendergrass Academy of Martial Arts in Wake Forest, NC and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt under Gustavo Machado. For more information about classes, check out our website at www.PendergrassAcademy.com or call 919-819-1908 Today and find out how you can learn Brazilian JIu Jitsu (BJJ) for 30 Days ABSOLUTELY FREE


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