The Devil is in the Detail: Paying attention to the small things and being detail oriented.

One of the most important aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the importance of details. When executing a technique, there a certain number of details you must incorporate to perform the move correctly and efficiently. Being detail oriented can make for slow progress at times, however later progression becomes accelerated as your execution of techniques (once learned) never hits a critical mass of errors that lead to the technique being applied failing.

The phrase: “The Devil is in the Detail” is profoundly true within BJJ for this reason. However, understanding and committing to a Detail Oriented approach can have major benefits for any other aspect of your life too.

20171004_134059.jpgMiyamoto Musashi once said “Understand the way broadly and you will see it in everything”, it’s no coincidence that many of the posts I write at least try to reflect that. With that in mind, let’s discuss technique and detail.

As I continue to train and explore technique, it has become very clear that the key to pulling off any move or executing any technique comes down to the very smallest of details. With every technique, there seems to be a critical mass of details that you can get wrong before the move no longer works or becomes inefficient to pursue. There is a hierarchy of importance with each detail of course; some are far more important than others when it comes to insuring the success of any given technique.  Being detail oriented, that is to focus on these details within any technique, is a skill that has to be learned. We start out not knowing any technique or detail, but as we continue to train we discover more techniques and the details required to pull them off.

Becoming detail oriented has helped my own training immensely; I am still by no means masterful in my application of this approach, but I make a conscious effort to be detail oriented as much as possible when I train. This means analyzing your technique, applying it and understanding the why or why not, figuring out why the technique worked or didn’t.

I was very fortunate to start out with coaches and training partners who helped me to foster this skill from day one. When a technique didn’t work, my coach or training partner would offer suggestions and corrections in hope that I would be able to adjust next time and perform the technique successfully. As I’ve continued to train, I have started to reflect on my own training more, and I break down every roll into a sum of techniques and details to try and make adjustments on a micro level in order to benefit the macro level. By forcing yourself to do this after a session, you will begin to develop a detail oriented approach.

Being detailed oriented also has the benefit of allowing you more space to be creative in your training. By focusing on details rather than masses of technique, you can begin to apply principals to your Jiu-jitsu, rather than a set structure of techniques and begin to ‘create’ or experiment with new movements and applications of detail and principal.

Of course, maybe you’re thinking that this approach isn’t for you. I can only suggest you try it. Not even once have I felt like this practice has been a waste of time or that it hasn’t helped me in some way. Maybe you feel like it is too hard, it can be challenging to think so much after all. If you’re finding it hard, try break down your drilling sequence from your last class. How was your attention to detail? What did you miss? Do you have any questions about the technique you want to take back to your coach or instructor? All of the answers to these questions arise out of having a detail oriented approach to your training.



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