Nic Gregoriades: “My Journey into Jiu Jitsu”

The following is a recent Reddit post from Nicolas Gregoriades. For those who are not familiar with Nic, he was the first person to receive a Black Belt from the legendary Roger Gracie. He has worked closely with a number of other prolific black belts, produces podcasts & high quality Jiu-jitsu content and has founded the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood.

I was fortunate enough to meet and train with Nic in Thailand a few years ago. As a  key influence in my own BJJ journey (and fellow South African), I always find Nic’s words inspiring, honest and something to reflect on. This is a great look at Nic’s journey so far and gives a rare, well articulated, insight into what the journey through BJJ looks like.

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Nic

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Allowing yourself the space for creativity

Many of us, in the pursuits we are passionate about, have the space to be creative and express ourselves in a true, honest way.

One thing we need to be aware of is that sometimes our focus can narrow and we can become absorbed by single facets of our pursuit. This can leave us without the space to find creative solutions- or to express creativity- because we become hyper-focused on the single thing directly in front of us. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and allow ourselves that space for creativity again.

For myself, my biggest creative pursuit is within Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and I’m constantly trying to find new ways to open up pathways to express myself within the (martial) art form. At times, I’ve felt like I had hit the dreaded “plateau”; where I felt like I was at a point of stasis and not seeing any improvement. I would be dissatisfied because I could not find success with the single thing that I was working on.

But the solution in cases like this is actually very simple. Sometimes, we narrow our focus too much and do not allow for the state of flow to occur, limiting our creativity and ultimately our ability to experiment & improve. When we become too objective focused, we dedicate all of our attention to completing that objective and forget to prioritize other equally important aspects.

A lot of practitioners talk about “opening up their game”. I think that this in a way refers to attending to the creative learning often required within BJJ and other martial arts or sports. Shouldn’t we always open up our games? By allowing ourselves the space to work creatively to solve the problems presented us, we will plateau less, enjoy training more and find more satisfaction when things do start to come together as a result.

Listening to Criticism.

The most valuable people you will ever meet are the ones who won’t always tell you what you want to hear. Remember that.

The people in your life who care enough to tell you what you need to hear, as opposed to what you want to hear, are worth their weight in gold.

Remember that no-one ever created positive change in their life by being encouraged to keep to doing the same mediocre things that they’ve been continuously doing without result. That is called stasis. Stasis will galvanize your way of thinking, it will encourage you to adopt weak, ego-centric narratives that justify your lack of improvement or inability to change the things that aren’t going right in your life.

Surround yourself with people who care about you and the kind of person you are. Be prepared to listen to them without taking offense. If they care enough to tell you when you’ve made a mistake, take that on board and allow it to inform your perceptions of how you act without being hurt or outraged.

Be grateful for criticism. Be grateful for an opportunity to learn and improve as a human being. Be grateful for those who care enough to tell you when you’ve made a mistake.

 

Presence of mind: The importance of mental presence in learning.

 

“What’s the secret?” 

Who has heard this before? With reference to learning; there is no secret. There is no cheat code that lets you skip the hard work, the effort and demands of improving and learning something new. However, as is the focus of quite a few discussions here at Articulate BJJ, there are specific habits we can develop that will help us to maximize, and maybe even fast track, your learning. One of these is Mental Presence.

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Competition Mindset: The Do’s & Don’ts

Participating in competition provides a huge opportunity to receive some important  feedback about your Jiu-jitsu. Competing helps to sharpen the blade in a way that not even highly demanding training can; you will find out very quickly what works and what doesn’t.

More importantly, you will also learn a lot about yourself; how you deal with stress, how you deal with winning & losing and how to develop strategy & positive training habits. Competition can offer all of these things to the practitioner who adopts the correct mindset for competing. There are some Do’s & Don’ts for developing a good mindset for competition, this article will take a closer look at some of these and hopefully help you develop a mental edge going into your next competition experience.  Continue reading

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.

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Swimming with the Current: Thoughts on style, changing & innovating

One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Jefferson:

“In matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock”

I have primarily concerned myself with the second half of this quote and the emphasis placed by Jefferson on not compromising ourselves for the sake of others. As an innovator and agent of change himself, Jefferson’s quote is a perfect fit for the concept I’ve been thinking about recently.

Recently, I turned my attention to the first half of the quote: “In matters of style, swim with the current.” We live in a rapidly changing world that demands that we are able to adapt, change and innovate. To keep our head above water, we have to learn to swim with the current: adapt, innovate and change to survive.

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Pulling the Trigger: When to stay, when to go & seizing opportunity. A Discussion on Timing.

We are all told to seize the moment, but what does it take to make that happen? How do we perfect our ability to make the most out of the opportunities life offers us? Whether it’s applying for that dream job, finding the courage to talk to someone new for the first time, executing a technique or running the perfect line, it comes down to something simple. TimingContinue reading

Stick to the path: 3 thoughts on following your path.

We all walk a path that has been paved by our past choices and actions. We either walk this path with intention, having paved it with purpose, or we walk a path unintentionally, forced to because of causes we had no control over. Regardless, there is nothing to be gained by not seeing your path to its destination. Today I had three short thoughts about the paths that we walk…

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Sometimes the path to your goal is paved. At times, you won’t see where it leads and at times the finish will not be in sight.

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