The short answer is No and Yes.
Far too many grapplers struggle for years and suffer needless injuries because they are desperately trying to mimic a game that does not suit them. Sadly it takes many years of training before the student can even become aware this has happened, creating a scenario in which the intermediate grappler suddenly realises they have to start all over again. Some do. Most do not. Ever wonder what happened to that killer blue or purple belt at your academy who suddenly disappeared? This is what happened. In fact this scenario plays out so often that it’s become a culturally accepted grappling truism; progress is all about starting starting over… Which is nonsense.
Progress is all about building. Building your own game is a longterm process that involves carefully curating and tailoring techniques, methods and philosophies that best suit your physical and mental assets/liabilities. This is not a process a student in their early years of training can do. For that matter, it’s not something very many coaches can do either.
The ability to discern which paths a Day One student should explore is a skill cultivated over decades of teaching experience. It’s also something passed down from one coach to another. Some call it the “Magic Eye”. More than this, it requires a coach that is truly devoted to their students longterm progress above their own. Being a Martial Artist has taught them that the biggest impact they can have on the future rest not in their own achievements but rather in what they have contributed to Martial Arts as a whole. It is the journey after black belt. Or as Kanō Jigoro called it – “The Way”.
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