Stephan Kesting <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.grapplearts.com Talent, schmalent! Talent is over-rated!! I've been doing martial arts for almost 30 years and I've seen my share of super-gifted natural athletes walk in through the door. As often as not these winners of the genetic lottery get a few quick results, then get bored and move on to the next shiny thing. In fact it's usually the people without a lot of natural athleticism that stick it out long enough to get good. Really good. Today I want to talk about two factors that influence how good you're going to get: talent and determination... (By 'talent' I mean natural athletic talent. Great balance, strength, flexibility, speed, reaction time, etc. And by 'determination' I mean how hard someone is willing to work to get better.) You can divide BJJ practitioners into four categories Low athleticism, low determination Low athleticism, high determination High athleticism, low determination High athleticism, high determination I'm 100% convinced that determination is WAY more important than talent. In addition, I'm amazed at how often talent and determination DON'T go together (category 3 above). Maybe it's just because those guys dripping with raw talent have always had everything so easy that they often quit when the going gets hard. Once the low-hanging fruit is gone, they're gone too! But on the other hand, I've seen out-of-shape people with two left feet turn themselves into warriors many times. That's because they're category 2 people (low athleticism, high determination): they achieve through sheer determination, coming to practice, showing up, and doing the hard stuff. Now obviously to get to the ultra-elite level in any sport requires both talent AND determination. Michael Jordan in basketball, David Beckham in Soccer, Marcelo Garcia in BJJ - these people all have talent AND have spent thousands of hours obsessively honing their skills. So if you're not very talented you may have to accept that you're probably never going to win the black belt division of mundials (the BJJ world championships). But you know what? That's true of almost everybody - talent or no talent, determination or no determination. Out of 100,000 people who start BJJ, only one of those people is ever going to medal in that event. So if that's you're only goal then the chances are (very) high that you're gonna fail. But if your goal is to get really good at grappling, to become confident in your self defense skills, and to get in shape then your chances of succeeding are very high, if you just stick with it. But even if you were born with two left feet YOU CAN GET GOOD. You can get VERY good. You just have to keep on training, keep on learning, try to improve your weak areas and build a game around your strengths. Leave the athletic prodigies to their own world. If you've got stick-to-it-ness though, then just as in the tortoise and the hare parable, you could win in the long run! Stephan Kesting www.beginningBJJ.com www.grapplearts.com ------------------ Additional Resource ------------------ What should you work on to make your very fastest progress? www.grapplearts.com/2004/06/working-your-weakest-link.htm --------------------------------------------------------------- Become a fan of the Grapplearts Facebook Page to be notified of updates automatically: Grapplearts.com, 571-4050 Hastings Street, Burnaby, BC V5C 6J4, CANADA Wanna kill these ads? We can help!