Finding Your Fist in Jiu Jitsu

While on vacation I started to read the book Blink, about the adaptive unconscious and basically what every jiu jitsu person works on mastering: the ability to think and make decisions without bringing the conscious mind and reasoning into play, “Mushin No Shin” as one of our old judo coaches use to say- “mind no mind”.


I’m barely through the first chapter, but the author touches on an interesting concept: apparently in Morse Code there is something known as a “fist”- a voice or particular style to each operator’s execution of code. Of course the first thing I thought of was…. jiu jitsu! (surprise, surprise)

As you go along, you will begin to find your fist, or style to jiu jitsu. Of course when you first learn a technique your coach/instructor will want you to mimic the movement as they have taught it: they want to make sure you are hitting all of the key points in the technique, and to ensure that is happening they are going to insist that you do things in a particular manner and sequence. And you absolutely should- go and create that strong foundation and groundwork for your jiu jitsu. After some time however you will find that you prefer to do things one way rather than another. When given the option to put a foot or hand in place A or place B, you’ll choose place A every time. Or say you’re in a certain position, you’ll pick always pick a certain action and way of doing those things, creating your own style or approach to rolling.

And that’s great! It means that you are really making the sport your own, that you are learning the techniques and approaching them from your own unique perspective. As long as you are hitting the key points in a technique, the world is your oyster and you can perform those moves in a way that works best for your body and brain.

This will take some time and will come naturally, so no need to panic or feel a sense of anxiety of yet something else to learn: at white belt you’re basically a blank slate, and as time goes on through blue you start to get a feel for what you like and don’t like, what feels a little more natural to you, and then from purple belt basically until the day you can’t do jiu jitsu anymore it’s refining those techniques and applying them in your own voice.

So, go out there and keep training, keep learning, and find your own fist in jiu jitsu…just don’t use your actual fists. That’s kind of a no-no in most situations.

Have a great day everyone!

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