Empty your cup

I think that everybody who has trained Jiu Jitsu at some point believed that they had it figured out, usually this happens around blue belt. But as with almost anything, the deeper you get into things, the more you find out that you actually know very little. When you know very little, you have no idea, how much you don’t know.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect:

In 2011, David Dunning wrote about his observations that people with substantial, measurable deficits in their knowledge or expertise lack the ability to recognize those deficits and, therefore, despite potentially making error after error, tend to think they are performing competently when they are not: “In short, those who are incompetent, for lack of a better term, should have little insight into their incompetence—an assertion that has come to be known as the Dunning–Kruger effect”

The psychological phenomenon of illusory superiority was identified as a form of cognitive bias in Kruger and Dunning’s 1999 study, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments”. The identification derived from the cognitive bias evident in the criminal case of McArthur Wheeler, who robbed banks while his face was covered with lemon juice, which he believed would make it invisible to the surveillance cameras. This belief was based on his misunderstanding of the chemical properties of lemon juice as an invisible ink.


But don’t worry there is a cure for this problem.

Always keep learning! Never stop!

After 11 years as a black belt, I feel like I know very little about Jiu Jitsu. This only makes me more interested in learning more about this crazy thing that I have dedicated my life to, and made my living. I will never master Jiu Jitsu, but that is what makes it interesting, and why I will hopefully be able to train for the rest of my life.

Accept that you don’t have all the answers. This way you will have an open mind, so that so that you’re ready to learn something new.

As a teacher I often see students that already have a their own ideas of the things that are taught in class and stop paying attention, because they already think that they know the stuff. Change that mindset and you will see that details that you have not seen before, unless that you are satisfied with where you are.

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