The General’s Army: Delegation Through Repetition

Our body as our total fighting force, we’d all assume the brain as the general and our body the army. Like any army, it requires training to be effective in combat, from the top general down the ranks. During the instruction portion of class, our ways of learning are to watch the movements, listen to them described, and physically walked through them. It’s putting our brain through officer training, and it’s a great start.

Our general is then normally instructed to pass this on to their respective armies, through the actual drilling of the same movements with our partners. Since our general almost instantly understands the techniques and how it applies to the big picture, it  is now to share it with the troops. and this is where a major hiccup can occur in the passage of information.

Many people, because their general has it “perfected”, will only drill the new movement a couple times, think they mastered it, and sit idly on this “knowledge” while the others drill their armies around them. The problem is, without actual repetition, your army can never know this information.

You see this watching two grapplers drilling with their respective partners. Both think about the movement and can nail it in just a few tries, and can demonstrate it flawlessly to their instructor when he comes around, outstanding.

The first grappler reps it those few times, pauses, talks about last weekend and farts.

The second grappler reps it 20-30 times and breaks a decent sweat.

Again, both grapplers can demonstrate it perfectly to the instructor, but in many cases the first grappler executes it BETTER than the second. This is because their general is still leading the movement with conscious thought.

The second is slightly fumbling during the download to their body, their unconscious, their army. But this allows their army to perform without the generals direct orders, freeing the general to zoom out and focus on other, bigger picture strategy. It allows higher order analysis of the movement as a whole and the principles behind it. This is much more developed and sustainable, allowing for gathering of more info from the top, whether more details on the same particular movement over time or for future movements. Each exposure filtering through again and downloaded, delegated all down to the lowest foot soldier.

When the general is freed to no longer think about each and every detail of each movement, it’s able to add additional details and applications under its own discretion, and over time. A good grappler can imitate and execute movements, a great grappler can train their army to master them subconsciously.

Only through repetition can your army free your thinking general. Drill your army.

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Published by: neutralgroundbjj

Jon Friedland here, finally putting some of my thoughts to type. I've been training the better part of 20 years, receiving my black belt in 2007. I’m a 10-year dojo owner and head instructor of Brazilian Jiujitsu. Started training Jiujitsu casually in early 1995, formally in 1997. Teaching BJJ since 2000, i received my black belt in 2007, opened my academy, Neutral Ground, in 2005, am the head instructor, and am currently a 2nd degree black belt under Master Pedro Sauer.

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