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Jiujitsu Seminars with Soneca and Gordo

“In the war of egos, the winner is the biggest loser.”
— The Bhagavad Gita

By putting yourself in potentially overwhelming situations time and again, you can move closer and closer to perfection. In this regard, true jiujitsu practitioners are similar to genuine religious and spiritual types. Like the spiritual mystic, the jiujitsu practitioner, or jiujiteiro seeks to purge himself of the bad habits, modes of thought, and insecurities created in him by his own ego.

Just as in a spiritual quest, the jiujitsu quest can be expedited or enhanced by learned men and women of the field. As in the search for true knowledge and understanding, jiujitsu technique is not developed by a lone person. Rather, every technique is hypothesized, then rigorously and constantly tested by an entire community. Different perspectives are taken in as parts of a whole, and eventually lead to truth.

jiujitsu legends Gordo and Soneca stand with Amal Easton

Jiujitsu Seminars with Soneca and Gordo

Last weekend I had an opportunity to learn jiujitsu technique from pillars of the community. Helio “Soneca” Moreira and Roberto “Gordo” Cortez de Lima were in Colorado to teach BJJ seminars at Easton. Both are decorated BJJ competitors, coaches, and ambassadors. They put Professor Amal Easton under their wing during his time in Rio, years ago, and were a huge part of his development. From these experts in their field, Professor Amal gained invaluable tutelage and friendship. I received the same treatment during the seminars. What struck me about their instruction was the fact that though I had already seen many of the techniques before. But the insights felt fresh. What made their instruction great was their attention to certain details, their reasoning behind these details, and the ways in which they communicated these details.

From a technical standpoint, the sequences we learned were simple. But in their simplicity, they were brutally effective, and covered a lot of ground in terms of grappling positions. The instruction was also very conceptual, especially in Professor Gordo’s seminar. At first, we just took a look at a collar choke, then a basic pass. Then we learned how we could achieve the choke from a number of different positions. In Professor Soneca’s seminar, we took a look at a variety of submissions and sweeps from half guard.

The Takeaway

At the end of the seminars, I felt a bit overwhelmed with information. But I was also excited to be armed with new techniques and concepts. It boggled my mind that even though much of what we learned was familiar, I could now think about these things in a different, deeper way. It occurred to me, what would I take away from these seminars if I attended them a second time, years from now? Would it be like reading the same book during different phases of your life? Would I derive different meaning from the same experience?

Even when we’re lucky enough to have such high-quality instruction, it ultimately falls on the jujitsu student to receive the information and apply it in his or her training. It’s up to the jiujitero to approach training with technicality in mind. By detaching oneself from the ego, revisiting and analysis of personal failures become much easier. This allows the jiujiteiro to train with an open mind and perceive things not in relation to the ego but as they truly are.

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