Caio Terra is one of the best roosterweight Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes in the world. He is a 12x BJJ black belt world champion who has earned his black belt in… Wait for it… Three years!
But how did he do it? How did he make such outstanding, fast progress?
In an interview for BJJ Eastern Europe, Caio Terra revealed that the “secret” was, essentially, in his approach to learning new techniques and concepts in training:
What happened was that I was always good in school. So, I started taking the approach of „school“, instead of doing what everyone else was doing in practice.
What happens in practice is that, pretty much, the teacher shows the technique, everyone drills and then they train. But, most people can’t remember the technique when they train – or, even if they do remember, they can’t use the techniques perfectly because everyone has a different body type, everybody has a different level of strength… This is why, in order for the technique to work, you can’t just mimic it – you have to understand it.
And in school, you can always see the same thing, you know? I was always good in school, but there were always those other people who could make some good grades at the beginning. But, by the end of the year, they couldn’t repeat those grades – because, in order to repeat that excellence, you need to study during the full year. Not just for, like, the last two months worth of studies.
So, whoever studied for two days before or one day prior to exams, by the end of the year they didn’t memorize anything. I was good because I always tried to study and understand what I studied from the beginning. And when you understand something, not only can you modify and adapt much easier when things get more complicated, but you also remember it for life. That is because you understood it, versus the case if you were just mimicking it.
Terra explained that he wasn’t just drilling the techniques, but rather trying to understand them:
What I started doing was that I started studying Jiu-Jitsu, instead of just drilling it. For, I can’t drill something if I don’t know if it is fully right… If I don’t have the body mechanics down yet.
So, what I started doing was that I started studying the techniques that my instructor was trying to teach. I was having my partners do different movements, and to induce different reactions from them. And from those reactions I would start trying to study and to understand why I should do those techniques.
I would look at the other instructors, at what they would teach, and then I would try to mix things around. I was trying to mix things up and to make the best out of each technique. And I think that my technique aspect evolved a lot faster because of this.
Make sure to read our full interview with Caio Terra on this link.