Everyone who’s become great at something has spent a lot of time honing their craft. They’ve experienced quite a bit of trial and error in the process of becoming remarkable in their field; and perhaps no one has done it as much in the field of Jiu-Jitsu as John Danaher has.
As perhaps the best BJJ coach in the world, Danaher is known to have been investing 12-14 hours on the mats every day when he first became a coach. But why did he do it… And what did he do during those long stretches of time?
In an interview for BJJ Eastern Europe, John Danaher talked about the subject:
I was known for spending large amounts of time on the mats. I taught two to three big group classes per day and was booked every hour between them for private classes. And I liked this because I was a very late starter in Jiu-Jitsu – starting at twenty eight years old – so I felt that I needed to accrue many hours of mat time quickly, to match the hours people who started much earlier in life had already amassed.
Much of it was simply teaching people how to perform better in Jiu-Jitsu, but because Jiu-Jitsu is a very hands on sport and I personally drilled and sparred with everyone of my clients every time I taught, I got countless opportunities to identify problems in my game and the game in general, and would always try to improve the solutions I had been taught.
He emphasized the importance he placed on the process of trial and error:
The central feature of my method over the years has always been a TRIAL AND ERROR method, where every day presented numerous opportunities to try new theories and concepts and test the results.
At the end of every day (I worked as a nightclub bouncer in the evenings) I would reflect upon the main themes/lessons I had learned and begin the process again the next day.
Make sure to read the rest of BJJEE’s conversation with John Danaher on this link.