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The Goldilocks rule

Training conditions just right.

We all know the tale of Goldilocks and how she broke in to the poor bears home and ate all their porridge and slept in their beds.

Her first bowl of porridge was way too hot for her liking. So she tried the second bowl and that’s too cold but the third bowl, that was just right.

Then she heads upstairs and wants a nap after eating all their porridge so she goes and sleeps in their bed.

The first bed is too hard.

The second too soft.

But the third, was just right.

So she lies down and naps and has a great sleep.

The rest of the tale is irrelevant for the meaning I want to pass on today to you.

The hidden messages of greed or selfishness and the need to have children focus on good core values put to one side as I explain how to utilise the Goldilocks rule in your practice.

Whenever we begin to study a topic like martial arts or music we need to be sure we take the utmost care in creating the most ideal environment conducive to our success.

Take BJJ as the example.

As a beginner who has only spent six months to a year training, your partners are key to your progress and choosing the intensity of training is as important as all the other aspects I’ve talked about before. Coaches, facility etc.

If you were to only train with competitive black belts, the porridge would be too hot, and it would likely put you off training.

Maybe defensively, if you could put up with the beatings you would take, you would see large Improvements technically in your escape work but you would never get the opportunity to practice attacking because they’re black belts and likely smashing you too often.

The gap between levels would make it constantly and consistently difficult to provide opportunities to practice any technique in a live scenario.

Take piano practice as another easy example.

If you’ve only spent six months playing the piano, picking up a sheet of music and expecting to read and play moonlight sonata would be an extremely fast way of feeling clueless and helpless and thinking that you would never ever understand the intricacies of the instrument. The feeling of hopelessness would likely prevent you ever reaching anything close to your potential with the instrument.

Same with six months in to the same piano practice, you’re only practicing with one hand still and just one part of a song you don’t even know and there’s going to feel like there’s no challenge.

If We do the same with our BJJ training, we train with total beginners who are neither athletically gifted or technically knowledgeable. Easy for us to submit and cause no threat of us being submitted or have us placed in uncomfortable situations it can become a little boring and obviously stagnating.

With that being said, I have seen many a martial artist fall in to the trap of the ego taking control and keeping them in this position, the one where there is little threat and only comfort.

As this post is just about the Goldilocks rule, I’ll save that for another time but it’s an important point to note.

Don’t be that guy controlled by ego.

But, if we are able to be challenged enough.

Just enough.

That we can read the notes on the paper and start playing slowly with increasing rhythm, pace and timing and including both hands as we make plenty of mistakes and then make corrections and audibly hear the improvements being made and see the progression happening over time we get excited and want more.

When we are sparring our partners and get to practice our techniques our coach has taught to us and they work sometimes and we have live feedback on where and how to improve as we wrestle against those of a similar standard to ourselves then we gain momentum in our practice through constantly having hope that we can achieve our goals of success on each little step we take toward those much smaller goals.

We find the porridge to be ‘just right’

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