One of the most important concepts in becoming a successful martial artist (regardless of how you define “success”) is that of ownership.
We could spend hours talking about all the different ways ownership is important: owning your excuses, owning your responsibilities, owning your emotional state, etc.
All of these could even be the subject of best selling self help books, and many already are.
But today I want to discuss ownership of study.
See, when I started training in 2004, YouTube did not exist. There were some VHS series for MMA and Jiu Jitsu, but if you really wanted to learn a specific technique you had to seek out the person who knew it.
And when you did, you were lucky if that person was actually any good at it.
As such, information was scarce, and it was closely guarded.
Fast forward to 2022, and the entire collective knowledge of BJJ is available for free on the internet. You have a direct line to the greatest practitioners of all time. If you have a question, you can literally look it up on the supercomputer in your pocket and get an immediate answer. In fact, entire systems of skills are available, so you can not only learn the specific techniques, but also the schema upon which they interact with each other.
Taking ownership of your study is necessary to reach any advanced state of performance. You can, and should, be studying martial arts for a few minutes each day. While a structured curriculum at the gym can broadcast important techniques, reinforce fundamentals, and forge discipline in you, it cannot speak specifically to all of your needs. Nor can it compete with the collective knowledge of the entire universe.
And this goes for striking arts as well. While the breadth of techniques is much narrower than grappling, it is just as deep (if not deeper). There is an incredible amount of brilliance archived in fight footage, fighter interviews, and so on.
Because remember — we are studying martial arts. It is the expression of the individual through combat. Your style is unique to you. Nobody can give it to you, and nobody can take it away from you. So take ownership of it and make it the best it can be!