Perfecting the art of practice
It is my belief that every one of us who spends time on the mats understands the need for
drilling and the situational practice of movements. Without drilling, without thoughtful practice we
would spend hours upon hours, perhaps years, muddling our way through this thing we call Jiu
This thinking was one of the building blocks of my relationship with Art and RHEO.
When I first noticed RHEO founder Art Hurtado on the mats it was not during a roll or
It was on a quiet weekday an hour before class.
I was stretching in front of a fan chatting with another of the purple belts in our gym when I
noticed this young (young to me) guy come in and start doing solo drills with a purpose.
Over and over, faster and faster. No chatting, no rest, just work….
Now as a masters grappler with a few hundred thousand miles on my body without drilling and
what I call “lab work” my Jiu Jitsu would be a much less effective system than the one I enjoy
today but for me it has to be done in a very planned and purposeful way.
I saw much of this with Art, although in my opinion at the time he was was working much to hard
and with a pace that was great for cardio but was bound to fail his technique soon than later.
Before long a partner showed up for him and I again watched as they started to drill one of my
favorite passing drills, the knee cut. The level they were performing this drill was impressive as I
would have hard a hard time keeping that pace up for sure. But they did it, over and over, faster
This is when I decided to become the sage old man of the mats and offer my guidance asked
for or not.
I made my way over and said Hi, shook hands and asked if I could watch and chime in a little
when I saw something. They both said “Yes please” and so I said “show me that again”
Art went first and did the cut pass.
I told him to do it slower and show me again. He did.
Again I said to him, SLOWER. And again as asked he did.
I once again said, SLOWER…….Do it as slow as you need to do it perfect.
He did it again so slow it was almost funny. But with the reduced speed, he become hyper
focused on each element and he did it perfectly.
“Good” I said. “Now keep doing it as slow as needed until you can do it as fast as you want and
make no mistakes”
To be continued……...
(written by Mark Sasser)