Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Playfulness

Playfulness is the level of mastery where you can do a technique again, and again, and again. You own it.—Roy Harris

One way to look at the progression of Jiu Jitsu from novice to master is to view it as three separate phases:

Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Playfulness

When you start out, your only goal is to get skilled enough to get the tap. Eventually you build a skillset that enables you submit your opponents fairly frequently. Welcome to phase one. You’ve become effective!

But effectiveness is only measuring a result. You got the tap. Effectiveness says nothing about how productive you were at getting it, how much effort was involved, or how much time it took.

Once you are effective, the next step is efficiency, so you focus on the details, sharpen the setups, hone your timing, round the corners, shorten the routes, and look for perfect angles and leverage. Your goal is efficient effectiveness.

Likewise, once you are effective and efficient, the next phase is the highest expression of the art: Playfulness. Your game is so effortless that now you’re just having fun in the way that a virtuoso plays an instrument. Thanks to your mastery, you’re tapping into the pure joy of the art.

That’s what we’re training for.

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