I keep the white-belt mentality that I can learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime
– Georges St-Pierre
There is an important principle in training known as white-belt mentality. The white belt is the lowest rank for martial artists and represents a time where someone is among the least knowledgeable martial artists in the room. A white belt is essentially a novice. Being the least experienced or least knowledgeable person in the room is a humbling experience, and those looking to improve past that point will likely seek knowledge from everybody. A major part of being a white belt includes the fact that everybody has knowledge and experience to offer. However, along the line, people tend to lose that mentality. As someone gets better at something, it can be easier to allow his or her pride to keep him or her from seeking other people’s advice.
Two of the headlining match ups from this past weekend’s Final X event in Lincoln, Nebraska involved Daton Fix and Jordan Burroughs. In a video posted by Flo wrestling, Jordan Burroughs was getting Daton Fix to show him how Fix hits his trap arm gut wrench. Burroughs is a four-time world champion along with being an Olympic gold medalist. If anyone would have the kind of resume to avoid the counsel of other wrestlers, it would be Jordan Burroughs. But, part of what allows him to constantly improve despite an immense amount of success is his willingness to surround himself with talented wrestlers, like Daton Fix, that are able to teach him new techniques.
The important thing to note about the white-belt mentality is that the mentality is not conditional to your level of experience. The mentality should remain the same despite your degree of knowledge. Everyone has a unique approach to things as well as unique experiences that allows them to have a unique body of knowledge that they can share with others. The fact is, if you aren’t learning new things, you’re going to remain stagnant. If you are only seeking knowledge from a select group of people, then you are severely limiting the amount of knowledge that you can gain. Approach your craft with the mentality of someone with a white-belt. Everybody has something they can teach you!