A number of years ago, I joined a Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu dojo. I trained there for 2 1/2 years. The good experiences I had there changed many of my philosophies on dog training.
One of the main changes was how I viewed what I do and how I do it, and how I view my students.
In the BJJ dojo, they taught a great deal of patience, diligence, basic skills, and respect for others. The interesting thing is that BJJ isn’t typically associated with the types of formal meditation practices of the Eastern martial arts. Yet, I think that comes over time if a school is run properly.
Thus, today, my mindset is much that of how that school was operated. I made good friends, learned great skills, and learned to thank others for revealing my failures. Every time I “tapped out”, because my friend got me in some kind of joint lock, I thanked him… because he showed me what I needed to work on. A failure always resulted in thanks. Not failure, but a direction towards success.
When I train students, my observations are to help them learn proper skills in a controlled environment so that they can then respond, instead of react, when it is a real life situation. To the best of my knowledge, since I started professionally training in 1997, not one of my students or their dogs have ever been hurt in the real world as a result of a failure of the training they received from me.
That is one of the satisfactions I receive from working with each individual student and dog. It isn’t just a bunch of silly tricks, it is life skills that they most likely will use sometime in their lives.