• Remus Corbei

Maximize Your Jiu-Jitsu Learning Experience by Knowing Your Intelligence Types

Each individual person and athlete is unique in their intelligences and how their own intelligences compare to one another. Jiu-Jitsu is already a complex and challenging sport to learn, therefore comparing your own evolution to someone else’s will be highly counterproductive. Being aware of your dominant intelligence types will help maximize your Jiu-Jitsu learning experience.

Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard, ​developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences. According to Gardner's Multiple Intelligences theory, each person has a special ability to use his or her intelligence. Also, he indicates that every type of intelligence is dynamic and can be improved.

Let’s take a look at the types of intelligence one by one and see how they can impact your Jiu-Jitsu learning experience.

Linguistic Intelligence - people with this type of intelligence are skilled and have preferences for activities such as reading, talking, telling stories and jokes, writing poems, learning languages and playing word games. It’s dominant feature for Jiu-Jitsu coaches that are able to translate the complexity of the art into simple concepts. Also, it is characteristic for the students who can take instructions easier through words. They often display great verbal communication skills. These students usually will ask for instructions in a descriptive manner such as: “how do you do that?” or “describe to me the arm position.”

Logical-mathematical Intelligence - people with this type of intelligence are good at solving mysteries or brain teasers, doing puzzles, logic exercises, counting or doing calculations, computer problems and playing strategy games. These are students who often will ask “why, or, or what if?” They thrive on abstract ideas and multiple possibilities, theories etc. These students may start asking you the what-if’s of each move. They are often interested in statistics, numbers etc. Handling these types of students can be a challenge to most instructors.

Spatial Intelligence - people with spatial intelligence are good at solving spatial problems such as drawing and painting, reading maps, looking at pictures, solving mazes, or playing construction games. I’ve witnessed some of my students start drawing maps after they study a position or guard.

Musical Intelligence - It is typical of people with the ability to learn different sounds, which translates into a great ability to sing, listen to music, play instruments, compose songs, enjoy concerts and follow different rhythms. You might say that this type of intelligence has nothing to do with Jiu-Jitsu but remember, Jiu-Jitsu is a learning process. One of my students came to me and specifically asked to play his music in the background during our private sessions, because it helps him learn easier and faster and remember better what we practice. On top of that, at the end of each session he’s composing a little song summarizing what he has learned.

Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence - people who show kinesthetic intelligence are good at dancing, acting, imitating gestures or expressions, playing sports, running, moving and jumping. These are the people that movement comes naturally for them, people we tend to say they are talented and they progress very fast in Jiu-Jitsu. These are the people that usually cause envy and are used as comparison points. These are Jiu-Jitsu students that can learn best through repetition. They usually are the ones who remain to do drills on the mats, trying to understand better the technique. These types of learners gain a better understanding by showing them how the technique is done.

Intrapersonal Intelligence - It distinguishes those who know themselves best. These people like to work independently, set goals and focus on achieving them, understand their feelings and know their strengths and weaknesses. It is a dominant intelligence in most individualized sports and we can easily spot it in Jiu-Jitsu experienced athletes when you ask them about the strengths and weaknesses of their game.

Interpersonal Intelligence - As opposed to intrapersonal intelligence, it is common among people that are good at talking, working in teams, helping others, mediating conflicts and meeting new people. It is a dominant type of intelligence especially in team oriented sports. Even if in Jiu-Jitsu you compete alone, you have a team behind that helps you with your training. It’s important to keep in mind that individuals can learn in different ways, so having a better understanding of each individual will help everyone succeed. Team Absoluto Kuwait is very well know for their welcoming, friendly and supportive environment.

At the end of the day, the type of intelligences that you have may play a great factor in how fast you learn Jiu-Jitsu. However, this cannot replace pure effort. When it comes to Jiu-Jitsu skills, the old quote still holds true – “Practice makes perfect” – because every type of intelligence is dynamic and can be improved.

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