You Know a Thousand Moves and You Suck at Every One of Them

Old Carlson Gracie Team Gi Patch: "This is not Disneyland"
"You know a thousand moves and you suck at every one of them" is an old quote from Carlson Gracie Sr. Most people read this quote, get a nice laugh and move on. Most  Brasilian jiu jitsu guys understand this quote in the context of jiu jitsu. If you ask a random BJJ player what Carlson was getting at, he will likely tell you: "Some guys spend all their time trying to figure out the newest craziest move, but anybody with a few solid moves will kick their ass." The random BJJ player is correct, but there are many places that this sentiment is useful.

In trite academic terms, Carlson's quote is about depth vs breadth. Carlson is clearly a proponent of depth of knowledge. I am also a proponent of depth of knowledge in both teaching students economics and in practicing BJJ. The most soul-sucking thing I have heard other professors say is: "I'd really love to do this exciting stuff, but it takes so much time and I have to cover a lot of material." So, the professor is going to be in class wishing he/she was doing something else, the students are going to sense the lack of passion and mirror it, no one is going to be happy, but man, a lot of material is going to get "covered." Wouldn't it be a lot better to get students really interested in the subject so they want to learn more?

Robert Frank had a lot to say about this at Google. The entire talk is good, but 3:00 to 8:00 is the part I hope you will watch (even if you are a non economist)

My next blog post will be more about depth and attempting to attain mastery. My view is very similar to a van Gogh quote:
“If one is the master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time insight into and understanding of many things.”  -Van Gogh

By the way, Carlson would never have told me. "You know a thousand moves and you suck at every one of them" I don't know a thousand moves, I just suck. If you are curious, there is one move I dont suck that bad with. Here is a vid of Jeff Glover wrecking fools with my favorite move.....The Darce Choke (video starts getting good at 1:05).