Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Work Your Weakness

How do you improve your BJJ/grappling? Practice, practice, practice. Okay...but it's not just practice, it's also WHAT you practice. So, in trying to improve your game, take an objective look at your jiujitsu and try to identify what the weakest part of your game is. A really good way to identify this is competition. Competing with a stranger who doesn't know anything about what you do will highlight your weak points. So, now your goal is to improve this area. Maybe it's sweeping, maybe opening the closed guard, maybe getting out of being side controlled...whatever it is...now your goal is to work on this as often as possible in training. When you are rolling, especially with someone of a lower belt and/or lower skill level, let yourself get into your worst position. You don't need to tell your partner what you are doing. Now practice using your techniques from that position. Ask different people you roll with, especially higher level guys, what they do in that position. You are working to improve that part of your game. Keep working on it...maybe you make it a goal to work on sweeping for the next two months. Now, you won't be doing it all the time because there are always going to be times where you don't have control over the positions you get. Just keep on working on your weakest position and then you will eventually notice that you have an even weaker position...you have now built up the weakest part of your game so that it is no longer the weakest part of your game! And now you have a new weakest part of your game! Congratulations!!! Some people are reluctant to put themselves in vulnerable or weak positions. Okay, this is TRAINING. How will the weak parts of your game improve if you don't practice them and make them stronger? It can be scary putting yourself in these weak positions because you take a greater risk of "losing" or getting tapped. This is TRAINING.
So, after you have done this, take a good look at your game and identify your new weak area. Work on your new weak area for the next couple of months. Continue training and repeating this process and watch your game improve.


Jimmy said...

It's all about the W. Screw losing in training.

2Old said...

As a beginner, I get put in bad positions routinely without any volunteering on my part, so no problem getting a lot of experience trying to fight my way out of trouble.

More recently, as a result of your advice, I have been rolling more relaxed, and have been willing to "give up" the occasional good position (side mount, for example) I pull instead of stalling out there - I'll try to move into another position even though it exposes me to a sweep, or loosen my isometric death grip even thought I'll probably get swept and not end up looking like a "winner" (this winning thing is great, except having a single-minded focus on the obvious path to a "win" seems to make you a "loser" in the long run).

"Winning" is now far less important to me during rolling than being in multiple positions and feeling how bodies move and tumble.

I kind of wish my practice partners would leave me a small window of opportunity to practice my escapes when I'm in an inferior position, play with opening and closing windows of opportunities, but they don't - they have a "death grip" on the concept of winning. Smart practice partners who truly "play" with you are rare. But I also try to take the "win at all cost" players in stride (sort of!) and when I can escape or reverse off a Death Star opponent there is some satisfaction in that too - particularly if I don't have to strain so hard my guts are about to spew out my butt to do it.

In the meantime I'm fortunate enough to take private lessons from you and other instructors who give me openings, but then make things progressively more difficult or close one opening but give me another, so I'm not completely shut down and can begin to progress.

Jimmy said...

I was your training partner on Sunday. Please note, 99% of my posts here are sarcasm towards Felicia. :) I like to think I'm funny, everyone else probably thinks I'm not at all.

2Old said...

Sort of an Asian Jack Black? Without the band?

Thanks for the training!

Anonymous said...

Jimmy -
I just thought you were a malcontent. :-)

Valerie said...

Poor Jimmy thinking he's funny. Should we tell him?