We had a training session last night, and I felt really good during sparring.
I was really calm and focused and relaxed. It reminded me that I am at my best when I’m in that space. Since then I’ve been thinking about what it may have been that helped me get into that space last night. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
I didn’t care- When I don’t seem to care I find it quite easy to stay relaxed and calm. I just don’t care about winning or losing. I don’t care about getting a tap, or getting tapped out. I just relax and roll. If I don’t care about the win I won’t hold on to a lost position or submission. I let go and move on. If I don’t care about losing I won’t try to muscle through to keep a botched guard. I simply allow the pass and set myself up for the escape. If I don’t care I anticipate. When I do care I hold on tight until it’s too late.
I accept that others are better– This one might sound funny, and if taken the wrong way can actually be a defeatest attitude so don’t get me wrong. I never go into a roll assuming that I’m going to lose. I never go in thinking that there’s no way for me to win. What I do is go in with the assumption that my opponent is better than me. That changes my style to a more relaxed focus. If I beileve that they are better I focus a lot more on defending myself. When I focus on defending myself I find that I play more of a countering game rather than an all out aggressive, attacking game. I absorb, deflect, and counter. Because I’m thinking about staying safe I find that people will open themselves up in order to penetrate. I simply wait for those openeings and counter.
If I think I’m better I go into what I’ve come to call ‘lost position denial’. If someone grabs a leg I fight and fight and fight because I’m better. They shouldn’t be able to get a leg. If someone passes my guard I fight and fight and fight. They shouldn’t be able to pass my guard. If I believe that I’m better I can’t let them beat me. But, if I believe that they’re better I have to be smart in order to beat them. So, I simply apply that attitude to everyone. When I roll smarter, I roll better.
I roll like I’m tired- When I’m tired I have to rely 100% on technique. I have to stay relaxed. I have to be fluid and smooth, and quick, and smart. So, if I come to training already tired, and I keep my don’t care and they’re better attitudes my fatigue becomes an ally rather than an enemy. If I come rolling like I’m already tired then I can reserve my energy for when I really need it, like when I get caught in a submission or am applying one that needs a bit of burst.
When I come with those three attitudes I find that I roll much, much better. It’s all about finding the attitudes that trigger the desired outcomes. My desired outcomes are always around relaxation, calm, focus, and technique. Not caring about winning or losing, being in a defensive mindset, and being tired are the attitudes that trigger those outcomes.