Rolling with Others and how I think about it later

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Last night I had the privilege of joining a different school for a night of training. I am from Wellington, but am in Whangarei for a week. There is a club up here, so I decided to bring my Gi and have a roll.

This reminded me of something that, I believe, should be foundational to everyone’s BJJ life:

Whenever you have the opportunity, train with new people.

After 2 years at the same place you tend to have a pretty good understanding of everyone’s game. You naturally learn counters, and counters to counters. You discover strategies that work against different opponents. You know what positions to stay away from and what positions you can enter freely without consequence.

When you head off to another school, and hop on the mats with people you’ve never met before, you have to go through the entire discovery process again.

For example, from last night I’ve figured out the following:

– Against opponent A I cannot let him get to the top position. If I do, I won’t get out and will likely get submitted. I also have to be posture-focused while in his guard because he likes to attack from there. I also have to play a sitting hooks guard against him rather than a laying hooks guard (so I’d be attacking with my arms rather than my legs). This is because he sprawls on the hooks which exposes my legs.

These things mean that when I roll against opponent A, I have to look for underhook sweeps and drags from the guard. I have to use an early escape plan.

Since I spent the entire spar on the bottom I don’t yet know what works when on top. So, if we rolled again I would look to test that out.  My hypothesis is that he would have quite a physical bottom game where he looks to break posture. So, I would try to play a busy top game looking for underhooks and collars along the way.

– Against opponent B I cannot allow him to gain side control, because it takes more effort to get out of side control than it does to not allow it in the first place. I was defended while there, but he stayed busy, and kept attacking. Again, I didn’t have a chance to test the top. He also sprawls well on the hooks.

Similar to opponent A (probably because they train together) I would have to play seated looking for underhooks and drags. I would look to just play top and stay busy. I would defend sweeps, so as not to give up position.

– Against opponent C I can play a bit more, but need to be willing to work my way out of things. He defeats lazy-jitsu. He plays a very tight, grabbing game. Top would just be slow and steady, working towards better positioning. He is a north-north top player (someone that just keeps pressing forward) so a laying hooks guard is fine.

I would look to play more east-west in the guard and attack a lot with the legs, with drags and scissors sweep thrown in. My top game would be all about dominating staying clear of arms (so that I don’t just get stuck and have to waste energy working out), and using knee-rides and transitions. Since he likes to grab I would look for arms and opportunities to transition into submissions, rather than trying to work towards submissions.

– Against opponent D I can play a lot more. This opponent rolls, and scoots and flows. Grips, foot placement, blocking with shins and simply countering slight movements is the game are all important. This opponent doesn’t hold position, they advance while looking for spaces to attack. I get to play a lot, and give up position, and try different things, but I have to always be on because submissions could come from anything. There are no resting (mentally)positions against these kinds of opponents.

I would look to play even more against this type of opponent. Why? Because it’s fun.

The best reason to roll with others is that is tells you, very clearly what’s missing in your foundational game. I get to ask the question, “What, when I roll against someone I’ve never met, is a hole in my game?” I can now take these things away and create new triggers for my techniques. I can broaden my game just enough to fit the new things in without making it too big.

This is a great practice that every practitioner should do as often as possible.

Thank you to the folks I rolled with last night. Thank you for helping me grow my game. See you next time!

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Fun-Jitsu

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog.

I’ve been studying this year as a full-time student. Between that and family I stay quite busy.

I’ve still been able to train at least once or twice a week at the club, and usually once or twice with a training partner at the campus. So, my Jiu-Jitsu hasn’t suffered much physically. If it’s suffered it’s been in the mental game. However, I will say that it has become a bit of a blessing for me as a creative outlet.

The course I’m doing doesn’t allow for a whole lot of creative outlet. We do what we’re told to do when we’re told to do it. Everything we do has to match some kind of criteria or structure. There’s always some limit, or rule, or thing that has to be done to please a teacher. So, creativity is limited.

I love expressing myself creatively, so the fact that my creativity is limited could easily drive me crazy.

My Jiu-Jitsu has become my main creative outlet. So I’ve fully embraced what I’ve come to call ‘Fun-Jitsu’.

Not that all Jiu-Jitsu isn’t fun, don’t get me wrong. It’s more been about the attitude I’ve carried this year. I haven’t been as serious and focussed on my progression as I had been. I’ve been a lot more focussed on just getting out, and enjoying the game. Having a good roll, seeing what new techniques I can try, and maybe pulling out some crazy escape are things that I’m taking into every session.

It has been fantastic.

It’s also been interesting to analyse.

I’ve found that, since I spent a year drilling and using the basics I have quite a firm foundation to fall back on. They have, more than ever, become my basic game and they come out naturally when I roll. I automatically fall into my scissors sweep, arm-bar from mount, cross collar choke, guillotine, over-under pass kind of game. But, I’ve also been able to add some surprises in.

Omoplatas have become a major part of my game now. The Rubber Guard is showing up. The X-Guard is becoming a bit of a go-to. Spider Guard is even starting to creep in. I’m experimenting right now with the rolling back-takes from top half-guard and side control.

In the minimal analysis that I’m doing I’m finding that I’m actually getting a lot more taps than I had been. I’m also tapping less… interesting. It’s a bit harder to measure my progression, but I do feel more relaxed, more fluid, more patient, and more consistent with many of the basics.

Most importantly, I’m just having fun.

Aggressive Defence

I’ve been analysing my Jiu-Jitsu game lately (as I always am) and came to a realisation that I already knew (but was nice to remind myself of anyway). I remembered that my best attacks come from aggressive defence.

I grew up in the USA. I played Baseball when I was little and hated batting. I loved to field. I love the defensive part of the game. However, I was always very aggressive in defence. That translated into my batting as well. I was very concerned about not getting out. When I wasn’t focussed I would just close my eyes and swing away like there was no tomorrow. When I did that, I got out.

When I played Football (the American kind) I always preferred to be on defence. On offence I loved to block more than anything else.

When I played soccer I was usually in the midfield and I was always playing defensively.

When I played ice hockey I was always defensive minded.

Playing  rugby, I prefer to defend.

Playing cricket I prefer fielding to batting.

Now, in Jiu-Jitsu I am at my best when I play defence.

I am naturally defensive.

In BJJ this has some interesting translations.

I am working with a friend, doing some one-on-one sessions. I’m introducing him to the game and am already finding that I’m explaining to him a very defensive game. However, that’s not to say that I never attack. I’m attacking all the time.

One of the amazing things about BJJ is that you can become a very aggressive defender. For example, when I get caught in mount I am very aggressive in my escape plan. I fire them off quickly until one pays off. That’s not to say that I thrash around, growl, and throw my arms out. I’m defensive about my escapes, but I’m aggressive none-the-less.

Elbow escape, upa, snag & drag, back to elbow, snag & drag, elbow, upa… attack, attack, attack. I’m not giving away hooks. I’m not leaving my neck open. I’m not giving up my back. But I’m definitely letting them get comfortable. I’m firing off escape after escape after escape.

It’s the same in side control. Underhook, bridge up, hip out, turn in, underhook again, turn in more, move aggressively with their transitions.

Knee-ride? I bridge hard and quick.

Back control? I scoop down or scoot up quickly. I look to escape well before they have even established.

If they move an inch I try to take 4 and a half miles.

I’m very aggressive in my defence. In fact, I’m attacking.

If my opponent is having to defend against an escape, they can’t submit me.

Next time, I’ll talk about all the submissions that I use off opponent’s escapes. Reason is, because that’s another part of aggressive defence.

Man, this is a fun game.

New Years Resolution

It’s almost February but for me, it’s the start of the year.

In my work, January is a bit of a write off. There’s always the final bits of Christmas and New Years holidays. This year I got back to work just in time to head away for an 8 day camp where I was teaching. No time for BJJ. I got back from camp and spent the next week packing with my family so that we could move a week later. Then, we moved. After all that I really needed a week of recovery. So, it’s now the 29th of January, and I’m just now ready to get back into BJJ.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions. However, I am a fan of resolutions in general. So, I’m going to make some for BJJ.

I’m a 3 stripe white belt and have 12 months of BJJ under my belt. Now, I feel like it’s time to really focus my training.

2012 BJJ Goals

#1-  Drill every day. This is my number 1 goal because I think it might be the most important. I started drilling a bit at the end of 2011 with a few others and found it to be fantastic for my game. Great fitness, great for getting techniques deep into you, great for simplifying your game (because you can only drill so many techniques, therefore you can only have so many techniques in your arsenal), and great for keeping that BJJ rhythm.

I plan to do this by grabbing the mats my coach is so graciously letting me borrow, finding some space, and planning an hour of drilling into my schedule.

#2 – Stretch for 30 minutes every day. This is my number 2 goal because flexibility is an amazing thing to have in BJJ. It’s also just great for the body.

#3- Take my nutrition very seriously. This is number 3 only because 1 and 2 were already taken. However, I see this as just as important as the previous ones.

My plan is to adjust my diet is simple. Less sugar and salt. More fresh, raw foods. More water. Easy, and vital to being able to perform.

#4- Create a solid gameplan. I want to think a lot more about my gameplan this year. There are so many hours of mat time I killed last year ‘just rolling’. Just rolling is fine, but there’s so much more to gain if the rolling has focus and direction. I’ll do this through a process.

Focus on a specific part of my gameplan during sparring.

Analyse the outcomes.

Adjust the gameplan.

I’ll be keeping track of my drills through a drill sheet. I’ll be checking off the days that I spend 30 minutes stretching. I’ll be keeping a log of what I eat and drink. And, I’ll be mapping out my gameplan and keeping a sparring journal.

Bring on 2012!

Decemberitis

Every December I get into a bit of a funk.

I have spent 2011 is learning mode.

I took up a new job that required adjustments. Those adjustments required learning, not just of material, but of people and systems and other ‘ways’.

I spent the year traveling and speaking at all sorts of places. Churches, conferences, seminars, and study groups. That required that I spend a year learning new things so that I didn’t just attempt to share the same material everywhere I went. Sometimes, I would share the same material as I did previously, which was a learing process because I had to take a view of improvement instead of simple duplication. I learned how to plan series of presentations, how to speak to vastly different audiences, and how to revisit with groups.

I also picked up Jiu-Jitsu. I fell into a massive universe of techniques and positions. It’s got a human chess element to it. I learned protection and survival. I learned reversals and attacks. I learned drilling disciplines and mental practices.

I have spent 2011 in leaning mode.

However, every December sees me get a case of Decemberitis.

I get to a point where I just can’t be bothered learning anything new. My brain goes into hibernation.

My work turns into autopilot as much as I can make it.

My traveling and speaking stopped in November (because I knew I wouldn’t be very productive in December).

My Jiu-Jitsu is a bit of a different story though. Mostly because I can’t understand how you can go into a training session without learning something. I don’t understand how you can spar without learning something new.

I know how it happens. I know those nights where guys come to the gym and munt their way through the sparring sessions. They grab submissions as hard as they can and growl until they get a tap. They panic when they get into a bad position which usually leads to them being let go of because the other guy doesn’t feel like munting. They don’t use technique to control, they use pain and heavy breathing and an unshaven face and the little metal band they left on thier arm. They grab collars and try to rip it off. They get to side control and hold as tight as possible until they can get their forearm into your neck or get their knee on your belly in order to pull up on your leg and shoulder in an attempt to push the knee through said belly.

That’s all ‘legit’ Jiu-Jitsu. I know how it happens. But, I don’t understand it. You see, when I get in that mode I don’t learn anything. When people do that stuff to me, I know they don’t learn anything. How do I know? Well, because it doesn’t work but they still try it next time without any adjustments. That simple concept says a lot about someone’s willingness to learn.

Please note that I said, ‘willingness’ and not ‘ability’. There’s a huge difference in those two words.

So, come December and the onset of Decemberitis I learned that going into Jiu-Jitsu with the ‘I can’t be bothered learning anything this entire month’ attitude doesn’t actually last long. I think I ended up learning more last night than I usually do. The reason has a lot to do with what’s stated in this blog. When I can’t be bothered I tend to be a lot more clear in thought. When I’m clear in thought I roll a lot better. When I’m rolling better it’s because I’m using more brain and less hairy face/munter elbow/growl growl jiu-jitsu and more technique based combat.

As John Will via Glen Tarrant says, it’s Jiu-Jitsu (the soft art) vs Go-Jitsu (the munter art).

In my annual month of not wanting to learn anything new I have come across two news lesson.

#1-  Experience will always teach but only if you’re willing to learn.

#2- If you’re not willing to learn your bound to end up as a munter… no one wants to be one of those.

#3- If you spend so long in munter mode (not learning) you’ll get well left behind because you’re not growing, you’re just munting.

#4- Don’t state how many lessons you’ve learning until you’re done making the list…

Happy December everyone!

Personality

Understanding yourself is a key to understanding your game as a jiu jitsu practitioner. It’s one of the greatest things about the art. It’s just as alive as you are. It reflects it’s user. It adapts to who you really are.

With all the teaching out there today it can become more an more difficult to know what your natural style might be. There are a lot of people learning someone else’s game. We watch the latest world champ, get his DVD, and model our game cometely on him. The problem with this is that it doesn’t always reflect your personality.

Our entire society refelcts this. More and more rules are being applied to expressions of art. Other people’s rules. Rules are okay. They usually come from an established truth. But, when truth is used to hinder the discovery and expression of further truth… well, we just start to become bored and struggle with our chosen art. The struggle is that we’re not expressing who we really are through it. At that point, it’s no longer art.

It’s copy and paste.

So, here’s a practice to try out:
Go into sparring without any kind of gameplan. Don’t hold on to submissions. When you see one, grab it, lock it, then let it go. Don’t hold a position without activity, but don’t just abandon them lightly either. As much as you can, follow your instincts. Don’t stop to think. Just roll. Let go of all thought. Just roll. If you get caught, tap. You’re not aiming to win here. Just roll. You’re aiming to get a feel for your natural game.

When the session is over, go back and think about what felt right and what felt forced. What felt natural and what didn’t. What felt like instinct and what felt like programme.

I have done this over the last year in jiu jitsu. I have also done this over the last 20 years playing sports and video games. I have discovered my natural game.

Tight and patient.

I think defensively. I protect first. I naturally limit options for the opponent, and anticipate action. When I see what I’m looking for I test it. If it’s good I’ll take it. If it’s not I’ll toss it back. I wait until the right moment instead of forcing.

My natural game is to slowly back my opponent into a corner taking an inch at a time until I’m ready to cover that last metre.

Because of all that, my natural game also involves a lot of movement. In BJJ I’m constantly adjusting to the reactions of my opponent. They move an arm, I move a leg. They lean forward, I shift to the side. They sit up to attack, I hip out.

The vast majority of my taps have come from counters because the opponent didn’t have any other options but to play into what I’d set up. Or, slow and patient work from a dominant position.

It’s important for me to note here that I haven’t played my natural game for some weeks now.

I’ve felt off. I’ve been in a jiu-jitsu funk. The reason for the funk has been that I haven’t been playing my natural game. I’ve been trying to play someone else’s. That’s lead to me ending up stuck underneath most of my opponents, not holding top when I do get there, and trying to force things (which usually starts the cycle of underneath and loss of position all over again).

So, I’m going to find my calm, do a bit of clear minded analytical thinking, and get back to my natural expression of art instead of attempting to copy and paste someone else’s personality.

Out Before It’s Too Late

Escapes are harder the longer you hold on to whatever it is that lost you control in the first place.

Last night I was an armdrag machine. Not one of those really good machines that does its job. I was one of those machines that’s meant to do one thing and only did it once out of 100 attempts. I was playing a seated guard while sparring. My gameplan in the seated guard is this:

Sweeps- Armdrag, Hooks Sweep, Hook lift to Back

Submissions- Guillotine, Omoplata

My aim last night was to armdrag to the back. So, here’s what would happen.

I would get a hold of a same side wrist. I would jump up to get a hold of the arm. I would drag back down. I wouldn’t get out to the side. I would allow them to grab my leg and keep me underneath. I would keep dragging them as if it might work the second or third time. I would get my guard passed. I would get stuck underneath in a well established side control. I would have to work my way out of a deep, weighted control.

Lessons I took away.

Stop insisting on moves. I should be shooting for a technique and letting go if it’s not there. By shooting for the armdrag and missing, and still holding on like they might forget what was going on and stop defending the move that they are in the process of defending, I am giving them everything they need to pass. If I miss I need to be willing to reset.

Bail out. The second one is the half a step deeper than the previous one. Bailing on lost moves saves lives. It really does.

Escape early. I should be looking to escapes well before they ever get into side control. The problem last night was that I was still trying to armdrag as they came around, got a crossface, and underhooked an arm.

So, to help me get back into a good mindset I’ve decided to watch more Marcelo Garcia videos.

 

This is Marcelo. I watch for his grip fighting, submission set-ups, and early escapes. This is a great video that shows how simple his game is. It shows how good he is at bailing on a lost technique and, most importantly, not letting a bigger fighter establish a dangerous control.

Enjoy.

Natural Consequences

Another year gone by. Another year where I’ve successfully repeated my cycle of trying to get into shape, eat right, and be more productive.

Granted, every year get’s a little bit better. Every year I sleep a little less, eat a little better, work out a little bit more, and form other slightly better habits. I feel like I need to give myself a little pat on the back, especially considering that this year is probably the most flexible my shoulders have been in my young adult life… I can now actually pat myself on the back.

But, I’m still not where I want to be. I want to eat better. I want to be more fit. I also can now add ‘- Better BJJ technique’ to the list.

So, the battle against myself will continue into 2012. However, I feel like I’ve come to a bit of a landmark.

A few days ago I had my Gi with me in town. There was a seminar on that evening so I brought the thing in and was just going to stay in town. I was aware that there was a group that had a lunchtime roll during the week. I thought, while I had my Gi, I would head down for a bit of a workout.

I got there and was told that changed it from just an open mat sparring session into a drilling session. So, we did an hour of drills. For me, that was a good solid workout. I got back to the office and couldn’t bring myself to eat the big pasta lunch that I’d brought in. I grabbed a light sandwich from the bakery down the street. It was perfect.

That evening we had the seminar.

The next evening, on my usual night at home while my wife is at Pilates, I decided to get out the mats and run some more drills.

The next morning I woke up early and hit the mats again for some more drills.

Since that lunchtime roll I’ve stayed away from sugar and cut down my meal portions. Why? Because while my body is recovering from workouts it doesn’t want to have to digest heavy foods. It wants what it needs, and no more. It’s not a decision that I made. It’s my body saying, “Alright, that’s enough” whenever I eat.

I’m drinking a lot more water because I’m a lot more aware of the need for it.  Not that I’m sitting there thinking, “I should drink more water”. I’m simply applying logic to the reasons I feel thirsty. Because I’m drinking so much more water, I’m cutting down on all the other junk that I could be drinking, like coffee and coke.

I’m getting plenty of exercise because of the extra drills that I’m doing. Jiu-Jitsu is basically a non-stop core workout. Great for that six-pack that I’m trying to create. It’s a great cardio workout as well.

Which brings me to my lightbulb moment of the day.

There are things in life that you want to change. Many, many things. The key is to find the thing that triggers natural consequences. BJJ, and improving its practice through drilling has the natural consequences of better fitness, better eating habits, and drinking more water. Those things lead to being fresher during the day, sleeping better at night, and no longer constantly feeling bad for not exercising, eating right, and drinking enough water. 

Likewise, I’ve found out that a recently acquired passion for cooking has a natural consequence of making me do more dishes. That’s because I only like working in a clean kitchen.

Engaging in more theological (the study of God) discussions has made me have to learn more, which encourages me to read and study more.

We all have lists of things we want to be better at. Find the thing that triggers the natural consequences.

 

Find Your Calm

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.

Accepting the Bottom

“I don’t like leaping around the whole spar. I prefer to get solid grips from the bottom, think carefully, keep them away with my legs, then hopefully sweep to the top and progress with a slow, steady, pressure game. Obviously it is important to still move, e.g., with things like side control transitions. I just don’t go very fast.” – Slideyfoot

I was left with the above comment on my last post. It acted as a great reminder to another aspect of my gameplan against bigger opponents. It’s what I call, ‘Accepting the Bottom’.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was an adaptation of early (pre-olympic) Judo. It was adapted by a small practitioner. He saw what worked so wonderfully in Judo and tweaked things just enough to make it work for a 135lbs guy. One of those tweaks was the Guard.

The Guard was one of the biggest breakthroughs in BJJ (to say nothing of the impact on the rest of the martial arts world).

One thing that Slidey pointed out was that he likes to get solid grips from the bottom, maintain proper spacing, and attempt to sweep to top.

Well, that’s my game too. But, that only comes with an attitude of accepting the bottom.

When I first started I hated being on the bottom. When I got there I would struggle and push and fight. I found that I was always exhausted. My arm would be fatigued. My neck would be sore. I would feel defeated.

Every week my coach would say that small guys at our gym (remembering that we have a lot of bigger men there) tend to get really good off their backs because they always end up there anyway. It took about 9 months for that to sink in for me.

When I started most guys were okay with me playing a top game. They would see me (a new guy) as an opportunity to work on their bottom game. They would pull guard and let me do my thing. After I got better and started putting together a submission or two less and less guys would allow me on top. As I started solidifying mount and back control even less people would let me on top. Now, the only people that let me take top are the guard players, or the ones that are specifically working on the guard. I’m finding it harder and harder to get top, and maintain it. Bigger opponent’s just refuse to let me run around up there. It stared to become a real struggle. I couldn’t figure out what had changed, and what was so wrong with me.

Then, I decided to spend a month working on my escapes. The month after that I spent working on my guard. Those 8 weeks completely changed my game. Not just in ability, but in mentality.

I learned to accept that I’m going to most likely end up on the bottom when I’m fighting bigger opponents.

I would start fights by looking for grips and pulling guard. Like Slidey, I use my feet to push on hips and arms and maintain space. I pull and push with my grips. I keep moving. I look for a scissors sweep. If it’s not there I might attack an arm. I might push for another sweep. Sit up- hip bump sweep- guillotine- arm drag- scissors sweep- attack, attack, attack. 

My aim is to sweep. Submission are usually set-ups for sweeps. If I get a tap, it’s a bonus. But, I want the sweep. Why? Because, the acceptance of the bottom doesn’t mean that I want to live there. I still want top. But when I didn’t want to be on the bottom I would never attack. So, people didn’t have to worry about my guard. Before I had accepted being on the bottom I wasn’t willing to attack from there. I wanted to get out. I would escape from guard rather than use it.

Once I accepted that I would be on the bottom I realised that I was saving a lot of pushing and pulling. That means that I’m saving a lot of strength.

This acceptance has turned what I once hated into a significant part of my gameplan. Embracing the bottom is the best thing I’ve ever done in my short BJJ life.

I had a roll this morning and I really, really wanted to be on top the whole time. I’m now very tired and quite sore. Did I end up on top? Not really. Did I get to attack at all? Not really. Did I still spend all my time on the bottom? Yeah, but this time I wasn’t looking to get comfortable, sweep, and attack. I was looking to escape. Did it work? No.

On the way home I thought about it and was given a great reminder that a simple acceptance is half the preparation.

If you know the storm is coming you can defend. If you’re insistant that the storm isn’t coming you’ll probably end up in an armbar… put that on your Facebook status.

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