Training on the Down-Low & An Itinerary

I have kept training since the gym was re-opened, fully aware that we might face another surge in COVID cases sometime in the future. I have stuck to my rules of attending two classes a week, avoiding public transport and the gym’s dressing room, and avoiding close contact with other people anywhere else, including visits to other gyms. The lockdown spring changed me so much I have continued running twice a week and doing strength and conditioning exercises at home once a week. This setup feels actually pretty good for the time being. I get my BJJ fix but still limit occasions where I risk transmitting the virus. As for the training itself, I might have finally reached the point in sparring where I have at least one decent technique from every position (not against decent opponents of course). I still learn new techniques like a div though.

It took me probably a year and a half before I realised what the hell was even going on”, an upper belt consoled me after me being, once again, a big pile of limbs and bwuh? when a new technique had failed to make its way into my repertoire. I do not learn anything physical done in a specific sequence the first time I try it and probably never will. But the training partner’s point spoke to me and lead me to the (perhaps temporary) realisation that having trained about the same amount, I am more at home on the mats during sparring than completely confused. Of course I still get swept unnecessarily or might “succeed” against a smaller opponent in a pressure pass that is horrible in technical execution. But I’m gathering new skills and tools I actually retain some parts of. I very rarely feel the desperation during a roll that was my way too frequent companion during my first year – the feeling of being trapped with no idea how to get out of a sticky situation. It is probably a combination of getting slowly better and also of chilling out a bit. It is not the end of the world if I am mounted – I can try my escapes from there. I still have an open guard resembling a tired amoeba but sometimes I manage to retain guard and it always cheers me up to no end. Maybe I finally have learned the teeny tiny bit of jiu jitsu that makes me accept I’m not very good at jiu jitsu, but I am still allowed to love it and to try improving at my pace. I could still spend a bit less time apologising for being shit and more on actually working towards getting better, but let’s just accept this in a process.

It has felt good to see training partners again.

There is an idea I’m going to try straight away. I recently got feedback from two upper belts in a week that I sometimes still spend so much time thinking on what to do next, making it very easy to finish me. In other words, I am slow. Joonas the black belt had practical advice against it, which I have formulated into the following exercise for myself.

How To Maybe Roll a Bit More Purposefully for S:

  1. List two techniques from every position you know.
  2. Make sure you can perform these techniques without too much fumbling.
  3. During sparring, only try to pull off techniques from the list. See what happens.

This might sound simple, but as someone who has been shown 15 guard passes I haven’t learned, I am going to see if purposefully limiting my repertoire might make me a bit more explosive. Nothing wrong with exploration, but I’ll report back on how this goes.

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