What doesn’t kill me…
I’ve talked a lot so far about strength and how I have felt frustrated and futile when dealing with it. I wish I could give some tips for how to handle it but that is something I am still working out myself. I would like to share some insight I have had on the topic lately though and hopefully that can be helpful.
When talking with my purple belt instructor Monday morning (as referenced here), he told me that some of the guys at the gym might need to be taken down a peg or two and he thought I could do it. This, I assume, was BJJ speak for “they need to get their ass beat”. I thought about this afterwards for a while and couldn’t understand why he would think I was a person capable of this. He was obviously wrong. But was he? I roll with him more than anyone else at that gym, he knows what I am capable of. I trust that everything he tells me about BJJ is true because I know how good he is, why couldn’t I trust his opinion on this?
It then occurred to me that I have gotten into a really bad habit. I learned very early in my rolling days that if I tried to match strength with strength this usually encouraged my partner to take it up a notch. When I was new and had no technique, this usually ended disastrously for me. So somewhere along the way I trained myself to shut down and get very defensive when I felt like I was outmuscled. This usually means that I stay perfectly still, wait for my partner to move and then try to escape. This is a strategy that somewhat makes sense when you are new and have no technique but what about now? I have a lot more technique now (in theory) so why am I shutting down and going right to defense mode as soon as I feel outmuscled? I shouldn’t be! I know that when people rely on strength that they are often times sloppy and I know I can exploit that. So my new resolution is to stop settling into defense mode and go after everyone.
Sometimes though, I am still going to get outmuscled and I am going to feel awful afterwards. I know this. I accept this. It’s where I am at now. When I get upset about it I try to remember that in the long run this is going to help me. I can’t rely on strength, I have to use technique. Rolling with stronger people is only going to help me to learn techniques on how to deal with them. Eventually I will know how to handle it when I am outmuscled. Then the strong people are going to have to learn how to deal with being out-techniqued. I much look forward to that day.