Getting your butt kicked is not always a bad thing

Despite the fact that I admitted in my last post that I have a problem with overtraining, I spent a lot of my weekend…wait for it…training. On Friday night I drove from suburban Philly to South Jersey to train with a woman I have met and fought in tournaments before (she is up 2-0). We are part of the same larger team and we both said we’d like to train together as it’s hard to find women to train with sometimes. Saturday was my usual training, women’s class at my weekend gym, some rolling in between and then basics in which we did skill drills the entire class. After that I headed over to my regular gym to teach the women’s class there. Sunday morning I went to tournament training at our team HQ in Center City.

So why all the training? Well the short answer is that I am preparing for a tournament. I am planning to compete in the New York Open on April 20th.  I went into my last tournament feeling unprepared and incapable of winning. A lot of this was letting my self-doubt affect how I performed so I am trying to take steps to improve my mental game. I figure if I know that I worked as hard as I could to prepare, I can use that knowledge to settle my queasy stomach come tournament time.

But I am also going to different gyms and trying to find new training partners so that I can challenge myself. At my main gym, I started training the first day they had a BJJ class so I am one of the most senior students there. There are only a handful of people there who have trained longer than me. I am not saying that the other students can’t tap me or challenge me but it’s rare I feel ridiculously out-techniqued while I am rolling there.

This weekend I spent the majority of my travel training rolling with people who have more experience than me. This meant that I often found myself in positions where I didn’t know what the end game was, I was scrambling to get out of bad situations a lot and my offense was practically nonexistent. Does this suck? Well yes. But is it also awesome? The answer to this is also yes!

Nobody likes to get owned on the mat, but everybody has been. This is the reason why people with big egos don’t tend to last in BJJ, because inevitably people are going to dominate them on the mat, especially when they are just starting. Eventually we all move past the point where we are shark bait to everyone on the mat and learn to hold our own. Eventually you might even get to the point where you are owning some of the new people. But think back to your days as a brand new white belt. Think how much you learned because someone better than you capitalized on a mistake you made. You learned not to make that mistake again.

This shouldn’t end just because you are not a brand new white belt anymore. By challenging yourself to roll with people who are significantly better, you have the opportunity to find holes in your game and get out of positions that you are not used to being in. I know this can suck as it’s happening but in the long run it’s the best way to learn.

So I spent a lot of my training this weekend working on escapes, scrambling out of danger and, yes, tapping more than I care to admit. But I had a blast doing it. If I can survive some kind of leg lock I have never seen before applied by a very large brown belt guy, what is a blue belt girl going to throw at me during the tournament that I can’t handle? Sometimes a good ass kicking is what we need to learn.

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