Epiphany Revisited

Posted: October 25, 2011 in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Gracie Pensacola, Off the mats..

So the last week or so has been learning through loss. I’ve stuck with my game-plan of being slightly more aggressive in my Jiu-Jitsu instead of simply pulling guard and playing defense. I’ve also managed to stick this into play in my real life. However, (there’s always a ‘but’) I hate to lose!

I feel like I’m winning by just coasting through. I don’t know if it’s the mindset that if I’m not losing then I must be winning or if I’ve just become accustomed to stalling. Am I stalling or waiting for my opponent to make a mistake? Both?

I think it’s time to rebuild my idea of what’s the right course of action for me. I think I need to change my mindset to reflect that if I’m not improving position, if I’m not bringing constant pressure or if I’m not just completely smashing the bad guy then I’m losing. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme but I still need to push the pace.

Am I getting old? Is this what happens with age? Is fear of failure resulting in a lack of effort and settling for simply being successful at being mediocre. I don’t want to be mediocre.

I want to be superb! Expect more to come on this subject and leave me some feedback. Let me know what you think. Have you been here? How can I avoid the pitfall of falling short?

  1. slideyfoot says:

    I’d advise you avoid the terms ‘win’ and ‘lose’ when training in class: they’re pretty meaningless in that context. Save it for competition: that’s when it becomes relevant.

    In my own training, I use technical goals for motivation and development. For example, an over-arching goal might be to improve my guard. That’s still too vague, so I can then focus on some specific variation of guard. Perhaps I decide I’d like to work on the arm-wrap from guard. My goal can then become “overhook the arm and grab their opposite collar.”

    That’s something clearly defined I can work on every lesson. Each time I spar, I can look to get into guard and establish that overhook. I can also pay close attention to anything that is stopping me reaching that position, in terms of my partner’s reactions and mistakes I’m making. It may even be that I need to break that goal down further: e.g., “disrupt their posture” or “get them to post an arm on the mat.”

    My end goal might be a particular attack from the arm-wrap position, like a choke or an armbar. I can keep progressing through all the steps, breaking the technique down into components, until I reach my end goal. Once I manage that, I can then start adding other techniques, via the same method.

  2. Jonny says:

    You bring up some excellent points. However, I’m not really thinking in terms of winning or losing, and maybe I wasn’t completely clear. After all, I did say I hate to lose. The point I think I was trying to make was that I need to change my mindset. I’ve been a blue belt for a few months and my thought pattern has been ‘don’t get tapped’. I’m working to change that to the egoless sparring thought process of ‘play the game and who cares if he taps me’.

  3. slideyfoot says:

    Yep, exactly what I’m referring to Jonny: I use technical motivation to aim for the egoless sparring game. If I’m just thinking about the finer points of hand positioning for a side control escape, the goal is perfecting the technique, rather than ‘winning’ or ‘losing’. It’s hard to completely get rid of the “oh crap, he’s about to tap me, better clamp up and do nothing” response, but I find a focus on technique helps.

  4. Jonny says:

    You’re right. Solid advice! Thanks!

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